Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Festival of Fish and Much, Much More -- The 36th Annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival

Mullet Festival T Shirt Artwork

What:    The 36th Annual Boggy Bayou                   Mullet Festival
Where:  Niceville, FL
When:   October 19-21, 2012

If there’s one thing you won’t want to miss this weekend, it’s the 36th Annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival. Recently named one of the USA’s top 12 food festivals by Parade Magazine, this spirited fall festival offers something for everyone. Festival fun will include high-quality arts and crafts, a huge selection of clothing, jewelry and other goods, collectibles and merchandise, carnival rides and booths, kids’ activities, local and big-name entertainment, and more!

Festival History
Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival 1978
The festival began back in 1976 in the town of Niceville, then a happy little fishing village known simply as Boggy Bayou. In those days, local fisherman poled flat-bottomed skiffs out into the bay at night, listed for the jumping mullet, and cast their nets. During the depression, mullet saved the Boggy Bayou area by providing pioneer families with the means to barter with regional farmers for needed goods and services, so this little town owes the mullet a lot.

Since its beginning, this annual festival honoring the mullet has grown to one of the South’s most celebrated festivals, gaining much recognition and notoriety nationwide. It has become one of the best-known country music events in the South.

For folks living in the area, it’s an event that brings the townsfolk together every year, allowing them to renew old friendships and celebrate with neighbors. For visitors, it’s an excellent opportunity to have some good old-fashioned family fun.

Throughout the three day festival, thousands of hungry mullet fans will consume up to 4 tons of this tasty fish. Of course, everyone who goes the Mullet Festival will have something to eat. Aside from fried and smoked mullet, a wide variety of menu options will be available including seafood, oriental foods, Cajun and country cooking, sweet treats and more. Just a few of these must-try items include shrimp, shark, alligator, crawfish, BBQ, shrimp tempura, fried vegetables, bratwurst, wings, chicken, burgers, funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy, hot apple dumplings and ice cream!

Arts and Crafts
A large arts and crafts show will make for some truly unique finds. This juried show features only original, high-quality work. All exhibitors are eligible for the “Best of Show” Purchase Award. In addition, there will be tons of hand-made and/or decorated clothing available in the Boutique section.

Entertainment Galore
As previously mentioned, the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival has become known as one of the South’s best country music festivals. Known for featuring nationally-recognized country acts in a small, festival atmosphere, if there’s one thing there’s no shortage of at this event it’s entertainment. The best part? The festival’s low admission price INCLUDES all the entertainment. How awesome is that?
To see a complete schedule of entertainment Click Here.

Family Day
Sunday, October 21 is Family Day at the Mullet Festival. Sponsored by Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital, this is the festivals only alcohol-free day. No sales of beer or any other alcoholic beverages will be permitted on this day. On Family Day, volunteers from Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital will be selling soft drinks on site to raise funds for the United Way.

The entertainment on this day is geared specifically towards a family audience. Children can enjoy rides, clown shows, cartoon characters, pony rides, magicians, face painting, and much, much more!

What’s A Mullet?
Black or striped mullet are a versatile fish that can be found throughout the world in warm, coastal marine waters and sometimes in fresh water. They are abundant in Florida Waters, especially in Choctawhatchee Bay and its bayous. Mullet are sometimes called jumping, or happy mullet because these fish leap right out of the water and skip along the surface in great exuberance.

Well known and held in high esteem for centuries, these fish were often included in the writings of the ancient Romans. Mullet, which feed on vegetation, algae and plankton, take on the flavor of their surroundings. In most areas, dirty or polluted waters render mullet inedible. For this reason, the mullet is no longer a prize delicacy in Rome because Italy’s canals and coastal waters became polluted.

Mullet taken from the Niceville’s sandy-bottomed waters are fat and clean. Their firm-texture has a mild, almost sweet, nutlike flavor. Don’t take my word for it, come out to the 36th Annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival and see for yourself!

Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival Shirt
Check out this Mullet Festival T-Shirt
Worn by the "Sam Merlotte" Character
on HBO's Popular TRUE BLOOD Series

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The 34th Annual Destin Seafood Festival Kicks Off This Weekend!

