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Kids Will Love This New Surf and Paddle Camp

If you’re looking to get the kids involved in some fun and a little exercise, look no further than a surf and stand-up paddle kids camp. The camp began Memorial Day and will be offered daily through August. The three-hour camp will teach your child the basics of surfing or stand up paddle boarding, and it will provide memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Book your day camp now. South Walton is the perfect spot for kids to learn to surf and paddle. The waves in the Gulf of Mexico are generally pretty mild, making it less intimidating for kids. And the beautiful coastal dune lakes are calm with shallow areas perfect for kids to learn the balance needed for stand-up paddle boarding. The surf camp meets at Gulf Place and Seagrove while the paddle board camp takes place at Eastern Lake and Lake Powell. Each location caps at a maximum of 12 campers to provide your child with the most individual instruction. Each camp includes an instructor on site, surf or paddle board camp gear, a snack pack and water. The camp is available for children ages 6 and up. It is required that children are able to swim to participate. To learn more and sign up, visit: 30atours.com. Read More

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SATURDAY: ‘Big Green Egg’ Grilling Contest Returns to Seascape

Bay Breeze Patio, an official retailer of the Big Green Egg, will host the third annual Eggs on the Beach EggFest Cooking Competition on Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach. Cook team registration is now open for the family-friendly event that will raise funds for two local charities, Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought. Cook teams of up to six members will compete to win a Big Green Egg or a cash donation to their charity. Tasters will vote for their favorites and determine the winners. Last year, the cooking competition raised $23,000 for the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. “We are humbled by the outpouring of support and involvement in previous Eggs on the Beach events,” said Bay Breeze Patio co-owner Susan Kiley. “This year, we’ve added a second charity,and bigger prizes for both non-profit cook teams and ‘People’s Choice’ winners. We’re ready to put on another exciting cook-friendly competition that is fun for all and benefits our community.” Cook teams will be provided a large or extra-large Big Green Egg for use during the competition. Cook teams are asked to create bite-size portions of their favorite recipes to be judged by the public and a panel of celebrity judges. Each team of up to six will be responsible for purchasing their own ingredients and cooking their favorite award-winning recipes. Bay Breeze Patio will provide the lump charcoal, fire starter, table, tent, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins and toothpicks. Tasters vote for their favorites, while teams compete for bragging rights as well as the grand prize, a brand new large Big Green Egg. In addition, teams can register as a “Non-profit cook team” and compete on behalf of a local charity. Registration fees are waived for teams competing in the non-profit category. Non-profit cook teams have an opportunity to promote their cause while vying for a cash donation of either $2,000, $1,000 or $500 to be paid to their partner charity. “EggHeads, master grillers, backyard grillers, and everyone in between is encouraged to join the fun and register a cook team,” said Bay Breeze Patio Co-Owner Wayne Paul. “Our goal is create the most fun, cook-friendly and taster-friendly BBQ competition in the region while giving back to our local community.” All proceeds from Eggs on the Beach EggFest benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought. Located on Eglin Air Force Base, the Fisher House provides a “home away from home” for military families during treatment for serious illness or physical/occupational therapy. Food For Thought is helping fight food insecurity among area children by providing backpacks filled with healthy meals to students in need during weekends, holidays and summer break. For those who have thought of owning a Big Green Egg, Demo Eggs, which will be used during the event, will be pre-sold with nest (metal stand) and plate setter for a discounted price. The Big Green Eggs all come with a limited lifetime warranty. Demo Eggs must be picked up after the event, between 4 and 5 p.m. on September 24 or can be delivered for $75-$100, depending on location. Eggs on the Beach will include tastings, grilling demonstrations, live music by Chris Alvarado, cash bar with beer, wine and sodas, and more. Tasters may also purchase tickets for a chance to win prizes, including vacation stays, dining certificates to area restaurants and more. Guests can also bid on a Mini-Max portable Big Green Egg, ideal for tailgating and camping. Cook team registration is $50 for a team of up to six and each team member will receive a welcome bag, including a commemorative t-shirt and Wayne’s Get Grillin’ Rub. Eggs on the Beach sponsor, Abita Beer, will provide complimentary draught beer to cook team members age 21 and over. Taster tickets are also on sale with special advance pricing of $25/adult, $13/child (age 11-17) and kids 10 and under are free. Sponsorships are also available. To learn more, register a cook team or purchase a taster ticket, visit Eggs on the Beach or call 850-269-4666. Read More

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DOUBLE RED FLAG ALERT: Water Closed to Swimmers

