Latest Area News
FORT WALTON BEACH â€” Just Think Cake and Supply presents the 3rd Annual Cake Decorating Challenge and Show to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society on Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 103 First St.
The contest is open to all ages and skill levels. Public viewing and tasting will be noon-4 p.m. There will be children's activities, cake tasting, professional demonstrations, vendors, raffles and a bake sale.
Admission for public viewing and tasting is a $2 donation for adults, $1 for children 6-12 and 5 and under are free.
Guest instructor this year is Yvette Humbert. She will offer two classes on Saturday: Battenburg Lace and One Cutter Flower.
Call Just Think Cake and Supply to reserve a spot at 240-0493.
All proceeds of the cake challenge benefit the Walk MS Fort Walton Beach which takes place April 12 at Uptown Station.
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS â€” At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Lakeview Concert Series Guild will present the Madrigal Singers from Northwest Florida State College.
Under the direction of Allison Everitt, the program will include: â€śLilyâ€™s Eyesâ€ť from Secret Garden, composed by Lucy Simon, and sung by Sivu Schlegel and Javonte Coleman; and â€śI Still Believeâ€ť from Miss Saigon, composed by Claude-Michel SchĂ¶nberg, and sung by Katie Pickler and Mallory Olds.
The members of the Madrigals are all scholarship students of the Fine and Performing Arts Division of NWFSC.
The concert will be presented at the First United Methodist Church in DeFuniak Springs. A reception will follow. Both the concert and reception are free. Donations will be solicited to support future events.
The Lakeview Concert Guild Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation.
NICEVILLE â€” Choctaw Bay Music Club will present the 23rd Annual Duo-Piano Recital at 3 p.m. April 6 at Tyler Recital Hall, Northwest Florida State College .
Performers are: Sarah Dieterich, Loretta Hake, Tiffany Kostelny, Theresa McRee, Ingrid Roberts, Annie Roper, Carolyn Schlatter,Kerri Turner, Edward Varela, Stephanie Womble, and Rosewitha Zimmer.
The program will include a piano quartet and Ravelâ€™s Mother Goose Suite. A reception will follow the program.
The program is open to the public. A donation at the door is requested to help cover the cost of the facility rental.
Choctaw Bay Music Club is affiliated with the Florida Federation of Music Clubs and the National Federation Music Club
CRESTVIEW â€“ The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Crestview is hosting the 4th Annual Dance for Life, an evening of ballroom dance to benefit Covenant Hospice, at 6:30 p.m. April 5 in the Crestview High School Auditorium.
The event will feature amateur and professional dancers from across the Emerald Coast.
This yearâ€™s featured performers are Justin Guilmette and Kimalee Piedad, winners of both the United States Dance Championship and the British Invitational Exhibition World Championship.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $30 for VIP admission, which will include premier reserved seating for the show and an exclusive post-event cocktail party with Guilmette and Piedad.
Tickets can be purchased at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 301 N. Main St. in Crestview, or by phone at 682-1455.
NICEVILLE â€” Because of expected inclement weather, the Bluewater Bay Marina Complex announced the second annual Bluewater Bay Marina Cultural Arts Festival slated for 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 5 has been rescheduled for the same hours April 19.
The Bluewater Bay Marina Cultural Arts fest features local and regional artists, covering a large spectrum of art media including watercol-ors, glass art, custom skim boards and long boards, folk art, jewelry, photography, classical guitar and more.
PENSACOLA â€” The Pensacola Jazz Society presents the 31st Jazz Festival 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 5 and 6 in Seville Square, a park in the center of historic downtown.
Seating is provided, though many attendees bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets, or purchase food from food vendors.
JazzFest is a free, family-oriented festival that celebrates all types of jazz and attracts about 16,000 enthusiastic listeners over the weekend. The music will include a variety of jazz styles, presented by prominent national, regional and local artists, as well as area college and high school jazz bands.
