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On the Coast Magazine

Coolest On The Coast 2016 by Madison McInnis

07/06/2016 12:05PM ● Published by Natalie Rodriguez

Coolest Place to Bump It, Set It, Spike It

850 Elite Volleyball Academy Facility

424 College Boulevard Valparaiso, FL 32580

(850) 582-1921 www.850elitevolleyball.org 

 Beach volleyball just got a whole lot better (and more convenient)! 850Elite Volleyball Academy has opened a brand new location in Valparaiso that brings the beach to you! The new facility has four beach courts, four indoor courts, and an indoor wellness center. With the beach volleyball season in full swing from April to July and indoor season coming soon, there is no better time to check out the new facilities. 

850Elite is an academy that prides itself on teaching success on and off the court for girls. An emphasis on mental toughness, time management, and stress management are a few of the disciplines that club owner Terri Fedonczak and the coaches believe carries from the courts and into school for a positive outcome in life. 

 There are multiple opportunities to get involved with 850Elite this summer! An array of camps offers fun and exciting training to all skill levels for girls in middle and high school. You can even enter your own team into one of the beach tournaments that 850Elite hosts. Along with volleyball, the indoor wellness center provides classes that promote girls to “love their body and be healthy,” according to Ligia Willis, a coach at 850Elite.  Spinning, yoga, and ariel activities are among the classes offered. Anybody is welcome to these classes and memberships are available for purchase at the wellness center.

 Looking for a more long-term way to get involved? 850Elite has travel volleyball teams! So far in 2016 the indoor teams have packed up and conquered tournaments in Tallahassee, Gulf Shores, Tampa, and Pensacola. There are six different travel teams, separated by age.

For 850Elite, success is key.  A unique coaching method called the Gold-Medal Squared System that has been used at the US National Volleyball Team and the US Olympic Team is taught right here on the Emerald Coast! 850Elite teams often take home gold, bronze, and silver medals during the regular indoor season from Dec. to April. 

Whether you’re in need of one-on-one training, team training, or just want to see if volleyball is the sport for you, 850Elite has you covered in a positive, fun, and encouraging environment!

Cool factors: a facility designated for everything volleyball both indoors & out


Coolest Way to Get Your Game On

Emerald Coast Social Sports

(850) 699-3049 www.ecssleague.com


It’s not too late to relive those high school sports days, right? According to Jim Bay and Matt Pacheco, founders of Emerald Coast Social Sports, it’s never too late! 

After each league game, players get to kick back at the select restaurants that sponsor ECSS 

 where they can enjoy discount specials. This is a great way to get to know other teammates and form those alliances that ECSS is all about!

Signing up for a league with ECSS is a sure way to let loose and put the adult world on hold for a little while. This summer they are offering an adult tee ball league starting June 30 and ending Aug. 18, 2016. General leagues last 8-9 weeks and mini leagues last 4-6 weeks. Registration is $60, so don’t hesitate to sign up if the idea of fun, friendship, and fitness appeals to you!

Cool factors: wide variety of sports, fun for adults, great way to make new friends and develop long lasting friendships


Coolest New Way to Zoom Around Town

Lopifit: The Electric Walking Bike

322 Miramar Beach Drive #6123 

Miramar Beach, FL 32550

(850) 550-9988 www.lopifitus.com


One of the latest inventions from the Netherlands has made its way to the US and is now being distributed throughout the US, Caribbean Islands, and Mexico from right here on the beautiful Emerald Coast by Steve Drummond, who accidently found the product watching YouTube videos. Two years later and Drummond is now the president of Lopifit, the walking bike. The 

 electric walking bike designed by Dutch engineer Bruin Bergmeester features a Dutch design and is trending worldwide with a promo video that has hit millions of views and likes over social media.

Sound interesting yet? It gets better! The Lopifit walking bike boosts your walking speed up to the pace of a bike, so it’s essentially a way to take the treadmill outdoors, enabling you to zoom around at a speed of 15-17 mph with a range of either a minimum 40 miles per charge or to 60 miles per charge. The bike is incredibly easy and fun to ride! Lopifit walking bike is a viable source of transportation for anyone 16 to 160 years old! Drummond and other investors believe the walking bike is also a great advantage for those who have physical problems and discomfort riding a normal bike. A high cardio and high calorie burn are a sure benefit, too! 

