The second annual “Grace’s Place Family Dinner” was held outdoors the afternoon of Nov. 1 on the grounds of Covenant Community Church in Navarre.
A crowd of about 50 attended, with several participating in the featured event, a chili and soup cookoff. The winners were Wendy Justice for the best soup and Alex Ramirez for the best chili, each of whom took home a large gift basket.
When some folks think of a turkey shoot, they think of shotguns and turkeys dropping in a flurry of feathers.
Last weekend’s 13th annual American Legion Post 382 Turkey Shoot was not like that. Think pellet guns, pictures of turkeys and heading home with a frozen bird for the Thanksgiving Day table.
For 12 years, Bill Emerson has been responsible for the curriculum and instruction of tens of thousands of pre-K to 12th-grade students across Santa Rosa County.
His job title was a mouthful: assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment. The work was even more complex, navigating changing state standards, classrooms filled to their capacity and a shifting board of elected bosses.
In Navarre, there’s always a seat at the Thanksgiving table thanks to Stripes Pub and Grill.
Owner Rob Reyes opens the restaurant annually on the holiday to offer a free meal to anyone, and this year his staff worked alongside members of Encompass Church to make the meal possible.
“I remember the early years of Christmas in the Park when I moved here 20 years ago,” said Chanda Ryan, Executive Director of the Navarre Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It really is a gift to the community that the Chamber does. It’s not a money-making event, it’s just a way for us to have something that we can invite the whole community together.”
Christmas in the Park will look a little different this year because of the gathering restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
“This year the theme is celebrating our heroes of 2020 which are our health care workers, first responders and essential workers,” Ryan said.
The day’s festivities will begin with the Chamber Foundation’s Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk Fun Run. The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Holley-Navarre Fire Station. The race will be followed by refreshments and door prizes with a special prize awarded to the most festive participant. Registration forms are available at www.navarrechamberfoundation.org with the first 200 registrants receiving a long sleeve T-shirt.
Although the east side of the park is under construction for the park remodel, Christmas in the Park will take place on the west side of the park.
This year’s event will include 20 vendors in the Merry Market where local artists and crafters will be socially distanced in Navarre Park.
A memorable part of this seasonal day in Navarre is the annual Christmas parade.
The Annual Navarre Community Christmas Parade will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Navarre Library. The parade route will move south along Presidio, make a left at Esplanade Street and end in the back parking lot of Centennial Bank.
The festive event has grown substantially over the years.
“The parade started out with just a pickup truck and two vehicles with Santa coming in,” Ryan said. “Now it’s grown up to 25 to 30 entries with a lot of kids, youth groups and community organizations.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck at the end of the parade and will be available for socially distanced photos with children. Visits are free and parents are invited take pictures on their phones or bring cameras. Free individually wrapped baked goods will be available at Mrs. Claus’ Bakery.
The iconic 20-foot Christmas tree will be put up in the park and the annual tree lighting ceremony will be held around 4:30 p.m.
“We feel very privileged and happy that we can give this gift to the community,” Ryan said. “Thanks to our sponsors, we can go forward with having this event that everybody in the community can look forward to.”
Santa Rosa County’s unemployment rate has reached pre-COVID-19 levels, making it the third lowest unemployment rate in the state, according to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the county dropped to 3.8% in November, the same rate that was touted with excitement back in 2019. The county got down to 2.8% before the pandemic came crashing in.
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