The Market Shops, located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, hosted the 5th Annual Bloody Mary Festival on November 2, 2019. The annual event, recently named “Best Local Event” by the readers of Emerald Coast Magazine, raised $25,000 for Habitat for Humanity – Walton County, a record-breaking amount for the festival. The sold-out event featured unlimited tastes of the Emerald Coast’s most creative and inventive Bloody Marys made with Cathead Vodka and served by the finest restaurants and bars on the Panhandle.
Guests were greeted upon arrival with festive tomato-themed balloon décor, courtesy of Mingle, before entering the bustling 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 in specialty cups provided by Compass Builders of Florida and Visit South Walton.
Upon check-in, guests received a token in order to vote for the coveted People’s Choice Awards for the “Best Bloody Mary in South Walton.” At the end of the event, these votes were counted by Hill Coleman CPA and the following local restaurants were chosen as the winners:
1st Place People’s Choice Award – Rockin Tacos Grill & Tequila Bar
Beefy fajita-style Bloody Mary made with jalapeno-infused Cathead vodka, garnished with a chicken and cheese taco, spicy green bean, pickled jalapeño, fresh lime, and a bonus Rockin Tacos’ La Casa Margarita sidecar.
2nd Place People’s Choice Award – The Surf Hut
Infused Cathead vodka mixed with tomato juice, Frank’s Red Hot, horseradish, Worcestershire, fresh-squeezed limes and lemons, spicy green bean juice, celery seed, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Garnished with an Old Bay seasoning rim, stuffed olive, spicy green bean, cheddar cheese cube, jalapeño, and a freshly baked, hand-rolled cream cheese crab ball.
3rd Place People’s Choice Award – Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi
Signature house-made Bloody Mary with a spiced rim and topped with Jackacuda’s Nola sushi roll, a dynamite shrimp and an Asian zing boneless chicken wing.
A panel of select food critics and local celebrities also judged each Bloody Mary and selected the following winner as the most delicious and most creative:
Judge’s Choice Award – The Surf Hut
All awards were custom made by local artist, Maxine Orange.
There was plenty of food to go around during the festival provided byvarious restaurants located directly within The Market Shops, including Ben & Jerrys, Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits, Clean Juice, Hebert’s Specialty Meats, Maple Street Biscuit Company, and Pizza by the Sea. Apart from the Bloody Marys, guests sipped on local craft brews served by Grayton Beer Company and champagne from the Bubbly Bar, courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard.
Legendary Marine served a blue “Sea Water” cocktail made with Cathead Vodka, alongside two of their premier boats while Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast served a non-alcoholic “mock-tail” called the “Frozen Shoulder.” The newly added “Boozy Popsicles,” which were also made with Cathead Vodka and served by Swell Pops, were a big hit and offered a refreshing palette cleanser in between sips of Bloody Marys.
During the event, guests enjoyed a hydration station by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, a commemorative photo booth by Epic Photo Co. courtesy of Legendary Marine and Visit South Walton, music by DJ Dad, a cigar bar by Shore Thing Cigars, and exclusive shopping opportunities from The Market Shops merchants.
Rent Gear Here and Tail Grayton transformed the Grand Lawn into the ultimate tailgating experience with plenty of lounge seating and flat screen TVs live streaming college football, sponsored by Insurance Zone. Headlining the event was a live performance from Dread Clampitt on the main stage sponsored by Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast.
The Market Shops would like to thank the restaurants who competed for the title, including Another Broken Egg Cafe, Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits, Blue Mabel, Camille’s at Crystal Beach, Emeril’s Coastal Italian, Grits & Grind, Half Shell Oyster House, The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa, Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi, LuLu’s Destin, Rockin Tacos, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shades Bar and Grill, Signature Catering of 30A, Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House, Sunset Bay Cafe, and The Surf Hut.
Additional funds were raised through a Benefit Brunch held simultaneously with the festival at Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits, where 10 percent of proceeds benefited Habitat for Humanity – Walton County. Jon Smith Subs also donated 10 percent of their sales from that day to the local nonprofit.
Special thanks to additional sponsors which include 30A, 30AEats, 30A Television, 30A Tents and Events, 98 Realty & Property Management Company, The Beachcomber, Beachworx, Cumulus Broadcasting, Destin Life, Destin Log, Eloquent Signs, Emerald Coast Luxury Transportation, Emerald Coast Magazine, Emerald Ladies Journal, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Good Grit Magazine, Gulf Coast Restaurants, Inside the Gates, Land • Air • Sea Productions, The Local, Maxine Orange, Mingle, Northwest Florida Daily News, Plantation Living, Proffitt PR, The Regatta Bay Way, SoWal Life, SoWal.com, Thirty A Review, VIP Destin Magazine, VIP Pensacola Magazine, Visit South Walton, The Walton Sun, and Waste Management.