 An electric quantum motor with a chargeable Samsung Lithium battery drives the walking bike, and the user can easily adjust the speed. The bike components are Shimano, which are top of the line. This cool ride also features LED lighting and a luggage carrier for convenience. Ride in style with your Lopifit by customizing it in one of six different colors: royal blue, orange, fire-engine red, silver, white, and black, or add your own special touch by choosing a custom color. All bikes include a full two-year warranty with purchase. 

Since Drummond is based in Sandestin, the people of the Emerald Coast are some of the first 

 to see these bikes in the US. There is no better time to try this new method of transportation than during a beautiful summer here in the panhandle with the advantages of flat and level land. So, feel the breeze blow through your hair and ride with ease at high speeds courtesy of the Lopifit walking bike!

Cool factors: International product, one of the limited distributors lives On the Coast, great exercise, little effort required




Coolest Way to Help the Environment

Trees Destin

65 Lands End Drive Destin, FL

(850) 462-3703 www.treesdestin.com


Summertime is all about letting loose and trying hobbies you normally wouldn’t have time for during the school year, right? Well, lending a hand and getting involved in a non-profit can be included in that list of hobbies too! Because let’s be honest, helping the world around us is 

 what non-profits are all about, but it also can give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing a good deed has been done on your part.  Search no further! Trees Destin inspired by Trees Atlanta was founded in 2015 by Allen French and is a local way to get involved and better our community by planting one lush tree at a time.

Trees Destin is all about planting trees, conservation of current trees, and becoming educated about the subject! The trees planted improve the quality of the Emerald Coast by bettering schools, parks, neighborhoods, and businesses by providing clean air, more oxygen, habitat for wild life, an improvement in water quality and more. It’s especially important to regulate the blazing heat of summer and protect children from ultra-violet rays with a little shade. The list goes on and on as to why trees are so vital to a healthy and happy life!  

 This local non-profit has planted its way to success by putting nearly 100 trees in the ground since French started the organization in January 2015. Trees Destin has partnered with the City of Destin to recently plant 18 trees on Main Street along with five trees donated to Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village and an educational program and tree planting at Destin Middle School. Programs such as “Plant a Tree to Honor a Loved One” and “Plant a Tree to Honor a Loved Dog” are in place for people to buy trees such as live oaks to serve both the community and loved ones. Each tree purchased comes with a plaque and is tax deductible.

To get involved you can join as a member, and business sponsors are encouraged to support the cause. 

Cool factors: Encourages environmental growth, supports a non-profit, benefits large numbers of people, plant trees in honor of others, see your tree grow up over the years


Coolest Way to be Included

Pride Inclusive Sports

PO Box 458 Spicewood, TX 78669

(512) 942-9515 www.prideincsports.org


The special needs community is all around us, including right here on the Emerald Coast. 

 Arielle Hobbs passionately started Pride Inclusive Sports after failed efforts to get Sully, her six-year-old disabled son, involved in a sports league with other children.  After living in Santa Rosa Beach for 10 years, Hobbs now resides in Austin, TX, where she runs the main branch of Pride Inclusive Sports.

At Pride Inclusive, each child is seen as an “individual lion” possessing courage and strength. Hobbs aims to bring the little lions together because only then will they “collectively thrive” when unique talents and skills are combined. Community is crucial because children uplift and encourage each other by participating in fun and educational activities.

 Pride Inclusive Sports started small but effectively by offering two activities: karate and swimming lessons. Promoting discipline and activity through repetition, activities provided opportunity for mental and social gains. Leaps and bounds have been made since the start! There are now expansions offering swim therapy, inclusive dance, and developmental movement, a class created by Hobbs and educational therapists. Prices vary depending on local businesses that offer different classes. Hobbs vows to keep prices as low as possible, and she works to sponsor families so that no child is turned away because of finances. 

 According to Hobbs’ honest, personal, and helpful blog, the 2016 goal is to build a “dream facility” that would be a place Pride Sports can call home.  A board of directors comprised of doctors, teachers, non-profit experts, lawyers, physical fitness experts and more provides Pride Inclusive Sports with a foundation that will impact the lives of more little lions in Austin, the Emerald Coast, and hopefully all over the nation.

Get involved today! Whether it’s making a donation, becoming a volunteer, or becoming a corporate sponsor (businesses large and small are welcome), Pride Inclusive has a place for anyone who is passionate and willing to help! Stop searching and start signing up your child so that he/she can grow and thrive in a community of friends who share the same abilities. 