Our South Walton Fire District reports the current flag condition is DOUBLE RED: All Gulf waters are currently CLOSED to swimmers in Walton County. Surf and rip conditions remained extremely dangerous Wednesday morning, according to the South Walton Fire District. The beaches are open, but everyone must stay out of the water for safety. Tickets can be issued to anyone in the Gulf of Mexico when double flags are flown. Surfers with proper boards and gear are allowed to enter under county ordinance, but lifeguards, emergency personnel and law officers are allowed to prohibit surfers as well if they appear to be presenting a danger to themselves. For more information about beach safety or rip currents, please go to VisitSouthWalton.com/safety. Text “SAFETY” to 31279 to get the flag conditions on your phone. Please do not risk your life — and the lives of rescuers — by taking any chances. Stay safe, and stay out of the Gulf today! What to do if you are caught in a rip current: How to recognize if someone is drowning: Read More

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Celebrate Summer with Fun Run Through NatureWalk

Come out to The Gathering Place at NatureWalk THIS WEDNESDAY from 4 to 8 p.m. to celebrate summer and participate in a fun run or walk through the community’s winding nature trails and boardwalks. The two-mile event is family friendly and will be followed by live music, pizza from Pizza By the Sea and beer. The 30A Company will also pour complimentary tastes of our new 30A Wine! A $10 entry fee is required and will be collected on race day at the starting line beginning at 3:30 p.m.  Cash or check accepted. The event begins promptly at 4:15 p.m. Medals will be awarded to all finishers. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Florida-Walton County. Register for the event here. Read More

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SunQuest Cruises Earns Coveted Travel Award

SunQuest Cruises has received a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence award. The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers,” said James Murray,  general manager and owner of SunQuest Cruises. “Since the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award is based on customer reviews, this accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.” Book a dinner cruise online now. Guests have consistently written positive reviews on tripadvisor.com about the variety of dining experiences offered on the SOLARIS yacht, including sunset and fireworks dinner cruises, anniversaries, birthdays, group outings, weddings and receptions. The 125-foot, three-deck SOLARIS yacht cruises weekly from the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort for Fireworks Sunset Dinner Cruises, weddings, groups and more. The chef-prepared, fine-dining options include prime beef, fresh local seafood, special event menus and catering. Patrons consistently post pictures and compliments on the service, food, live music, atmosphere, sunset and overall cruising experience. “With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, vice president of industry marketing for TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service.” For more info, visit www.SunQuestCruises.com or call 850-650-2519. Read More

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Chiringo: Grayton Beach’s Newest Hot Spot

Chiringo, the newest addition to the Grayton Beach neighborhood, has recently opened in the location formerly occupied by Stinky’s. The casual eatery has undergone an extensive remodel, including reopening the upstairs patio, creating a beautiful, open-air space with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. The restaurant was inspired by chiringos or chiringuitos, small open-air beach bars that dot the coast of Spain. “Our philosophy is to create both an ambiance and offerings that are simple, fresh and flavorful,” said Andy McKoski, partner and founder of Chiringo. “Grayton Beach has a rich heritage and culture all its own, and we hope to complement the fun, funky vibe of this awesome community.” Chiringo is a collaborative effort between acclaimed Atlanta chef, Cesar Velazquez; restaurateurs, Lance Jaglarski and Andy McKoski; and businessman David Huckeba. Located across the street from the Red Bar, the restaurant is one of a few South Walton restaurants that offers a view of the gulf. To maximize this benefit, the second story was fully renovated to include vibrant yellow retractable garage doors that create an inviting open-air dining room. Meet owner Lance Jaglarski: The renovated downstairs bar features street-side access, comfortable outdoor seating and the same retractable garage doors enhancing the casual, beach bar vibe. “While researching our concept, we traveled to Tarifa, Spain, where locals gather at colorful beachside shacks along sunny beaches to socialize, drink and eat,” said Velazquez, Chiringo’s chef. “The overall atmosphere and attitude was so similar to what we felt in Grayton Beach that it just felt like the natural place for Chiringo to be born. “Once we found this location, we knew this was it.” The Chiringo menu showcases coastal cuisine from around the globe with a strong Southern influence. Check out this Facebook video, shot LIVE at Chiringo: Chiringo in Grayton Beach, FloridaWe were LIVE from Chiringo in Grayton Beach today…. Check it out: Posted by 30A on Tuesday, May 24, 2016   From Escabeche to Mojo Pork, the menu celebrates some of the most popular dishes from beaches around the world. Fresh gulf seafood is prepared in a variety of styles with flavors ranging from spicy to savory. Small and large plates are ideal for sharing with family and friends. A kids menu ensures there is something enjoyable for every member of the family. Behind the bar, fresh fruit and vegetables are blended for refreshing cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. A diverse selection of beers, wines, sangrias and spirits are also available. For more info, visit Chiringo, call 850-267-0109 or email info@chiringograyton.com. Read More

