Shimmering Seas at Pier Park turns 5 Today!

 

 

Today, Saturday, August 24th Shimmering Seas Jewelry at Pier Park in Panama City Beach is celebrating its’ FIFTH year of business!

There is a celebration at the store today from 12 to 8 and a chance to win $500 in FREE JEWELRY and 10% of all sales will go to Children’s Home Society here in Bay County.  Attendees will have a chance to win door prizes and enjoy complimentary chocolates and champagne.

Shimmering Seas is an active member of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce  and very involved in community service and a great place to find gifts, from one of kind pieces made by local artists to classic Pandora charms and bracelets.

Shimmering Seas is located in the Pier Park Boardwalk area near Margaritaville.

 

Stay tuned to their FACEBOOK page for future events both at the store and in the community.

 

Shoney’s in Pier Park is OPEN and it’s Delicious!

If you’re been looking for a fresh pick for your next breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s a new kid on the block in Pier Park in West Panama City Beach. Shoney’s in Pier Park opened yesterday with their grand opening to take place next week. Today I had the opportunity to have a sit-down with one of their market leaders for lunch after a conversation with their CEO this morning.

Lunch was delicious, and their cordiality has been second to none. If they run their business half as well as they’ve treated me, they’ll be very successful indeed.

First Impressions.

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Ya know, I have to admit, with what little I knew about Shoney’s, I wasn’t particularly excited about one coming here. It’s not that I was unexcited, there just wasn’t any emotion at all.

But, since this is PCBDaily, and there’s an obligation to report on (if nothing else) something new, I figured I owed it to you; and them. My request for more information was interestingly responded to.

I was first called by the new Marketing Director of Pier Park, who told me someone from Shoney’s would be calling me. The next day I received a call from the Shoney’s Director of Marketing who said he was going to set up a call for me with the CEO. Reassuring him that a conversation with the CEO wasn’t necessary, it was insisted upon.

This morning I was connected with David Davoudpour, the CEO, who was just a flat-out nice guy. We had a great conversation for a few minutes and parted ways.

I texted the DOM for Shoney’s asking him if I could stop by for lunch and was treated to lunch by another senior staff member who spent more time with me than I do with any of my minions.

This morning, the CEO told me that they spend time and energy in community involvement, and I continued to feel that resounded over and over. Over the years, I’ve been treated to lunch, I’ve been given favors in hopes of a favorable word and the like, but they just made me feel good.

And I can tell you, they left a lifetime impression on me. And I’ll have no hesitation seeking them out when we travel or when we’re going out here locally.

This Shoney’s is different.

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Naturally, when you see a larger brand enter into a market for the first time in a while, or if they open a new location, you’d expect them to try some things differently. This is no different.

The Shoney’s in Panama City Beach is doing a few things differently, but they’re staying true to the heritage their CEO emphasized to me this morning: that they offer “good value, family American dining.”

Some of the things they’re doing differently here include having a full steakhouse menu, full bar (beer and liquor), completely different ambiance, they have a Hometown Cafe (espresso, latte and mocha), and they have outside patio seating (that seats 60).

And another huge difference, and I mean huge in the literal sense, is that this is the largest Shoney’s they have, ringing in around 7,200 square feet.

The food and the prices.

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When asked this morning what he thought Shoney’s was best known for, David Davoudpour told me “value, and fresh, quality food.” Rob, the representative that met me for lunch told me all the ingredients are fresh, nothing comes in frozen, and pointed to my onion rings stating they are all hand battered from fresh cut onions.

I have to admit, when Red Robin came in (right across the street), I was excited to try them, but I was disappointed in their price-point. I have a hard time taking my whole family there for less than $100. Remember, I have 5 kids.

When I was looking at the menu, I was impressed at the low cost of the items. It’s hard going out to eat around here without spending a fortune.

Davoudpour told me this morning that I had to try the burgers. So for lunch, I had an All American Burger, and was asked at the time of order whether I wanted pink or no pink. I chose pink and I was not let down. The burger was moist and tender, the bun was fantastic and the “fix ins” were perfect. The burger was perfectly adorned and it really was absolutely delicious.

As a side I got onion rings, and they were amazing as well.

My meal, with the water I ordered, would have been $6.99 plus tax. Not a bad lunch.

So, where are they?

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Remember that Cantina Mexican restaurant across from Red Robin? They shut down and Shoney’s filled in their spot. They’ve spend the last couple months building and the inside looks great. They’ve filled it out nicely and they have plenty of room for professional groups (hello IdeaCamp) and private parties.

So, Shoney’s in Panama City Beach in Pier Park. Try it. It’s fantastic and totally receives the PCBDaily’s Stamp of Approval.

FREE Food and Fun at Pier Park this Saturday 11/3

Instead of asking what is going on this weekend…..maybe the question should be what is NOT going on this weekend?

Panama City Beach and her surrounding areas are growing and so is the list of things to do!  The exciting part is that list of events is growing more diverse, from fitness to funky to family fun like this weekend’s Fall Festival at Pier Park.  The Fall Festival is an annual event of Woodlawn United Methodist Church, this year marking the fourth year it is at Pier Park.