Cool factors: specifically for special needs children, provides support, promotes educational skills and fun experiences, different classes to choose from


Coolest Shopping Place for Foodies

Whole Foods Market

4402 Legendary Drive Destin, FL

(850) 269-7400 www.wholefoodsmarket.com


All food-obsessed people unite! It’s time to rejoice at the latest addition to our local area—Whole Foods. This supermarket is the cream of the crop when it comes to purchasing groceries and turns what would otherwise be a mundane task into an experience like no other!

 The Whole Foods Market on Legendary Drive is the first of its kind to grace the panhandle with its presence. This market prides itself on excellence as expressed through the company’s Declaration of Independence and Core Values listed on the website that define the store’s high standards. Practicing and advancing environmental stewardship and selling the highest quality natural/organic products available are just a couple of the grocery store’s morals. 

The store greets you with an array of fresh flowers at the entrance. Look to your right and a rainbow of produce awaits that looks like it was picked just that morning. Next to the produce is an entire section of the store dedicated to organic personal care and premium body care products that range from cosmetics to bath salts and dental care. Whole Foods researches the products with the best ingredients that are safe for your body and the planet.

 Unique to Whole Foods is the amount of freshly-made food that is ready to be picked up on the go! Order a handmade pizza from the personal chefs, make your own organic salad, or choose from the rotating hot bar with over 20 options. Enjoy your food outside at tables or inside at the rustic and relaxed sitting area. There’s nothing better than quality food that’s ready at your fingertips!

Head online to see a local events calendar, products list of everything in the store, catering menu, and sales flyer specifically for the Destin store! Prepare to be inspired from the dozens of recipes and food blog found on the website as well.  If you’re looking to lead a healthier lifestyle filled with smarter choices for yourself and the world around you, Whole Foods is the place for you!

Cool factors: Organic and natural quality products, core values, huge selections, fresh food on the go, specialty pizza bar & outdoor seating


Coolest Places to Slip and Slide

Slide the City

59 West 100 South Salt Lake City, UT

www.slidethecity.com

Can you think of a better way to kick off summer than sliding down 1000 feet of slick vinyl? Slide the City exists to make that happen! By turning the streets of your local city into a giant waterpark there is enough fun to go around for the whole family.  Throughout various cities, you’ll find cushioned slides in football-field lengths where you can bring your own tube or float and slide away all day. People go crazy over this! From air mattresses to inflatable sea turtles and inner tubes, there is plenty of room to be creative with how you choose to slide. 

 The phenomenon recently came to not one but two of our local areas—Pensacola and Tallahassee. Sliding down Palafox Street in Pensacola and Madison Street in Tallahassee, college students, families, young adults, and children alike attended each event to make it a huge success! Last year in Pensacola the Gulf Coast Kid’s House partnered with Slide the City to benefit the private non-profit, raising money through food sales and donating money.

All while having fun, Slide the City is advocating for the environment by supporting water sustainability. The slide is designed to recirculate the 7,000-12,000 gallons of water used in a day to keep water use as minimal as possible. After each event the water is recycled back into the community through locations dependent upon the city such as parks and treatment plants. Have a blast and know that you’re protecting the environment in a smart way!

 If you don’t feel like sliding there is plenty of entertainment from live music and food vendors to keep you occupied! Purchase a single, triple, or ultimate slider pass. Put the biggest block party of the year on your bucket list for next spring and stay tuned to the website to see when Slide the City is returning to the Emerald Coast or your hometown.

Cool factors: Slide party for all ages, travels all over the nation


Coolest Place to Watch a Ball Game

Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium

351 W Cedar St, Pensacola, FL

(850) 934-8444 www.bluewahoos.com

Take me out to the ball game!  The Florida Panhandle is now home to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos right here on the Emerald Coast! Located on the Pensacola Bay, the stadium is one of the most premiere facilities in Minor League Baseball.  A view of the water and a view of a ball game promise a great summer night!  Add the peanuts, popcorn, and Cracker Jacks and it’s sure to be an unforgettable evening!

 After an inaugural season in 2012, the Wahoos are heading into their fourth season. Four years in and the Wahoos continue to attract large crowds after a history of hosting 40 sellout crowds for the 5,038 seat stadium in 2012. This season’s games last through the beginning of September with tickets starting at just $10. Season tickets are also available for any of the box seats, club seats, or party decks, so come out and root for the home team!

 The fun, family atmosphere has activities for all ages! Adults can relax and enjoy the game and kids can participate in events like the annual roach chase by running across the field and catching the giant roach, which is really a person in a bug costume. Every game tons of kids line up for this event and have a blast letting out their energy on the big field where the players are! Kids can also get pictures with Kazoo, the loveable Blue Wahoos mascot. Kazoo is an aquatic themed mascot that is said to have come 

 right out of the Pensacola Bay himself! He is always seen happily roaming around the ballpark and cheering on the team.