There is even a â€śKids Jam with Harmonicas and Kazoosâ€ť each afternoon for the children. In addition, an arts and crafts exhibition is included.
Headliners for JazzFest: are Boulder, Colo., native keyboardist/composer Lao Tizer; Terry â€śDocâ€ť Handy, who soulfully operates musical greatness on the conga drums, and the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra, a nine-piece ensemble that performs original compositions and arrangements combining West African rhythms with Eastern European klezmer melodies.
FREEPORT â€” Celebrate Earth Day with the experts at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center on April 5.
The annual festival will feature live music by the Wildlife Specialists, festival food, hands-on environmental demos and exhibits, a silent auction, World of Wonder, live animal programs, arts and crafts, local vendors, nature hikes, a childrenâ€™s garden, bounce house, games, face painting, and more.
Special performances throughout the day include: Seaside Neighborhood School with their robots, Freeport Elementaryâ€™s Sophistocats, Biophilia Birds of Prey, along with Terrie D and her native flute playing.
The Earth Day Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m.
Admission is $8 adults, $5 children, 2 and under free. E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is at 4956 State Road 20 East. Call 835-1824 or visit eowilsoncenter.org.
NICEVILLE â€“ In Say the Wordâ€™s continued efforts to promote poetry and the art of spoken word in Okaloosa and Walton counties, the group has secured appearances by nationally renowned spoken word artist John Lacarbiere III.
Lacarbiere will perform April 2 at 7 p.m. at the French Quarter Bar and Grill in Niceville and April 16 at 7 p.m. at Amavida Coffee in Rosemary Beach.
Lacarbiere was born and raised in New Orleans and is a national spoken word artist, author and publisher.
Lacarbiere started writing at the age of 8 inspired by local and national hip-hop artists, and after witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he was inspired to take his art to the next level.
In 2008 he released his first book â€śI Write Toâ€¦â€ť and has since released six other titles and four spoken word albums. In between performances, Lacarbiere has produced several spoken word events to include a weekly open mic venue, titled â€śWord Connections.â€ť
Lacarbiere was awarded the â€śWriter of the Yearâ€ť at the 2012 Write NOLA, and in October of 2012, started his own publishing company SWMN Publishing LLC. He has been featured on stages all over the country.
In addition to tirelessly promoting the arts, Lacarbiere is passionate about giving back to his community, and feeds the homeless every Saturday with friends.
â€śWhen Say the Word started in March 2012, it was my dream to one day have the means to bring in outside artists to perform for our community,â€ť said Maria Schabla, founder of Say the Word. â€śSpoken word is a lot more popular in bigger cities and a lot of citizens in Okaloosa and Walton counties have never even heard of spoken word.
â€śJohn Lacarbiere III is that dream realized, and we are thrilled to welcome him as our first featured artist. In addition to being a celebrated writer and spoken word artist, John gives his time selflessly to help his community. I think he is a great role model for a lot of our younger artists in the areaâ€ť.
Say the Word is a collective group of poets and spoken word artists dedicated to creating a platform for poets and spoken word artists to perform, encouraging local writers to collaborate and network; and making poetry more viable in the community by hosting monthly open mic nights.
To learn more about, Say the Word, visit them on Facebook/saythewordpoetry or call 420-4139. Email email@example.com for information.
DESTIN â€“ Whatâ€™s your favorite desert island food?
For some itâ€™s a big, juicy hamburger, invented by â€“ well, letâ€™s not go there. For others itâ€™s a tofu and veggie horror â€¦ thatâ€™s just Crazytown and we wonâ€™t go there either.
To paraphrase Shirley Jackson, no live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality â€“ without pizza!
And thatâ€™s where weâ€™re going â€“ to Vinny McGuireâ€™s Pizza Pub.
Vinny McGuireâ€™s serves pizza. Do you need anything more?
The menu consists of small and large pizzas, with a smattering of appetizers, a salad and gelato. And I like that limited menu. Choices are great but too many are a pain in the you-know-where.