The event is open to the public and is at no cost to participants, with all food, games and treats like kettle corn, cotton candy and more for FREE.  Participants will also enjoy LIVE MUSIC and prizes.

Woodlawn UMC like many of the churches in our area, emphasizes service to their community, so the fall festival is just another way to give back.

Woodlawn hopes area families will take advantage of this FREE event and enjoy a few hours of fellowship and games with their loved ones.  The event is Saturday, November 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm.

The church can be reached at 850-234-3196 or you may visit their Facebook page.

 

 

Walk This Saturday….discover the UPS of DOWNS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever met anyone with Down Syndrome? If it wasn’t for the work of the Special Olympics or the warm-hearted cheerleader on GLEE would you even know what it looked like?

I think many of us would agree that fear comes from the unknown and being in small town USA, we are insulated from a lot of unknowns, like genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, we don’t understand.

But did you know here in Bay County there are as many as 7 new families with children born with Down Syndrome?
On a national level one in every 733 babies in the United States is born with it, making it the most common genetic condition. About 6,000 babies are born with Down’s in the U.S every year.

But how would you know that? I didn’t until I spoke to a couple mother’s whose lives were affected….for the better, by the way. One woman, Shannon, whose family frequently visits our beaches, and hopes to call it home some day, shared with me about her experience very candidly.

 

 

Shannon’s son Lucas on our Beaches

 

After giving birth she looked at her baby Lucas, who is now the absolute light unto her path, and she knew before the doctor told her. She was terrified, she broke down into a “crying, snotty mess” she said. She realized that as a mother, one of her primal fears were ignited, something was “wrong” with her baby. But “wrong” turned out to be just “right” and the biggest blessing of her and her husband’s lifetime.

After the hormonal rush of pregnancy had subsided and she was able to reflect on her gutteral reaction she concluded most of her horror was based on pure ignorance. She had never met anyone with Down Syndrome before, she didn’t know anything about it, how was she going to take care of our baby? Isn’t that every mother’s fear that we will not somehow be equipped, i.e, good enough to take care of our children?

As I spoke with Shannon and she shared her story, her candor touched me, I thanked her for it. She simply said…”you know, your story is your story.”

Those words hit me in the face and I hope they leave a mark on yours. Your story is your story and it can be as sad or scary or beautiful as you want it to be. But before it is written, when it is still in the beginning and you don’t know what is going to happen…it can be pretty scary.

But it doesn’t have to be, you can reach out and find people to talk to, learn more about Aspergers and Autism and Down Syndrome and all of those things that terrify us because we don’t know any better. For Shannon, she read the blog by Kelle Hampton, a mother she not only connected to, but made her realize what an amazing gift she had been given.

Thankfully there are organizations that raise awareness of these issues that affect so many of new mother’s today.  October happens to be Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

If you want to learn more about Down Syndrome and have a fun, family friendly day outside, you are in luck for this Saturday, October 20th is the Annual Buddy Walk put on by Acton Up with Downs at Aaron Bessant Park next to Pier Park.

There will be lots to do at this event..Music…Food..
Children’s games and crafts…entertainment for all!
Dr. Shane of WPAP will be the MC and the Parrots Club will play music. Prosperity Bank will be keep our bellies full with hot dogs and hamburgers for all.

To find out more about this event, go to http://www.actonupwithdowns.org/ or just show up at Aaron Bessant Park this Saturday, October 20th at 9 am.

As one local parent put it….”Come out and learn more about people with Down Syndrome…and find out that we are all more alike than different.”

Pirates of the High Seas Festival THIS WEEKEND

If you haven’t planned your trip to the beach for Columbus Day weekend, then get your bags packed, check out our condo rental availability calendar and fill up the tank.  This weekend is the second annual Pirates of the High Seas Festival and will adorn Panama City Beach with pirates, a beach ball drop and parades.

Schedule of events

All events below will take place in Pier Park unless noted otherwise.

Friday October 5th

  • Pirate and Wench (Adults) Costume Contest (6:00 p.m.)
    Aspiring pirates and lasses can show off their high seas style.
  • Pet Costume Contest (6:20 p.m.)
    Scruffy scallywags, pampered pooches and feathered friends take the stage to display their pirate garb in a chance to capture the bounty.
  • Second Line Parade (7:00 p.m.)
    Mardi Gras style parade
  • Beach Ball Drop (8:00 p.m.)
    More than 8,000 inflated beach balls will create a sea of excitement as they fall from the sky onto Pier Park Drive.