Of course, no baseball game is complete without concessions! From classics like hotdogs and cheeseburgers to shrimp po’ boys and popcorn that comes in a bucket shaped like a baseball helmet, there is something to satisfy everybody’s hunger. And when you’re thirsty and a soda or water just won’t do the trick, you can find a variety of adult beverages to suit your desires.  As you leave the game, don’t forget to stop by the Bait and Tackle Team Store for some Blue Wahoo’s apparel or a souvenir.

 A Wahoo’s game is a great way to make memories for everybody.  Let this All-American pastime be the setting for your next birthday party whether on a game day or offseason day and soon you’ll be singing, “Take me out to the ballgame” while making your birthday the happiest of all!

Cool factors: Stadium on the water, games last through September, Kazoo the mascot, events for kids, birthday party planning available


Coolest Medical Advancement On the Coast

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

1000 Mar Walt Drive, Fort Walton Beach, FL

Call 888-894-2114 or visit FWBMC-3Dmammo.com http://www.fwbmc.com

A mammogram becomes a vital routine checkup for women once they turn 40, so it’s crucial that they get the most accurate service and results possible.  The latest technology called the GeniusTM 3D MammographyTM is providing just this! Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is the only place from Pensacola to Tallahassee that offers this new and improved mammogram, 

 claimed to be the best breast cancer detection breakthrough in 30 years because of the superior results the technology produces. It detects 41% more invasive breast cancers and has already detected its first cancer that wasn’t seen with the traditional 2D technology. 

What makes the GeniusTM 3D MammographyTM exam different from a standard mammogram? While similar in the process of taking images, the main difference is the machine captures multiple images or slices of the breast from several angles, creating a multi-layered breast image. Results are far more accurate because doctors can examine the breast one thin layer at a time, leading to a detailed diagnosis. 

Besides providing accurate results, a GeniusTM 3D MammographyTM exam reduces callbacks by up to 40%. There is no need to take time (and money) out of your busy day repeatedly for a follow-up now that there is access to a machine that turns a mammogram into a one-and-done type of process. The scan takes less than four seconds and delivers a low dose of radiation well within FDA guidelines. It is available to all women who already undergo a standard mammogram. 

Medical advancements are being made right here at home on the Emerald Coast. When it’s time for your next mammogram, go to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center to receive the highest quality service with the highest quality equipment in our area!

Cool factors: More accurate mammogram, reduces callbacks by 40%, detects breast cancer 41% more than 2D machines


Coolest New Water Bottle

The Water Gallery

www.mywatergallery.com


A southern California-based business by the name of Water Gallery is showcasing original art 

 on premium glass bottles.  Founders Kenny Laskan and his wife Leah combined their passions for eco-awareness and advocating better environmental choices to create their business. The core philosophy at Water gallery is to “love, respect, and protect the natural world around us and its oceans.”


The first featured artist for Water Gallery is Wyland, a beloved artist who reflects his talent and knowledge of the sea. Wyland is known for painting life-sized whale murals on buildings around the world. The Emerald Coast is lucky to be home to one of his masterpieces. 

 The Legendary Marina in Destin reflects a timeless portrayal of the ocean and the larger-than-life whales he is famously known for painting.  The Water Gallery allows customers to capture a piece of Wyland’s work on an eye-catching handmade water bottle. Wyland-inspired bottles feature anything from Orcas, mermaids, turtles, and sharks that will impress all ages. When you purchase a Wyland-inspired bottle, 3% of sales are donated to the Wyland Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s oceans, waterways, and marine life.

 The detailed production of each bottle is what makes the product unique and impossible to find elsewhere. The Water Gallery aims to offer a high quality made-in-America product to go against the status quo of products that are so often made in foreign factories. Although the Bormioli Focco premium glass bottles are made in Italy, it is only because no other company in America makes glass swing-top bottles of this caliber.  However, the detailed process of prepping the bottles and applying the art is completely done by hand in the US.  Each art decal is the focal point of the bottle because of the vibrant, almost three-dimensional effect. This occurs because each piece of art is baked to 

 a decal that is attached onto the back of the bottle. It looks as if the artwork is suspended in the water itself! 

Water Gallery is innovative, artistic, and outstanding in quality production. Not only does the small company feature Wyland’s art, but Guy Harvey and Drew Brophy are two other amazingly talented featured artists. The company and artists are bonded by a profound love for the world’s oceans and a respect for Mother Earth. 