OCTOBER 5 – 7, 2012
Friday, October 5: 3pm – 10pm
Saturday, October 6: 10am – 10pm
Sunday, October 7: 11am – 5pm
Admission: FREE (Donations Accepted)

If you enjoy fantastic entertainment, delicious food, and exciting activities for all ages, then you won’t want to miss the 2012 Destin Seafood Festival. This year, the festival will be presented by the Destin Charter Boat Association, along with many community businesses. To these folks, it’s more than just a festival – it’s a tribute to the rich history of the Destin Harbor. This year’s festival will be taking place along the beautiful Destin Harbor which now features the new and improved Harbor Boardwalk.
Free Live Entertainment

The event will feature tons of entertainment and fun for all ages, as the entire harbor district is abuzz with the excitement of the festival. There will be two outdoor main stages featuring performances from musical groups such as Heritage, Cadillac Willy, Coconut Radio and Cheryl Jones, just to name a few. An exciting addition to this year’s musical lineup is Wild Country Blue, an amazing U.S. Air Force band. There will also be live music at several other locations throughout the harbor. Kid’s activities will include bounce houses, pony rides, a petting zoo, hamster balls, Euro bungee, face painting, arts & crafts and more! If all this isn’t enough, the Destin Fishing Rodeo will be in full swing, with exciting weigh-ins taking place daily.
Food Vendors 

When you attend the Destin Seafood Festival this year, you better come hungry! Tons of succulent seafood items will be on the menu this year including lobster, crab cakes, scallops, shrimp, mullet, shark, mahi mahi, crawfish, clams and much, much more!

Come down to the Destin Harbor and see why more than 60,000 locals and visitors are expected to visit this year’s Destin Seafood Festival – exceptional food, outstanding entertainment, and loads of fun for the whole family.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Canoeing Down a Pristine River of Fun!

Blackwater River State Park
Are you looking for a fun fall activity for the whole family? You might consider loading the kids up in the car for scenic drive to the north of the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The picturesque Blackwater River State Forest is awe-inspiring with its towering trees, and lush plant life. Within the forest, you will find Blackwater Canoe Rental, a friendly little outpost in the woodland. Here, you have many options for optimal enjoyment of the Blackwater River and surrounding forest. Rent canoes, kayaks or tubes from these fine folks and embark upon a memorable adventure.

The staff at Blackwater Canoe Rental will ensure your trip is safe, easy, and fun. Park your car at the end of the canoe route and they will shuttle you upstream to the launch area. When you reach the end, simply beach your vessel and walk straight to your vehicle. (It doesn’t get any easier than that!) Bonus! The ride to the launch point is absolutely stunning!
Canoeing the Blackwater River 
As you begin your adventure, there is much to notice about this unique area. The Blackwater River is one of the few shifting sand bottom streams which remains in its natural state for nearly its entire length. Its sugar-white sand beaches and are both beautiful and relaxing. The river is one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the nation, making this park a popular place for swimming, fishing, camping, and paddling. This is definitely one of the most unique bodies of water you will ever see. The water has a dark appearance when seeing it from afar and yet is crystal clear, allowing you to see every little thing on the bottom – every swimming fish, every turtle, every rock, stick or grain of sand – you can see it all.

Canoeing the Blackwater River
Along the way there are plenty of places to pull up on the sandy shore and enjoy the water, the plant life, a picnic lunch, or just relax for a spell. Near the end of the route, you will enter the Blackwater State Park. It offers large pavilions, restrooms, and outdoor showers.

We talk a lot about all the fun of the coast, but this incredible area offers a ton of opportunities for merriment of all kinds. A canoe trip down the Blackwater River is a must for anyone who longs to be one with nature while enjoying a day of fun in the Florida sun. One thing’s for sure, you’ll have a memorable adventure and a story to tell for years to come.

Check out this video of the Life’s A Beach canoe trip.

For more information on Blackwater Canoe Rentals visit their website at Also, look for their coupon in our the spring and summer issues of Life's A Beach.

Enjoy your adventures!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall in Love with the Emerald Coast

Sunset Boat Emerald Coast
Looking Forward to an Eventful Fall Season!

If you’ve been wanting to visit the always lovely Emerald Coast all summer long, and haven’t yet made it down, don’t worry! You haven’t missed your chance. The first official day of fall is this Saturday, September 22, and it is a wonderful time to plan an escape to this magical area.