Saturday October 6

  • Run for the Treasure (7:30 a.m.)
    Landlubbers will stretch their legs at pirate-themed Fun Run, 5K and Half Marathon hosted by Girl’s Inc. of Bay County at Aaron Bessant Park.
  • Children’s Costume Contest, Treasure Hunt, Activities on BookIt.com Beach and Face Painting (12 noon)
    Exciting activities and live music on the main stage presented just for petite pirates.
  • Lookout for pirates in the Gulf of Mexico (4:00 p.m.)
    The Midnight Princess and Sea Dragon ships sail the waters of the Gulf, battling to lay siege on the city.
  • Pirates Raid Panama City Beach City Pier (4:30 p.m.)
    Anchored offshore, the pirates invade City Pier seeking the keys to the city, followed by a children’s pirate parade. All costumed children are welcome to join the march.
  • Pirate Parade (6:30 p.m.)
    Royal pirates from the Krewe of Dominique Youx strut the streets alongside winners of costume contests and street performers to the Circle for music.
  • Dueling Fireworks Show (8:00 p.m.)
    Battle of the High Seas between County and City Piers as a mysterious pirate ship arrives offshore.

Run to Rum Runners in Pier Park

Fun is Contagious at the new Rum Runners in Panama City Beaches’ Pier Park. If you walk out of the Grand Theatre and turn right, you’ll see it on the corner in the space previously occupied by Tuscany Italian Grill and Guglielmo’s. When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by friendly faces that invite you in with a smile and a warmth that fits right in with the tropical décor.

In fact, Vincent Wood the same artist that designed the scenes for the Sandestin Resort location also brought his iconic tropical designs to the new Pier Park location. The artwork is fun and festive and complimentary to the tiki hut roof over the bar. The suspended surfboards and Hawaiian printed shirts make you feel like it is definitely five o’clock somewhere….and most likely somewhere on a beach.

Karen Smith (aka My Mom) who is always ready for adventure, and me – always ready for a good meal 🙂 – decided to pay this new hot spot a visit. Our server, Jonathon, was friendly and knowledgeable and had nothing but good things to say about his job.

“They make it fun here. It is not just about getting the food out, it’s about making sure our customers have a good time.” He told us both we needed to come back after 8 pm for the dueling piano players. Rum Runners is known for their great entertainment. And the fun is not just for the vacationers, many locals enjoy the casual atmosphere and seven-day-a-week music acts that both encourage audience participation and expand over a variety of genres.

When we asked what we should order, he pointed us to some of the favorites on the menu like the Hurricane Burger and the Lobster Bisque. I opted for a small fresh salad and the appetizer portion of their famous Ahi Ahi Tuna with Wakame, which was delicious. The portions were generous, and the presentations attractive, at least until we devoured them! We drank sweet tea, but at night, the creativity of Rum Runners bartenders attracts many. Many of these “mixologists” have their own unique special creations, but like in Sandestin, the two most popular crowd pleaser drinks are the classic Rum Runner and the Calypso Punch.

Before you run to Rum Runners, run and find them on Facebook. Then run and get you some of that Ahi Ahi Tuna!

2011 Seabreeze Jazz Fest Stats

Year over year, since the Jazz Fest has come to Panama City Beach, the event has grown and drawn a sophisticated audience to the beach.  Many of the attendees upon their first event, had never been here before.  And many have a pattern of returning every year and at other times of year as well.

We recently had a discussion with Mark and Renee Carter, the event promoters, about the growth and success of the event.

Stats
  • Festival attendance topped 25,000 (includes dinner cruise, Meet- and Greet, Kick off concert, and all shows at Pier Park)
  • Named “Top 10 Jazz Festival in the USA” by JazzIZ Magazine
  • Named “Top 100 Event by the North American Tour Bus Association”
  • Demographic is 30-54 years old affluent adults, college-educated, professionals earning $100,000+ annually. Many attendees earn in excess of $250,000+.
  • 65% of tickets sold were outside the State of FL.
  • Most stay on an average of 4 nights.
  • Resorts such as Sterling and Resort Quest have tracked jazz festival attendees returning multiple times per year on vacation after the jazz festival is done.
  • The 2011 event created a $14.2 million impact to Panama City Beach and Bay County according to the HAAS Center at the University of West Florida Small Business Developmental Center.
  • Seabreeze Jazz Festival was #1 ticketed paid event in Bay County for 2011 in gross receipts and top gross receipts for a single event (Pollstar.com) with close to $1 million in ticket sales.
  • In 2011 — tickets were sold in 48 of the 50 states in the USA and 6 different countries.
  • Over 1 million hits to the festival website April 2011.
  • Music Scholarships, jazz band clinics, and instrument purchases were incorporated into the 2011 event with participating from Arnold High School in PCB and South Walton High School in Santa Rosa Beach.
  • Seabreeze Jazz Festival always offers free admissions to all local band students who wear their band shirt to the front gates.
  • WSBZ-FM 106.3 in Destin, FL is one of only 12 full-time smooth jazz radio stations in the USA.
Two ways to get free tickets

You want to know something awesome?  We’ve worked out a special deal to do a ticket giveaway and offer some free tickets to those that book their stay through us as well.

We’re going to do a ticket giveaway later this week, where we’ll give away 2 four-day passes to one lucky winner!  This is a $400 value!

Keep your eyes peeled!