Things to do for Memorial Day in Okaloosa, Walton counties
Okaloosa and Walton counties will commemorate Memorial Day by paying respects to our fallen military members and celebrating the freedoms their sacrifices brought us.
One of the largest events will be the Memorial Day Ceremony at Beal Memorial Cemetery.
The event begins at 9 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Tribute Tower at the cemetery at 316 Beal Parkway N.W. in Fort Walton Beach.
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Also participating in the program will be Marine Corps veteran David Goetsch, emeritus vice-president and professor at Northwest Florida State College; the Rev. Cecil Williams, pastor of Gregg Chapel AME Church; Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame member David Rose; state Rep. Patt Maney, a retired Army Reserve brigadier general and retired local judge; Air Force Brig. Gen Scott Cain, commander of Eglin Air Force Base and its host unit, the 96th Test Wing; and Air Force Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, the host unit at Hurlburt Field.
Guests will be invited to place small bouquets in the community wreath during the reading of the names of veterans who have passed since last Memorial Day.
The entire event will be shared live on the Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/cityoffwb and at https://www.facebook.com/fwbtributetower. The inclement weather site for the ceremony will be the American Legion Post 235 on Hollywood Boulevard.
Here are some of the other events happening this holiday weekend:
Destin — American Legion Destin will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at Destin Memorial Cemetery, 111 Stahlman Ave. The motto for the event is "we don't know them all, but we owe them all." Refreshments at the American Legion at 311 Main St. after the ceremony.
Santa Rosa Beach —The Historic Gulf Cemetery will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday. The 106-year-old cemetery is located at 1466 S. County Road 393 in Santa Rosa Beach. About 150 veterans are interred in the cemetery, and will be honored in a service that will include a keynote speech by retired Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
To encourage social distancing, this year’s ceremony will not include large tents. People are encouraged to bring umbrellas and/or lawn chairs. A limited number of folding chairs will be provided.
"This ceremony is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to join in a dignified, respectful and patriotic tribute to the men and women who served our country in the Armed Forces and paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom," organizers wrote.
The Gulf Cemetery Association is pleased to announce that in conjunction with this year’s ceremony, it will sponsor The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall coming to Santa Rosa Beach throughout the Memorial Day weekend. The wall can be seen at Chapel at Crosspoint at 1477 S. County Road 393 directly across from the cemetery.
DeFuniak Springs — The 26th annual Gum Creek Cemetery Memorial Day service will begin at 8 a.m. Monday. The service will be held at Gum Creek Cemetery at 1350 County Road 183B near Glendale north of DeFuniak Springs.
Gum Creek Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Walton County and has been in service for more than 160 years. It marks the final resting place of veterans of American wars all the way back to the early 19th century, with 12 known Civil War veterans and one Seminole War veteran interred there.
On this special day, the public is invited to recognize all who served and those who paid the full price for freedom. This event will include the posting of colors, and those attending will have the opportunity to recognize any veteran and any situation which represents the dignity of the day.
Navarre —The Navarre Memorial Day Ceremony will be at Navarre Park at 10 a.m. Monday. The Navarre American Legion Post 382, 1850 Luneta St., will serve hamburgers and hot dogs following the ceremony. The guest speaker will be retired Lt. Col. Dan Schmidt. The Navarre Navy Junior ROTC will provide the color guard, the national anthem singers and buglers for taps. Various local organizations will lay wreaths in memoriam.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf kicks off Memorial Day festivities with two nights of free, family-friendly events.
People are encouraged to come out and enjoy a relaxing and patriotic weekend. Admission is free and open to the public. Here is the schedule of events:
- Saturday, 7-9 p.m.: The Forrest Williams Band takes the stage. Guests are invited to dance the night away as they listen to one of South Walton's local favorites.
- Sunday, 6-9 p.m.: Free children activities and live music from Jarred McConnell and The High Aces. Then at 9 p.m., Baytowne will light up the sky above the lagoon with a patriotic fireworks display.
HarborWalk Village will host a Memorial Day concert celebration Saturday through Sunday. Here is the schedule of performers:
- Saturday, 7 p.m.: Flash Flood
- Sunday, 7 p.m.: Cadillac Willie, followed by a fireworks show
- Monday, 7 p.m.: Silent disco party featuring DJ Chubby and DJ D Funk
On-site parking for the events is $10. HarborWalk Village is an outdoor, open-air venue that allows guests to follow CDC guidelines in regards to mask-wearing and social distancing while still enjoying the ambiance of the Destin Harbor. All guests are encouraged to social distance and wear masks while visiting HarborWalk Village.