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30A Cornhole Tourney Returns to Rosemary Beach — Sept. 3

Rosemary Beach Foundation is hosting a day of friendly competition during Labor Day Weekend. So loosen up your arms, sharpen your aim and come out for the second annual 30A Cornhole Tournament on September 3, 2016. The two-member team, single elimination Corn Hole Tournament will be held on the beautiful St. Augustine Green at Rosemary Beach from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration for a team of two is $60. Proceeds benefit Rosemary Beach Foundation and Special Olympics Florida – Walton County. Check out this video from last year’s tournament: Rosemary Beach Foundation offers and supports community events, cultural programs, educational projects and charitable activities. Special Olympics provides services for more than 100 athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Services provided in Walton County include: year-round sports training and competitions, life skills and healthy living initiatives. The programs are free to athletes and their families. Worldwide, Special Olympics is the number one provider of free health screenings for people with disabilities. The tournament is being sponsored by August + Brill. Practice area sponsor is Rosemary Beach POA – Property Owners Association. Cornhole Board sponsors are 30A Collection, August + Brill, Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill, Ideal Dentistry and Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company. Find more info at the event’s Facebook page or register here. Read More

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30A Radio: What We’re Listening to This Summer

30A Radio’s Cory Davis gives a lowdown on the fantastic, amazing, beachy, and fun music for your time here on the Beaches of South Walton. Paul Simon Paul Simon has a new album called Stranger to Stranger. Did you hear me? PAUL SIMON HAS A NEW ALBUM. Sorry, for yelling. But is there a more chill dude than Paul Simon? It’s what you would expect from Mr. Simon — awesome, laid back, groovy, and pure Paul. Wristband is really good. Imagining Paul Simon not being able to get back into a venue without a wristband is pretty funny. In A Parade is a really fun song. Rebelution Rebelution is played daily on 30A Radio, hailing from Santa Barbara, Calif. Their style we refer to as ‘American Reggae’. Their new album just dropped, entitled “Falling into Place, and has plenty of vibes for summertime. Our favorite song so far is Know It All, which sure sounds like their anthem against social media bullies. Upper Hand and High on Life really are great summer tunes. If you like Slightly Stoopid, The Movement, or Matisyahu, you will dig this album. Day of the Dead Rise up Dead Heads! If you can’t get enough of the Grateful Dead, this album needs to be in your collection. Made up of various artists, this album has star power covering some of the best songs by the Grateful Dead including The War on Drugs, The National, Mumford and Sons, Wilco with Bob Weir. It is an epic tribute album with more than 59 tracks, five hours of music. It’s awesome. We have exciting news, our brand new 30A Radio Airstream studio launched this summer. Be watching for it at area events across 30A — and out of area at tailgates and festivals across the Southeast. Here are the other new albums we’re spinning on 30A Radio: To know more, check out 30A Radio.   Read More

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Sonder Project to Build School in Honor of Friend Killed in Terrorist Attack

The Sonder Project, a Santa Rosa Beach based nonprofit that works locally and around the world, has recently broken ground on a school in Burkina Faso, Africa. This will be the third school the nonprofit has built in this country, however, this one is a little extra special. This school is being built in honor of Sonder Project friend and colleague, Ahmed Kere. Those that follow The Sonder Project may remember that the organization met Ahmed in Burkina Faso in 2015, on their first mission to build a school in this country. Since then, they stayed in touch with Ahmed and even brought him here to the United States to visit the Emerald Coast. Many in our local community had the opportunity to meet this wonderful man during his time here. After his return home, Ahmed continued his work to make his country a better place. A group of Sonder Project volunteers was scheduled to meet with Ahmed and other buildOn staff in Burkina Faso in January with the intention of working together to build a school for those in need. The group’s excitement to go help the less fortunate and see old friends was quickly replaced by fear as they learned that a terrorist attack had broken out in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital city, just a day and a half before they were scheduled to depart. They quickly learned that the attack began in a place they had visited on their last trip. More disturbing, they realized that they had friends inside the building where the attack began. Among them, Ahmed. As the events unfolded, they discovered that their friend was missing. His missing status was later updated to deceased. You see, when the attacks began, Ahmed, putting others before himself, as always, immediately stood up, bringing the attention of the shooters upon himself as he asked them not to hurt anyone. His courageous act saved the lives of many who were able to escape through the smoke of the burning building through a broken window in the back. After the news, their hearts were broken. To lose such a good man and a friend to such senseless acts left them reeling. The Sonder Project, however, dried their tears and went to work. They knew that only love can drive out hate. They immediately put together a fundraiser to build a school in Ahmed’s name. A lifelong reminder of who this man was and what he stood for. They knew he would not want his death to have been in vein, and thanks to the support of this community and beyond, they have successfully funded a school in his honor. This school will educate boys and girls equally for generations, giving them the leg up they need to break the cycle of extreme poverty. Our community is amazing. Filled with what those in Burkina Faso would call “white hearts,” meaning those that are good and kind and able to drive out the darkness. Working together, we can make significant changes to this world. The Sonder Project is extremely proud of this accomplishment and is looking forward to many more projects this year. Be on the lookout for these upcoming ventures: • Construction of a water well in Burkina Faso, Africa • Nicaragua site visit and hands-on construction of a school • First undertaking of new program, PROJECT: agriculture – launching beekeeping in Nicaragua • 2017 Trek and Project Schedule, which will be open to the public For more information on The Sonder Project or to find out how you can help, please visit www.thesonderproject.org. Read More