Cool Factors: Handmade swing-top glass bottles, reusable and collectable bottles, smart environmental choices, a deep passion for the ocean, eye-catching artwork featured on each bottle


The Coolest Place to Relax

Float Brothers Float Spa

4463 Commons Drive West Destin, FL

(850) 460-8720 www.floatbrothers.com


Float Brothers Float Spa is one of the newest additions to the Emerald Coast, and owners Trey and Chris Hearn promise it to be an experience like no other!

 Imagine yourself being in a space of perfect tranquility, where you don’t experience the pull of gravity, sight, sound, or touch – this is essentially what a floatation pod experience will provide! 

A flotation pod is known to bring medical health and relaxation benefits, from alleviating pain and strengthening the immune system to deepening meditation and increasing creativity. 

At Float Brothers, you will get your own personal float room with a locking door.  You can bring your own music, turn the interior float light to your favorite color, and lay back and float for 60 

 or 90 minutes.  A density of saltwater in the pool helps you float easily and effortlessly at a comfortable skin temperature of 93.5 degrees.  Afterwards, enjoy a post-float glow and health benefits for days to come.

Anyone 16 years or older can try out one of these magical floats! Just be sure to bring a parent if you’re younger than 18.  You can float for 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and there are packages and memberships available. Float Brothers Float Spa is open every day from 9am-9pm.

Cool factors: personal float rooms, extreme medical and health benefits, only float spa on the Emerald Coast


Coolest Place to Jump for Joy

Bounce Party Playzone

Santa Rosa Mall, Mary Esther, FL

850-865-3191 www.bouncepartyplayzone.com

Are you and your kids looking to take a break from the summer heat? The Bounce Party Playzone is the perfect place to go! With its new location in the Santa Rosa Mall, the playzone is indoor, spacious, climate-controlled, and packed with excitement that will keep kids of all ages busy for hours. 

 Bounce Party Playzone features a total of six different inflatable bouncy houses where your child can sail the seas on a pirate ship blow-up or travel through the rainforest rapids on an inflatable slide. Free arcade games, air hockey, fuse ball, and play sets for toddlers are among other activities offered.

While you’re there, hang out in one of the learning centers that are sure to spark your child’s imagination. The Exploration Station and the Learning and Sensory Station offer dinosaur fun, music rooms, 50 different rocks and minerals and much more!

 After having a blast in the playzone take a break and refuel with refreshments! Snacks, drinks, and ice cream are offered at affordable prices.

The Bounce Party Playzone is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 9pm and Sunday from 11pm to 6pm. Check out the party-planning services with options catered to your price range and the family/military discounts provided. This family-friendly environment is well worth the visit for kids to go crazy and release all their energy. Parents can sit back and relax or bring out their inner kid and join the fun!

Cool factors: Air-conditioned play and exercise, free arcade games, fun, active themed birthday parties


The Coolest Place to Get a Sweet Treat

Destination Little Donuts

4463 Commons Drive W Suite C, Destin

(850) 424-5670 www.mylittledonuts.com

Take your taste buds on a vacation at the newest place to satisfy your sweet tooth! Jamie Habel is the owner and mastermind behind the creative business Destination Little Donuts.  After moving here four years ago, Jamie decided she wanted to devote her time to making others - as well as herself - happy, and with a whole lot of ambition and creativity came along Destination Little Donuts.


Each donut is baked fresh every morning and handmade to order. With over 50 signature “Dream Vacation” donuts, there is something to please everybody. Half the fun is watching 

 them make the donuts in front of you, from smothering the circular little goodies with thick creamy icing to drizzling gooey chocolate sauce and sprinkling extra good stuff on top. These donuts are not your average baked good! Warning: your own creativity may be sparked.

Have a look at the menu and something unusual called the “doucho” may catch your attention. A doucho is a creative dessert that is a blend between a donut and a nacho and is topped and layered with your choice of toppings for a little bit of sweet flavor in every bite! Some of the most popular donuts 

 include the Salted Caramel Pretzel, Espresso Yourself, and the Maple Bacon that was inspired by Habel’s hometown, Seattle. The items on the menu promise to be sweet but not overwhelming, and each cake donut is not a usual cake consistency but “more like a funnel cake on the inside, especially the cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar donuts,” according to Habel.

Kids can enjoy a fun beach-themed special known as a “Bucket of Donuts” that comes in a classic brightly-colored beach pail accompanied by a shovel. Or if you’re a bit older the Contractor’s Special may be for you! Pick up A Bag-O-Donuts filled with cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar treats and a large coffee on your way to work. 