Life's A Beach Fall/Winter CoverThere are a ton of things to look forward to throughout this lively season. One of my personal favorites of course is that the fall/winter edition of Life’s A Beach will be hitting the stands throughout the region. (We in fact, just received this edition from the printer this morning, so look for it at a location near you!) This means new artwork, photos, coupons, articles, events and more for our readers. How sweet is that!?

Another favorite is the weather. Fall weather on the Emerald Coast is ideal for almost any activity you can imagine. It’s still great for spending a day at the beach, or out on the water, and it’s fantastic if you just want to get out there and experience the beauty and wonder of Mother Nature in a comfortable setting. The slightly cooler evenings are awesome for a stroll on the beach, or for cuddling up with that special someone. If you enjoy camping, this is an optimal time of year for sleeping out under the stars and roasting marshmallows by the fire.

During the fall, the whole area comes alive with the vibrance of the season. There is always something happening, and there is so much to see and do you will never be bored. Let’s take a brief look at some of the things that will be happening throughout this magical season.

Rodeo Weigh-In Miss Destin
Throughout the entire month of October, spend a little time at the Destin Harbor, and enjoy the festivities of the 64th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo. There will be tons of cash and prizes awarded to anglers from all over the country. Best of all, participation in the Rodeo is FREE to when you fish aboard any boat registered in the Rodeo. Even if you’re not fishing, you can still enjoy the merriment of the daily weigh-ins held on the docks. Don’t miss Shark Saturdays!

Seafood Fest
The 34th Annual Destin Seafood Festival will be entertaining thousands October 5-7. This tribute to the rich history of the Destin Harbor will feature 3 days of fun-filled activities for the whole family. There will be over 10 stages, and over 60 shows of amazing live music, kid’s activities, arts and crafts vendors, delicious food, beer, and much, much more! This event is also free and open to the public, however donations are accepted.

Beer MugThe Destin Beer Festival on October 13 will be held along the main street of Destin Commons. This event will feature an afternoon of specialty brews, eclectic cuisine, live entertainment, a merchandise booth and more! Event proceeds will benefit The Children’s Neighborhood of Children in Crisis, Inc. Come out and enjoy some great beer for a great cause!

Enjoy even more beer October 19-20 at the 5th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival. The event will feature over 40 onsite craft brewers, over 100 domestic and international beers, seminars and samplings, and live music.

Niceville Mullet Festival
Make your way to Niceville October 19-20 for the 36th Annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival. (Don’t worry folks, that’s mullet as in fish, not the popular 80’s hairstyle that’s business in the front and a party in the back!) The festival always promises a great time for the entire family with big-name entertainment, the highest quality fine art and home hand-crafts, numerous exhibits and a staggering array of food concessions. Don’t miss other special events throughout the festival such as the Mullet Toss!

A Celebration of Dogs
If you are a dog lover, you will not want to miss Dog Daze on October 20 at Liza Jackson Park in Fort Walton Beach. This canine-centered event featuring doggie arts and crafts, informational booths, lots of freebies and giveaways, a dog parade, wiener races and more! Come out for a day of fun focused around man’s best friend. Dog Daze benefits Alaqua Animal Refuge, RUFF (Rescue Unwanted Furry Friends), and PAWS (Panhandle Animal Welfare Society).

Henderson Beach State ParkIf there’s art in your heart you will not want to miss the 17th Annual Destin Festival of the Arts sponsored by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. The festival will be held October 27-28 at Henderson Beach State Park. The event will feature over 100 artists from across the United States in a vast variety of mediums. There will be kid’s events, live music and lots of fun.

November 1-4 grab your glass and head to Seaside for the Seeing Red Wine Festival. This for day event is choc-full of decades of southern tradition, and is sure to satisfy your taste for wine… and the beach! An extensive array of tasting tents will be onsite with wine samples from around the world.

The Great Golf Coast Arts Festival is a juried art show that takes place in Seville Square in Downtown Pensacola November 2-4. Over 250,000 visitors flock to the area to enjoy this event every year.

Destin Harbor Blues, Brews, & BBQ
On November 10 head down to the Destin Harbor for the Blues, Brews & BBQ event. Local restaurants will be firing up the frills and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Northwest Florida chapter will be onsite hosting a craft beer tasting and creative BBQ competition.

