Annual Festivals and Events

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The Emerald Coast always can find a reason to celebrate. Take your next Destin vacation to a whole new level of planning to attend one of the area’s popular annual, festivals or events. With a wide variety of celebrations and special events happening throughout the year, chances are good you’ll be able to experience one of the festivals that make Destin, Florida so much fun. Here are some of the area’s favorites:

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Destin Gumbo Contest & Silent Auction

The Destin History & Fishing Museum puts on their Annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction Fundraiser. The event takes place in January each year at the Destin Community Center. Area restaurants and individuals compete for the title of the best gumbo on the panhandle. The event includes music and a silent auction of sixty plus packages including artwork, vacation stays, jewelry, and restaurant gift certificates, boating and fishing trips, services, golf, recreational activities and much more. Come sample all the areas’ finest gumbo and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award.

30A Songwriters Festival

The perfect mix of cool beach weather and red-hot music is what you will find during the 30A Songwriters Festival. More than 175 artists perform in this truly collaborative event, allowing some of the craft’s most talented writers to offer an in-depth look into the creative process. Artists will perform many live performances in intimate venues and large amphitheaters throughout the 16 beach neighborhoods of South Walton.


Sandestin Gumbo Festival

The Sandestin Gumbo Festival has been known as one of the largest & most popular winter food events along with Florida’s Emerald Coast.  Kick-off the weekend with a delicious Seafood Boil and then on Saturday, guests enjoy
live music, family activities & the best gumbo cook-off on the Gulf Coast.  Feb 16 & 17, 2018


Seaside Neighborhood School 5K & Half Marathon

Held in the begin of March, the Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K: Taste of the Race is a three-day event featuring food, fun, and plenty of racing. Friday’s Taste of the Race event, which is the official kick-off for the weekend, is a foodie paradise. A race expo featuring local businesses will be held Saturday and the weekend culminates with the Half Marathon and 5K, which typically sees runners from 30-plus states. Be sure to bid on silent auction items showcasing merchandise from approximately 200 local businesses. To learn more about the event, visit


Sandestin Wine Festival 

The Sandestin Wine Festival at Baytowne Wharf brings an opportunity for discovery. Four days of unique events open up a wide range of experiences from attending wine dinners with celebrity chefs, participating in preview events throughout the year, and taking part in wine tastings that showcase hundreds of wines.      April 12-15, 2018

South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival

A dazzling roster of dozens of celebrity winemakers, distillers, chefs, brew masters, and entertainers converge in South Walton, Florida to wine, dine, educate and entertain guests as part of the four-day celebration of wine. Throughout the Town Center of Grand Boulevard, attendees enjoy such attractions as Spirits Row, Rosé All Day Garden, Savor South Walton Culinary Village, Nosh Pavilions, Tasting Seminars, Craft Beer & Spirits Jam, live entertainment and more than 800 wines poured by knowledgeable wine industry insiders.      April 26-29, 2018


ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival

The Annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival is the area’s premier outdoor art show and sale, hosted by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County each year. This event takes place in May during the Mother’s Day weekend at Grand Boulevard in South Walton, Florida. ArtsQuest provides an opportunity to view and purchase original art from over 200 artists from around the country while also experiencing live musical entertainment, ImagiNation (where kids rule), student exhibits and great food & beverage options in the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

ArtsQuest is a juried show that includes artists in the categories of Ceramics, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Metal, Mixed Media, Oils & Acrylics, Original Digital Art, Photography, Sculpture, Wood, and Works on Paper (Watercolor, Printmaking, Pastels, Pencils, Ink).

To participate in the ArtQuest Fine Arts Festival

Digital Graffiti

Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach is a one-of-a-kind projection art festival where artists use the latest digital technologies to project their original works onto the iconic white walls of Alys Beach.

Sometimes referred to as “Photon Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or “Urban Projection,” underground artists around the globe have been using the latest design, animation, and projection technologies for many years to cast dynamic images onto skyscrapers and other urban structures as a means of artistic expression. Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach is a festival geared towards bringing these artists together in one place to celebrate and showcase their unique talents.   May 18-20, 2018


Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic was started in 2003 when a group of guys from Galati Yacht Sales and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort decided it was time to bring a big money tournament back to the Destin area. The rest, as they say, is history.   June 20-24, 2018


Paddle at the Porch – The Destin SUP Cup

Every August, the Annual Paddle at the Porch returns to the beautiful emerald green waters behind one of Destin’s most loved restaurants, The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House. The event features a kids’ fun paddle, a 1-mile beginner ride, a 3-mile recreational race, and a 6-mile elite race, to be followed by awards.


Sandestin Triathlon

Each year, this annual Sandestin Triathlon lures more than 700 participants for a half-mile Gulf of Mexico swim, a 20-mile bike along the coast, and a 4-mile run through Sandestin’s beach and bayside community. Following the event, everyone can enjoy all that Sandestin has to offer.

Baytowne Art Walk


Destin Fishing Rodeo

The Destin Fishing Rodeo began in May of 1948 to bring people to Destin. It worked! Destin shortly became known as a summer tourist destination and “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.  The Destin Fishing Rodeo is the ultimate fishing tournament for saltwater anglers of all ages.

The Rodeo founders, people such as Howard Marler, Jewel Melvin, and Willie Marler, decided that moving the Rodeo to October would lengthen the tourist season another month. Today the Rodeo is held October 1- 31.

Destin Seafood Festival

The Destin Seafood Festival is hosted along the Destin Harbor and is free to the public! This local festival icon hosts close to almost 70,000 guests in three days! Great fun for fishermen and the entire family with loads of fun and activities.


Telluride MountainFilm on Tour

A true South Walton institution, few occasions elicit more local enthusiasm than WaterColor‘s annual MountainFilm event, held the first weekend every November. Mountainfilm on Tour brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and incredibly inspiring documentary films curated from the Mountainfilm festival held every Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The films showcased during the two-day festival will explore the themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission: using the power of film, art, and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.

Seeing Red Wine Festival

Celebrating its 27th anniversary, the SEASIDE® Seeing Red Wine Festival has grown to be a sell-out event, attracting wine connoisseurs and novices alike. Attendees are encouraged to reserve their tickets well in advance.  The Seeing Red Wine Festival has been recognized as one of the “Top 10 Can’t-Miss Fall Wine Festivals,” by Fodor’s Travel.

The four days of festivities include wine tastings, winemaker dinners, and a Sunday brunch. Seaside’s well-known restaurants showcase how their farm-to-fork and Gulf-to-table offerings pair beautifully with the featured wines.

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