 Destination Little Donuts is open Mon-Thu: 6am-8pm, Fri-Sat: 6am-10pm, and Sun: 7am-6pm. This place is a must-try on the Emerald Coast for locals and tourists! With an optimistic dream to franchise her bakery, Habel’s vision will hopefully spread these little donuts to many destinations across the country!

Cool factors: handmade creative donuts, fun atmosphere, wonderful service, affordable, brand-new


Coolest Newest Cuisine 

Zesty Baguette Bistro

4418 Commons Drive East, Destin, FL

(850) 460-8797 www.zestybaguettebistro.com


Two types of cuisine are fusing together to provide a dining experience unique to the Emerald Coast. The Zesty Baguette Bistro brings traditional French and modern Vietnamese cooking right to your table.  Duc Tran and Dr. Dao are the masterminds behind the new restaurant that opened in April.  

 The Baguette Bistro got its name from the classic French baguette that was the first item the French introduced to Vietnam. A connection between the two cultures emerged from the French residing in Vietnam for over 100 years.  Because of this, over 60% of Vietnam’s culture can be accredited to the French. 


Dr. Dao, a local to the area, and Duc Tran, who used to reside in Atlanta, knew they were on to something when they brainstormed the concept of the Baguette Bistro. And they were right. “Every day more volume and more volume” was used by Tran to describe the growing amounts of customers since the restaurant opened in April. The menu includes dishes that will utterly surprise people in a most wonderful way and “it is very unlikely they have had anything like this before,” says Tran. From Vietnamese pho to French beef roulettes and a southern buttermilk chicken sandwich accompanied with French butter and gooey Swiss cheese on a Ciabatta roll, your sophisticated pallet is sure to be tantalized. 


 There are plenty of exciting additions coming to the Baguette Bistro! Happy hour is in the works and will last from 5pm-7pm with offerings of appetizers at 50% off. A catering menu is coming soon and is certain to make any event effortless for the host and delicious for the guests. The restaurant is also available for group gatherings of up to 100 people. Enjoy a welcoming atmosphere and friendly service all while taking your taste buds around the world right from the Emerald Coast.


Cool factors: Global ingredients, a unique flavorful menu, happy hour, catering and group bookings


Coolest Event to Go Fly a Kite

Flying High Over the Harbor Kite Festival

Harbor Walk Village, Destin, FL

(850) 837-2800 www.kittyhawk.com

The Kitty Hawk kite festival is comparable to a Macy’s Day parade but in a much warmer 

 climate and with larger-than-life show kites gliding through the air! Mark your calendars for Sept. 17-18 and get ready for a day of fun family activities from 10am-4pm. The two-day festival will feature a 100-ft. octopus, an 80-ft. panda, and a 50-ft. gator. Everyone is encouraged to bring their kites and participate.

 Kitty Hawk Kites has been teaching the world to fly since 1974! During the festival weekend, not only will there be opportunities to watch professional stunt kite flying but you can take free 

 kite flying lessons and even make your own kite. Younger kids can fly a standard single line kite while those a bit older can try maneuvering a power kite or a stunt kite that has two or four lines. 

Kitty Hawk Kites has the largest selection of kites in the area so it is only natural for them to host the fall and spring festivals where 

 kids and adults alike are mesmerized by kites that can only be described as having a big WOW factor!  Festival attendees will receive free shuttle boat service from the docks at HarborWalk Village to Norriego Point to enjoy the flying high kites and kite flying lessons. Don’t miss out on the Flying High Over the Harbor Kite Festival this year!


Cool factors: Giant show kites, free kite flying lessons, free kite making classes, fun for the whole family


Coolest Shop if you love Shark Tank!

Shark Shop

Destin Commons 4331 Legendary Drive, Destin, FL

(850) 665-8049 www.sharkshops.com

Do you love the hit TV show Shark Tank? If so you’re in luck! The innovative products created on the show are now under one roof at the Destin Commons! For those who aren’t familiar with 

 the show, Shark Tank is a reality TV show that features a panel of business executives who considers offers and listens to pitches from entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking funding for their business, products, or services. 

“This is the first store in the nation with the concept of selling Shark Tank products,” says Robert Hernandez, one of the owners. Shark Shop is independent from the show, allowing the owners to pick and choose which products they carry. Maybe your favorite items from the show will be in the store! Among the most popular sellers are Spike ball (a beach game), Drop Stop (a car seat gap filler), Scrub 

 Daddy (a household scrubbing tool), and a selection of kitchen knives and other survival equipment. Investing in the products at Shark Shop is worth it! These products are innovative and allow you to go through your day-to-day activities in a breeze!