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‘The Sweet Potato Queen’ Brings Southern Humor to South Walton

Some say you haven’t read real Southern humor unless you’ve read advice about love and life from ‘The Sweet Potato Queen’. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is launching one of its nationally acclaimed reading programs in Walton County and to celebrate they are bringing best-selling author Jill Conner Browne, the famed ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ to South Walton. Browne will host a lunchtime book-signing reception at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Grand Boulevard on August 5. The ‘Laughs for Literacy’ event is $40 per person and includes one complimentary book. Tickets are now available at J. McLaughlin in Grand Boulevard and Sundog Books in Seaside. Conner Browne, who lives in Mississippi, has written nine books, several of which have ranked #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List. She has created a global phenomenon — nearly 6,400 chapter groups in 37 countries. Browne made national news again in March when The Sweet Potato Queen’s Musical opened in Houston. “We are thrilled to bring awareness to families and parents to help their children stay focused on reading this summer by hosting this fun persona with a strong Southern sense of humor,” said Stacey Brady, a spokeswoman for Grand Boulevard. All proceeds from the event directly support the “reading rally” and book giveaway happening in September for all third-graders enrolled at the Walton County pilot site school. Check out this 30A Radio interview with Jill: More than 40 percent of all third-graders in the Walton County School District are six months or more behind in reading on grade level, though that is not uncommon across most Florida counties, said Kelly Layman, a Walton County resident who is chairing the event for the Barbara Bush Foundation. Former First Lady Barbara Bush founded the Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989. Bush is considered a pioneer for raising awareness about “family literacy” long before it blossomed into a national movement and consistent proven research related to early childhood learning had been regularly published. Today, “reading on grade level” is a major national issue for all schoolchildren. “Mrs. Bush always believed that a child’s first teacher is the parent, and the home is the first classroom — and that could not be truer today,” Layman said. “The St. Joe Community Foundation provided a grant to establish the program in Walton County while everyone supporting the August 5 event will raise the non-programmatic funds to cover the reading rally at the school and a book giveaway for third-graders.” Carlene Anderson, superintendent of Walton County schools, said the district is grateful to have this additional intensive support for struggling third-grade readers. “There are so many reasons a student has a reading and comprehension deficit, and it is absolutely critical we help them at this age, building up their vocabulary and language skills,” Anderson said. “Reading literally impacts every other subject for them in school.” Since launching in 2002, this particular Foundation program for struggling elementary student readers has served a total of more than 48,000 students nationwide. The Walton County launch will mark the 93rd program site amid 21 counties in Florida alone. All of the event’s proceeds will benefit local elementary students, thanks to support from Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. Additional sponsors are The 30A Company, CHELCO, Merrill Lynch—Krueger, Fosdyck& Associates, J. McLaughlin and Sundog Books. Below are the event details: What: “Laughs for Literacy” book-signing reception with famed Southern humorist and best-selling author Jill Conner Browne, aka “THE Sweet Potato Queen.”  Benefits Walton County launch of new third-grade program. Presented By: Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Where: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 600 Grand Blvd., Sandestin When: August 5, Friday 11:30 a.m. – Reception, silent auction, wine spritzers, hors d’oeuvres & swag bag with 1 complimentary book Noon – Welcome & Author Remarks 12:15-1:30 p.m. – Book-signing & door prizes Tickets: Stop by J. McLaughlin in Grand Boulevard or Sundog Books in Seaside before July 29, with a $40 cash or check donation to “Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy” to receive a reserved ticket. At the August 5 event, each guest receives a swag bag of goodies and a complimentary book for Jill Conner Browne to sign. Additional books will be available for sale. For more info or to make a charitable tax-deductible donation to Walton County’s program, write to Kelly Layman. Read More