Best of Emerald Coast 2022
Popping off Perfection with Award-Winning Sponsors
Video by Moore Media
The Best of Emerald Coast made a dazzling and delicious return in October of 2022.
Hosted by Emerald Coast Magazine with the Junior League of Emerald Coast’s Child Clothing Project as the beneficiary of the event’s proceeds, the evening popped off like a bubbling bottle of champagne in celebration.
Speaking of libations, there were more than enough samples (and not-so-sample-sizes) of beverages available from Distillery 98’s Dune Lake vodka to Bacardi rum complete with a bicycle-powered daiquiri maker in the VIP section where ticketholders sipped hand-made cocktails and melt-off-the-bone short ribs courtesy of Sunquest Cruises. For sweet treats, Navarre Bakery provided peanut butter pies and brownies as one of their most popular items.
Gerard Amend, General Manager of Emerald Coast Luxury Transportation, commented that Seagar’s at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa cuts of steak were akin to butter, “You just looked at them and they fell apart,” he said while standing out front of a limousine displaying their company’s Best Car/Limo/Shuttle Service award.
“Our company has been attending this event for 5 years,” Amend commented. “However, this is my first year attending as a winner, and I’ve enjoyed every part of it from the atmosphere to the people—and, of course, the delicious food and drinks.”
Grand Boulevard, the home of the event for the past 13 years, blocked off the main brick walkway for Best of Emerald Coast winners, guests and attendees to enjoy without traffic. The event showcases Emerald Coast’s best in categories ranging from cocktails and pasta to skincare and fashion.
“This marks my 16th year being involved in the event,” said Associate Publisher of Rowland Publishing, McKenzie Burleigh. “We’ve been setting up the event since 5 am this morning and I’m beyond grateful for the people who worked alongside me the entire time. I not only view them as sponsors and clients but friends as well.”
From the Rowland Publishing staff at Emerald Coast Magazine to volunteers representing the Junior League, the event ran successfully in support of their Child Clothing Project which has been running for over 38 years and seeks to clothe children along the Emerald Coast who cannot afford new clothing, shoes or books.
The project brings around 400 children shopping each year, many of them receiving their first pair of brand-new shoes. “It’s an amazing experience to see a child’s eyes light up when they open that box and see their very own pair of shoes that are just for them,” said one of the volunteers.
With the support of event workers and volunteers, hospitality staff serving Idyll Hounds brews and donated West Coast Wines and businesses like McGuire’s Burgers – a winner of the past -every detail was covered, and tummies and taste buds were satisfied. Sally McNider, supporting the head chef at Clemenza’s at Uptown in Fort Walton Beach was spotted delivering Bud and Aly’s famous tuna dip (second round of samples) to her hard-working partner.
“I traveled from Alabama just for this event,” McNider said. “And I am so glad that I did, everything has been great from the food to the people.”
After the fog of the pandemic has now subsided, passion shined through once again with local chefs, crafters and sponsors of all kinds displaying their work face-to-face with eager smiles and a proud community.
To learn more about the Best of Emerald Coast, click here.
To view, download and share the photos from the Epic Photo photobooth, click here.
To see this year’s winners visit the October/November issue of Emerald Coast Magazine or view the full list here.
Huge thank you to all our sponsors:
Grand Boulevard Town Center, Land Air Sea Productions, Proffitt PR, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, North Beach Social, Vero Building Systems, Capital City Bank, Vacasa, Timber Creek Distillery, Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, GSOCPA, 99Rock Station, Sunbelt Rentals, Copy Systems Business Center, Innovative Sight and Sound, McGuire’s Irish Pub, Bacardi, Emily Hooks MVP Realty, West Coast Wines, Epic Photo, Frill Seekers and Lindsay Tobias.