DESTIN SNOWBIRD CLUB: Chairpersons plan great events for all

Mary Pierce
Walton Sun

Welcome to our newly arriving February snowbirds. I have an important message for you — there will be NO Tuesday morning registrations. Registrations will take place on Mondays, Feb. 3, and Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon.

As long as I’m shouting, I’d like to give a “shout-out” to some of our amazing events chairpersons.

Second vice president Tom Voelkel, with the help of his wife Louise, hit it out of the park with the season’s first Harbor Party Boat Cruise. It was a complete sell-out and not one complaint was heard from the 147 dancing dolphin watchers. And yes, even the dolphins seemed to be dancing to the lively tunes performed by David Hall. For Victoria and Brent Morey of North Dakota, it was a first-time ever experience, and they enjoyed it so much that they have added a cruise on the Southern Star to their list of things to do when their daughter comes to visit in March. (We always encourage snowbirds to patronize our vendors.)

The next two Harbor Party Boat cruises on Feb. 3 and Feb. 10 are also sold out, but Tom and Louise will be taking names for the cancellation list at Tuesday morning’s meetings.

T.G.I.T. (Thank Goodness It’s Tuesday) chairpersons Cindy and Ray Varnell also scored a big win with last Tuesday’s party. Nearly a dozen snowbirds had to be turned away because of the Fire Marshal’s capacity limits. Of course, a big reason for the multitude was the fact that Todd Herendeen and his band were the entertainers.

Snowbirds got a taste of the band’s amazing talents during the Tuesday morning meetings where Todd and his band delighted the crowded Roost with the songs and sounds of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Elvis. It looked like the entire morning flock returned for an encore in the afternoon at the Seascape Conference Center. If one encore wasn’t enough, all are invited to the Destin Community Center at 2 p.m. on Feb. 9 to see Todd perform with the Crystal Blue Band, the original Shondells of Tommy and the Shondells fame. No ticket needed, just pay $20 at the door. He will also return on Feb. 24 for a “Gospel Hour” at 6 p.m. He will perform favorite hymns and fun southern Gospel with Gospel Quartet Highway 96. Same place, same price.

Speaking of the meetings, next Tuesday’s entertainment will offer a preview of the energetic song and dance sensation we will be enjoying at the Feb. 16 Soundsations Benefit Concert. High-fives to chairpersons Brenda and Dick Murphy for securing this amazingly entertaining community event that benefits the NWFSC Performing Arts Department.

Not only have the Murphys strengthened the relationship between the snowbirds and NWFSC Performing Arts Department, but they have initiated a relationship between the snowbirds and the NWFSC Athletic Department. Athletic Director Ramsey Ross attended the Jan. 21 meeting to offer 200 tickets for the next night’s basketball games. Appreciative sport fans seized the opportunity to witness the thrill of victory for the women and the agony of defeat for the men.

Joanne Andrychuk and her crafters will also present their final craft show at Tuesday’s meeting. The variety of unique artifacts has always attracted a crowd so you may want to arrive a little early.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to past chairperson Ken Yee. For the past 23 snowbird seasons, Ken could be seen at his table in the front of the gym selling weekly casino trip tickets. For most of those years, buses were sold out weeks in advance. However, with casinos popping up in everyone’s hometowns, the novelty seemed to wear off.

“If we didn’t get the required number of people the trip had to be canceled. People who bought tickets had to be contacted and their money had to be refunded,” Ken said. “It became such a hassle that I just decided not to do it anymore.”

But, for those who enjoy gaming, all is not lost (pun intended). Good Time Tour representative and escort Joy Mayer is attending every Tuesday morning meeting to sign snowbirds up for trips to the Biloxi casinos. A week ago Friday, Joy and Good Time Tour driver Quiana LeaVell picked up about 20 Destin snowbirds at The Track for a trip to The Hard Rock Casino. To fill the bus, a stop was added to pick up Walton County snowbirds. And, while Joy needs your name on her list, she does not collect the $20 payment (which is usually refunded with free play) until everyone is on the bus. Another difference is that the bus leaves at 7 a.m. not at 5:30 a.m. like Ken’s eager beavers often did.

Our Singles Friendship Club will meet at Que Pasa Mexican Kitchen & Tequila immediately after Tuesday’s 11 a.m. meeting.

For any and all other information, be sure to check out

Mary Pierce, publicity director, is from Toledo, Ohio, and can be reached at 419-250-9377 or She will be writing the weekly column for the papers, so if you have something to share, contact her.