The Market Shops hosted its Seventh Annual Bloody Mary Festival on Saturday, October 22. The signature event, powered by Step One Automotive Group, raised a record-breaking $50,000 for Habitat for Humanity – Walton County.
The sold-out event showcased 15 of the finest restaurants and bars on the Emerald Coast, each serving unlimited tastes of their most creative and innovative bloody marys, made with Distillery 98’s local Dune Laker Vodka. Participating restaurants included Auston’s on 98, Camille’s at Crystal Beach, Chanticleer Eatery, Chiringo, Emeril’s Coastal, Ovide, Party Fowl, Signature Catering of 30A, SunQuest Cruises, Sunset Bay Cafe, The Beach House, The Henderson, The Ruby Slipper Café, The Red Bar and Louis Louis.
The shopping center was transformed into a bustling festival ground to host and welcome over 1,000 attendees. Festive tomato-themed balloon décor, courtesy of Mingle, Community Bank, and the Good Grit Agency, greeted guests before they entered the lively courtyard and grand lawn, each full of restaurants, vendors, and merchants from The Market Shops. Event goers made their way around the tents sampling each Bloody Mary, complete with over-the-top accoutrements, and served in specialty cups sponsored by Compass Builders of Florida.
Upon check-in, guests received a token to vote for the coveted People’s Choice Awards for the “Best Bloody Mary in South Walton.” At the end of the event, votes were counted by Hill Coleman, CPA and the following local restaurants were chosen as the winners:
1st Place People’s Choice Award – The Beach House
House made mix, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, fresh lemon and lime juice, olive juice, hot sauce, and a spiced rim. Garnished with a jalapeño, cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped shrimp.
2nd Place People’s Choice Award – Camille’s at Crystal Beach
Spicy house mix, smoked jalapeño, pickled Gulf shrimp, pickled green tomato, and a peppadew pepper stuffed with espresso bacon jam and feta cheese.
3rd Place People’s Choice Award – Chiringo
Sully’s Kimchi Mary Mix topped with baby corn, watermelon radish, spicy green beans, and scallions, finished with a salt or Tahin rim.
A panel of select food critics and regional media also judged each Bloody Mary and selected the following winner as the most delicious and most creative. New this year, they also picked the winner of the “Best Accoutrement”:
Judge’s Choice Award – Chiringo
Best Accoutrement – Camille’s at Crystal Beach
All awards were custom made by local artist, Maxine Orange.
Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy numerous food options throughout the festival from the various restaurants located directly within The Market Shops, including Ben & Jerrys, Chicago Hot Dogs & More, Clean Juice, Hunter’s Chicken and Burgers, Jon Smith Subs, Maple Street Biscuit Company, Parlor Doughnuts, Pizza by the Sea, and Tuscany Italian Bistro. There were also shopping opportunities on the lawn, courtesy of Mountain High Outfitters. Apart from the Bloody Marys, guests sipped on local craft brews served by Idyll Hounds Brewing Company and champagne from Hey Mama Wines at the Bubbly Bar, courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard. There was also a Hydration Station serving cold water courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty.
Vacayzen and Shofar Productions transformed the Grand Lawn and Bijoux patio into the ultimate tailgating experience with lounge seating and a jumbo screen that live-streamed college football throughout the event, sponsored by Insurance Zone. Guests also sampled cigars from Shore Thing Cigars, took photos in the interactive photobooth sponsored by Legendary Marine, and danced to the Luke Langford Band on the main stage, sponsored by Carter and Company, CPA along with DJ Dad courtesy of Hunter’s Chicken and Burgers.
Since its inception, The Market Shops Bloody Mary Festival has raised over $130,000 for various local charities. For the past five years, Habitat for Humanity – Walton County has been the beneficiary of the annual event. The money raised through ticket sales, donations, and sponsorship from this year’s festival will go directly toward Habitat for Humanity – Walton County’s efforts to build and provide homes for working families in the area. They already plan to build four homes in 2023.
The Market Shops would like to thank all of the volunteers from Habitat for Humanity as well as the additional sponsors who helped make this event possible, including 30A, 30AEats, 30A Television, 850 Business Magazine, Bay Life, Beachworx, Brenna Kneiss, Chi Mar Construction, Cumulus Broadcasting, Destin Life, Emerald Coast Luxury Transportation, Emerald Coast Magazine, Frill Seekers Gifts, Good Grit Magazine, Gulf Coast Restaurants, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, Proffitt PR, Resort Resale, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Scarlett Magazine, South Walton Life, SoWal.com, Tallahassee Magazine, UPS Santa Rosa Beach and Grand Boulevard, VIP 30A Magazine, VIP Destin Magazine, Vacasa, Visit South Walton, Walmart Santa Rosa Beach, and Waste Management.