You do, however, get to choose from just about everything they put on a pizza. Vinnyâ€™s calls it â€śCreate your own pizza.â€ť The server hands you a one-page menu and a golferâ€™s pencil, and you circle what you want, starting with the sauce. Italian, red or white sauce? ( I definitely donâ€™t want white sauce on a pizza, but I guess the Yankees roll that way ). Circle your choice.
Next come toppings. You get the first three at no extra charge and every one after that is a dollar.
Letâ€™s start with cheese. They offer all of the standards, like mozzarella or Provolone, and a few not-so-standards, like goat cheese. Thatâ€™s what I got on my small pie and was blown away by how rich and fatty goat cheese tastes â€“ it might be my new favorite food Iâ€™m not supposed to eat.
From cheese we move to fruit and veggie toppings. Again, you choose among the usual and unusual suspects â€“ sliced enemy vegetable (onions), fresh spinach, banana peppers or pineapple, among many others. I chose jalapenos and black olives. A word of warning about the jalapenos â€“ theyâ€™re like little slices of lava in your mouth. If you donâ€™t like hot, spicy foods, avoid jalapenos.
Letâ€™s wrap up our pizza creation with a meat or seafood topping. In this category, you get lots of unconventional selections, from smoked prime rib and chicken to smoked pork, ham, Philly steak, Cajun sausage (Dang! I meant to try that!) and shrimp, anchovies or prosciutto. Those are just a few of the options.
Your pizza can also go â€śnakedâ€ť with simply red sauce and mozzarella.
My friend opted for the ground beef and crimini mushrooms pizza, and I stole a slice. It was very flavorful and filling. Thatâ€™s true of all the Vinnyâ€™s ingredient combinations we tried (including mozzarella and Italian sausage).
The small pizzas are not that small, and the large pizzas are indeed large, so donâ€™t let your eyes get the better of your stomach.
Our pizzas came with a ranch dipping sauce. In the interest of gastronomical accuracy I tried it, and Iâ€™m happy to report it applied another flavor dimension to our pizza. But if ranch can make a carrot taste good, I assume pizza would be no problem.
Before our pies arrived we munched on fried ravioli, which was crusty on the outside and creamy-delicious on the inside. You can also opt for mozzarella sticks or Vinnyâ€™s spinach dip. The crispy calamari on the menu wasnâ€™t available.
The menu also lists a Greek salad and, for dessert, gelato in pistachio, mocha, chocolate and berry flavors.
It was a cool night so we ate inside, which has limited seating. In warmer weather, youâ€™ll want to sit on the patio, which has a walkup bar.
The interior was comfortable and cozy, with lots and lots of dollar bills hanging from the ceiling, a McGuireâ€™s tradition. Each table had a candle, and the walls were festooned with funky Italian posters of American movies made in the 1960s and â€™70s. They were a hoot to take in.
The ever vigilant and funny John kept a good eye on our table, firing up our candle and making sure we had to-go boxes (yes, our eyes got the better of our stomachs).
A final taste
Folks who believe McGuireâ€™s should stick to corned-beef sandwiches are missing out â€“ the pizza at Vinnyâ€™s is excellent.
The crust is substantial, the toppings generous and the pie size bigger than youâ€™d expect. Sit outside with a pub glass of their homebrewed IPA and watch the sun set over Choctawhatchee Bay.
Itâ€™s not a desert island, but you didnâ€™t want to go there anyway, did you?
Restaurant: Vinny McGuireâ€™s Pizza Pub
Location: 29 Harbor Blvd., Destin
Telephone: (850) 650-1234
Hours: 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m. seven days per week
Handicap accessibility: good
Childrenâ€™s menu: no
Reservations: not necessary
Pizza (small): $15
Pizza (large): $20
Pizza (naked, small): $12
Pizza (naked, large): $17
Extra toppings: $1
Greek Salad: $4.99
Payment: major credit cards