For all of the local entrepreneurs On the Coast, Shark Shop looks forward to featuring a section of the store to inventors in the area. The store already holds a few local products but is excited to expand this section and give back to local entrepreneurs! The 

 store hours are 10am-10pm Mon-Sat and 11am-8pm on Sun. 

Cool Factors: Only store in the nation to sell Shark Tank products, locally owned and operated, features popular sellers from the show, local entrepreneur section is expanding to highlight the ingenuity of locals





Coolest Sisters On the Coast

The Jones Family


Four sisters are turning heads on the Emerald Coast! Elizabeth (10), Christina (8), Katherine (6), Marissa (4) are the Jones sisters. Not only do their adorable personalities bring joy to all they 

 encounter, their matching outfits steal the show too!

Eunice Jones, their mother, has been dressing her daughters alike for almost six years because she loves that “her four daughters are very close in age.”  The girls are only 18 months apart. Dressing the girls allows Jones to “treasure their childhood that is racing by so fast” and have a little fun in the process! The sisters always look beautiful dressed alike whether they adorn matching hair bows, bright colored sun dresses with ruffles/lace, or coordinating sandals. No matter what the outfit of the day is, each 

 girl always is dressed with a classic and modest style.

Mrs. Jones isn’t the only one who enjoys the matching outfits. The girls do, too! The sisters like to pick out their own outfits and often choose their favorites to wear out and about to special events. It’s like one big dress up party! It’s not possible to pass by these cute girls and not compliment them. Bringing a smile to other people’s faces is all a part of the process and one of the reasons Jones likes to dress her daughters alike.  The practicality aspect of dressing them alike is always being able to keep track of the girls at an event. 

Not only are the Jones sisters beautiful on the outside because of their fabulous outfits, but Mom notes they are just as beautiful on the inside.   Here’s to these lovely young girls and a special Mother who cherishes their childhood in such a unique way!

Cool Factors: adorable sisters, exact matching outfits


Coolest Bachelorette Party 

Destin Pilates and Aerial

(850)-460-2828 www.destinpilates.com

Are you or someone you know getting married? Do you love to exercise and try new things? A bachelorette party at Destin Pilates and Aerial may be for you! This intense yet extremely fun and artistic activity is the new way to literally “hang out” with your girlfriends and celebrate your 

 special occasion! Climbing the aerial silks is a wonderful workout that targets your arm strength, core, and legs.  Think Cirque du Soleil for beginners and you’ve nailed the excitement of Aerial Silks! 

Even with the challenge of aerial, there is no need to worry about your party lacking fun. Beginner combinations and techniques are taught at the party so everyone can participate. The friendly trainers are right by your side the whole time, shouting out encouragement and offering help whenever needed. Even simple combinations can make your bridal party look like acrobatic experts hanging gracefully in the silks! Plus, whether you’re a bride or a bridesmaid, you’ll get some brag-worthy pictures looking like an acrobat. 

 Get creative with your event and plan matching workout outfits for the bridal party to wear! Whether it’s coordinating t-shirts that say “bride” or “bridesmaid” or patterned yoga pants, the choice is totally up to you. After all, the event is for the bride and to celebrate her. And let’s be honest, working out is always more fun when you have something cute to wear! Bring a cake to celebrate with or after the class keep the party going by heading to dinner! With the exercise you’ll be getting, there’s definitely room for splurging. There are endless options for a bachelorette party, but incorporating aerial silks into the night will make your party memorable long after the wedding. An hour of climbing the aerial silks is a small way to bring a big adventure to your bridal party!

Cool Factors: A new exciting way to party, adventure for your bridesmaids, one hour aerial silks class, learn beginner tricks in the silks, memorable experience.


Coolest App On the Coast

Eglin Federal Credit Union

838 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL

(850) 862-0111 www.eglinfcu.org


Eglin Federal Credit Union has a new free mobile app available for members called CardValet® that provides numerous benefits for its debit card users.  The general function of the app is to electronically turn your debit card on and off which thereby allows you to protect your card from fraud/misuse and spending.  