These are just a few of the many events you can enjoy this fall. Other things you may want to check out include touring shows, orchestra performances, Halloween festivities including multiple haunted houses and more! Check back with us often for more information on these and other upcoming events in addition to your regular Emerald Coast connection.

Until next time, enjoy the fruits of the season and remember to send us your Emerald Coast vacation photos!

Kids Activities Destin Fishing Rodeo

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Are You Doing This Weekend? September 7-9

What’s happening on the Emerald Coast this weekend?

Well friends, it’s Thursday, and we all know what that means; it’s almost Friday, the start of the weekend. The long holiday weekend last week has allowed this to come to us a little more quickly this week, so that’s a nice bonus. The only downfall is that this allows it to sneak up on you a little bit. There you sit, reading this blog thinking, ‘Oh no! It IS almost the weekend and I’ve made NO plans! Whatever will I do?’ Not to worry, we’re here to help! Check out this list of fantastic events happening this very weekend. There’s a ton of great stuff to choose from, so you’re plan-less weekend problems are solved!
Kayaking on the Gulf Coast

Remember, friends and readers, there is nothing we here at Life’s A Beach love more than seeing folks out there enjoying the spectacular Emerald Coast. If you’d like to share your photos with us (and have them considered for future publications) upload those amazing shots here: Life's A Beach Photo Upload

Multi-day Events

Arts and Crafts in Destin, FL
The 4h Annual Fall Flair Arts and Crafts Festival will be bigger and better than ever this year! This event will be held at Destin United Methodist Church Life Center Friday, September 7 from 9am – 5pm and Saturday, September 8 from 9am – 3pm. Art vendors will come from near and far to showcase their finest handcrafted items from artwork to furniture.  A bake sale will offer a variety of homemade goodies you just can’t pass up, and the Soul Café will be open if you’d like to grab a delicious lunch. Bonus! This event is FREE and open to the public.
Free Home Show Fort Walton Beach 
The Emerald Coast Home Show will be held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island September 8-9. Over 90 vendors from the home and health industries will be on site offering super discounted specials and more. Heath care evaluations will include chair and back massages, dental and sleep evaluations, chiropractic evaluations, vitamin, nutrition, and weight loss advice, skin cancer spot checks and more. Over $10,000 in door prizes and freebies will be given away at this event, which is FREE and open to the public. 

Friday, September 7

"Inspired by Peter Max" Opening Reception and Gallery Show at the Arts and Design Society of Fort Walton Beach will be held at the gallery from 6-8pm. The exhibition of art, in any medium, is based on the works of Peter Max, known for his iconic bright posters and art in the 1960's and '70's. Admission to the reception and the gallery is FREE and open to the public. If you miss the reception, the show began September 4 and will run through September 29.
Arts and Design Society of Fort Walton Beach

Saturday, September 8

Heritage Park and Cultural Center Fort Walton Beach
The Camp Walton School House will be having its 100th Birthday Party this year! Everyone is invited to join the celebration. The theme of the day is the time period in which the structure functioned as a school: 1912 – 1936. There will be an old-fashioned party with decorations, cake and ice cream! There will also be live music, games such as 3 legged races, educational exhibits on inventions, toys and newspaper headlines from the time period. Antique cars will be on Heritage Park grounds, and there will be old-fashioned photo opportunities and shopping for schoolhouse-related items. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet Fort Walton Beach’s founding families whose ancestors attended the school and learn about the past. Admission to all museums at Heritage Park and Cultural Center will be FREE this day.

Fort Walton Beach Gospel ConcertSunday, September 9

The Gulf Coast Gospel Extravaganza, hosted by Gayla Jones-Singleton will feature performances by God’s Child, Chevon Corlew-Coleman, Lady Cossie Crosswhite, Williams Brothers & Company, Brothers United, and Funny Man-Squaretite Mike. The concert will be held at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Center. Doors open at 4:30pm and the show starts at 5pm.

As always, have a fun-filled, sun-filled and BEACHY weekend! After all, Life’s A Beach!
          -The Life’s A Beach crew

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kick Off the Labor Day Weekend! August 31 - September 3

Girl on Beach
What’s happening on the Emerald Coast this Labor Day weekend?

Happy Labor Day weekend friends! It’s been a wonderful summer here on the Emerald Coast hasn't it? But, as we all know, all good things must come to an end. Not to worry, the area offers a variety of fun year-round, and we look forward to another amazing summer next year. In the meantime, why not celebrate the unofficial close of the season with some of these spirited Labor Day Weekend festivities?

Remember, friends and readers, there is nothing we here at Life’s A Beach love more than seeing folks out there enjoying the spectacular Emerald Coast. If you’d like to share your photos with us (and have them considered for future publications) upload those amazing shots here: Life's A Beach Photo Upload

The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Multi-day Events

Join the Village of Baytowne Wharf this weekend as they welcome the fall season with their Baytowne Art Walk from 5-10pm, August 31-September 2. This event will showcase exceptional artists from some of the Southeast’s leading galleries. Stroll the streets as you enjoy live music from local musicians and browse a variety of art from these talented regional artists.

The Emerald Coast Convention Center will be hosting the annual Greek Festival from August 31-September 2. Experience the sights, sounds, and flavor of Greece with a wide variety of homemade Greek foods, traditional dance performances, and live entertainment.

Guitar Player
Rock your way through the holiday weekend at HarborWalk Village as they celebrate with the Endless Summer Music Fest August 31-September 2. The weekend starts and ends with a dazzling fireworks display over the Destin Harbor on Thursday and Sunday night! The lineup is as follows:
          Friday, August 31:
                        HarborWalk Village Main Stage
                                    6pm - Alissa Moreno, Aaron Barker, Bridgette Tatum
                                    7pm – James Slater, Jeff Cohen, Danny Myrick
                        Harry T’s
                                    7pm – Kendall Marvel, Tim James
                        Crab Island Cantina
                                    7pm – LaBounty, Candi Carpenter
                                    7pm – Bobby Tomberli, Will Rabmeaux
                        Poppy’s Crazy Lobster
                                    7pm – Sherri Austin, Aaron Barker
Andy Velo Performs            Saturday, September 1:
                   HarborWalk Village Main Stage
                                    5:30pm – James Slater, Jeff Cohen, Sherrie Austin
                                    7pm – Tim James, Kendal Marvel, Bridgette Tatum
                                    9pm – The Andy Velo Band
                        Harry T’s
                                    7pm – Bobby Tomberlin, Candi Carpenter
                        Crab Island Cantina
                                    7pm – Alissa Moreno, Aaron Barker
                                    7pm – Bill LaBounty, Trent Summar
                        Poppy’s Crazy Lobster
                                    7pm – Danny Myrick, Will Rambeaux
          Sunday, September 2:
                   HarborWalk Village Main Stage
                                    6pm – Bobby Tomberlin, Candi Carpenter, Trent Summar
                                    9pm – Danny Myrick, Bridgett Tatum, James Slater
                        Harry T’s
                                    7pm – Will Rambeaux, Sherrie Austin
                        Crab Island Cantina
                                    7pm – Jeff Cohen, Alissa Moreno
                                    7pm – Tim James, Aaron Barker
                        Poppy’s Crazy Lobster
                                    7pm Kendall Marvel, Bill LaBounty

Friday, August 31


Heart RunnerSaturday, September 1

There’s still time to register for this Saturday’s Okaloosa Have A Heart 5k Run/Walk. The course will begin at the 911 Emergency Operations Center and loop around the Northwest Florida State College campus in Niceville. T-shirts will be presented to the first 200 entrants. Download your registration form at or visit

Sunday, September 2

The Village Green of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation will be rockin’ and rollin’ with The Best of Rock n’ Roll Labor Day Weekend Concert. Opening the concert will be the popular Emerald Gold band with vocalists Olivia Slater and Amanda Holmes. They will be performing rock n’ roll and Mowtown from the 1950’s to today. Headliner Ron Adams is up next, paying tribute to the King of Rock n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley. Bring your comfy lawn chair and picnic or purchase dinner onsite prepared by Jim N’ Nicks Bar-B-Q. Admission is $10 per adult and children under 12 are free.

Monday, September 3

 Happy Labor Day! You work hard...
Take the Day Off

As always, have a fun-filled, sun-filled and BEACHY Labor Day weekend! After all, Life’s A Beach!
          -The Life’s A Beach crew
Sunshine and Palm Tree