 How does one service do all of this?  When your card is turned “on,” the user can control spending by easily setting spending limits for general use or by specifying thresholds by merchant types, such as gas, groceries, or retail stores. Kids can stick to a budget when borrowing mom and dad’s card over the summer, with limits on where and how much they can use it. Parents can monitor all transactions through the app. When you turn your debit card “off,” no purchases will be approved. Innovative transaction controls further protect your debit card by allowing the card to work in specific locations or geographic areas. Real-time alerts are sent to your phone to let you know when your card is used or declined. And with the CardValet app you can easily balance your checking account after a day of shopping.

The app has been staff tested and approved by Eglin Federal Credit Union employees. Eglin Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution to offer this app on the Emerald Coast. To download, go to the Apple App store or Google Play store for your Apple or Android device and search “CardValet.” It’s that simple! 

Cool factors: brand new service, innovative technology, safeguard against fraud, control your spending, user friendly


Coolest Place to Party

Crab Island

(850) 855-6907 www.crabislandonline.com

Crab Island is easily one of the best and most unique places on the Emerald Coast to gather with friends and family, via boat or jet ski, that is! Driving over the Destin Bridge, just look below 

 to the north to the emerald green and turquoise-colored waters where hundreds of boats and people are gathered and you’ll see what all the hype is about.  This is one hot spot that draws people in and keeps them coming back for weekends to enjoy the food, fun, and entertainment, which are always guaranteed.  And if you haven’t tried Helen Back pizza, thanks to the Helen Back floating barge you can enjoy pizza sampling on Saturday and Sunday!  A day on Crab Island makes any day the best party of the summer!

 On summery holidays, you can expect to see double the locals and visitors flocking to Crab Island to anchor their vessels and soak up the sun and make new friends. If you don’t have a boat, charters and rentals are available through the Crab Island services online. Locals and tourists can rent pontoons, kayaks, and wave runners or even sign up for a dolphin tour cruise. 

If volleyball is your game but you don’t like the hot summer beach sand, you’ll love water volleyball at Crab Island.  Six days a week you can play for free on one of the three floating nets from 10am to 5pm.  On Saturday and Sunday, let your competitive wild side join in the 4-person volleyball tournament starting at 2pm. And if the fun of tournament play isn’t enough, each day the winning team will receive a prize. 

 Crab Island also features the Ultimate Crab Island Experience for those looking for someone else to guide the fun!  You and 15 of your friends can schedule this fun-filled day which includes transportation, food served buffet style, music, concerts, drinks, soda and water, and water fun all provided for you.  Although alcohol isn’t served, those 21 and older may certainly bring it along.  For more information on this unforgettable experience, log onto CrabIslandOnline.com.

Cool Factors: Emerald-colored water, locals’ favorite place, water volleyball, free pizza on weekends, Jet ski, kayak and pontoon rentals available, the ultimate Crab Island experience


Coolest Dog On the Coast

Stella Star, the 3 Legged Chi, and Jenny Lyn Designs

www.facebook.com/StellaStar3leggedchi

www.facebook.com/JennyLynDesigns

Instagram: @StellaStar3leggedchi

What is more heart-warming than an adorable dog small enough to fit perfectly in your arms? How about a dog that is killing the fashion game AND inspiring everyone she meets!

Stella Star was rescued by Get a Life Pet Rescue of Broward County from Miami-Dade Animal Services at the age of 10 months after she survived being hit by a vehicle that tragically left her 

 with seven leg fractures, a crushed pelvis, one severed paw, and only three legs.  But, the horizons brightened for Stella when her adoptive Mommy, Jen Fletcher, gave her a loving home.

The birth of Jenny Lyn Designs came when Jen and Stella Star started attending various rescue events, and Jen began designing and sewing costumes for her precious puppy to wear. Jen’s award-winning designs have been a hit across the nation and there’s good reason: it’s not often you find someone creative enough to make couture gowns, Swarovski crystal sunglasses, and intricate hair pieces for the furry friends in your life. 

Glitz, glam, and fashion have become a normal part of life for Jen and Stella Star. From walking the red carpet at Mercedes Benz 

 Fashion Week in New York to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim Miami, this pooch has covered the East Coast in Jen’s designs. Besides red carpet appearances, Stella Star has been photographed and published in over 20 websites across the globe. At home on the Emerald Coast, the duo has taken home awards in the Alys Beach Howloween Best Costume Contest, 5th Annual Rosemary Beach Unleashed Best in Show, and 30A St. Patrick’s Festival and Parade overall winner pet costume contest. 

Visit Stella Star and Jenny Lyn Designs on Facebook and Instagram for more information! 

Cool Factors: 3-legged Chi struts down red carpets, high fashion for dogs, nationwide success, this creative designer lives right here on the Emerald Coast



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