Northwest Florida beach resort Panama City Beach says it is not letting the potential impact from the Gulf Coast off-shore oil spill deter its plans to provide visitors with plenty of summer-vacation activities and experiences.
The destination’s white sand beaches remain open for the enjoyment of all and Panama City beach is showcasing its on-shore offerings by launching ‘Summer of Fun’, a season-long, city-wide beach celebration. From July 1 through Labor Day weekend on September 6, Panama City Beach is hosting a series of street festivals, outdoor movies, fireworks displays and other activities.
Panama City Beach has also been celebrating the recent opening of the brand new $318 million Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), whose first airline customer has been Southwest Airlines.
Throughout the Summer of Fun festivities, Panama City Beach is operating a visitor program called ‘Real.Fun.Random Acts of Appreciation.’, which thanks visitors for choosing the destination in unsuspecting ways, whether it is picking up the tab for dinner or paying for a round of mini-golf.
“We strongly encourage visitors to continue with their plans to enjoy their vacation here in Panama City Beach and support those whose livelihoods are directly connected to our tourism industry,” saysDan Rowe, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are, quite simply, one of the most fun destinations in the world and our focus is ensuring that when visitors come they have a truly great time.”
Panama City Beach continues to invest in its tourism product. WonderWorks Panama City Beach, an innovative attraction based on a science lab being picked up in a storm and dumped upside down, opens at the end of June. The four-story, 39,000-square-foot attraction is filled with 100 interactive hands-on exhibits, small rides, video games, a gift shop and more.
Summer of Fun officially begins on the Fourth of July with Panama City Beach’s ‘Star Spangled Spectacular’. Highlighted events and activities throughout the summer include:
● Star Spangled Spectacular: Sunday, July 4 from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Pier Park, Northwest Florida’s largest entertainment, dining and shopping complex. Festivities include a dedicated Kids Zone at Miracle Strip amusement park, live drama performances, a live concert by Kevin Hammond (an up-and-coming singer-songwriter), and a big fireworks display;
● BeachFest Block Party: Friday, July 16 at Pier Park 8. Visitors can relax with a day of shopping, dining and entertainment at Pier Park and then enjoy festivities beginning at 8 p.m. which culminate with a countdown and thousands of inflatable beach balls dropping from the sky.
● 27th Annual Bay Point 40/40 Shootout: Saturday, July 17 at the Bay Point Marriott. The 40/40 Shootout features a field of up to 40 boats – all of which are 40 feet or less in length – fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin. The kick-off party will be held on Friday night with food and entertainment, Weigh-ins are held on the Saturday. All entertainment and spectator events are free and open to the public. Visit www.baypointbillfish.com for more information;
● Bon Temps Roulez Pirate Festival: Friday, July 23-Saturday, July 24. Panama City Beach will “Let the Good Times Roll,” bringing New Orleans flair to Panama City Beach for concerts on Friday and a festive pirate parade with floats, masked performers and a costume and street party beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday;
● Festival of the Beach: Sunday, July 25 at Spinnaker Beach Club. Beginning at noon, Spinnaker Beach Club will feature live music from the Bellamy Brothers, Tobacco Road, Boyd & Wood, American Honey, Phar Fletcher, Citizen Icon, Nothing Short of Pure and more. The beach-festival concert is being held to raise awareness and aid in coastal clean-up efforts;
● Bellies for the Beach: Saturday, July 31 and Saturday, August 21 on By the Sea Resort’s gulf-front green next to Beachcomber by the Sea. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., belly dancing troupe Gypsy Parvana is headlining two benefit performances and free workshops. A $5 donation to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund is encouraged but not required. Benefit t-shirts will also be for sale. For more information, visit www.bythesearesorts.com;
● Beach Luau at Sharky’s on Panama City Beach: Every Tuesday through August 10, Sharky’s celebrates the spirit of aloha, as well as the sights, sounds and tastes of Polynesia. Guests can enjoy traditional music as well as a fire dancer’s show in Sharky’s open-air theatre;
● Pier Park Summer Concert Series: Every Thursday through August 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free concerts will take place at the Aaron Bessant Amphitheater adjacent to Pier Park. Guests are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket, cooler and picnic and enjoy all styles of music from reggae to jazz to classic rock;
● Screen on the Green: Every Tuesday night through Labor Day. This weekly outdoor film series showcases family movies under the stars at Aaron Bessant Park. Movies start just after dusk and are free. Popcorn and soda are available for purchase;
● Groovin’ on the Green: Every Monday through September 6. Visitors are welcome to this free concert series held on the Village Green at Carillon Beach;
● Barefoot Beach Club Live Entertainment: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Barefoot Beach Club offers live entertainment from its beachfront desk. Guitarist and singer Jesse Jones, steel drum duo Dr. Steele Good and Randy Watson are featured performers;
● Art on a String: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This exhibition consists of more than 200 unusual and masterfully crafted kites collected in Asia. It takes place at the Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida. The entry fee is $8 for adults and $4 for seniors and children;
● Spinnaker Beach Club Family Fun Day: Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon through Labor Day. Spinnaker Beach Club hosts a free beach party and sunset celebration complete with volleyball, jet skiing, DJ BeachHouse performing, parasailing, paddleboards, skim boards and banana-boat rides; and
● Bonfire Sessions & Sunset Concert Series: On Thursdays (July 8, August 12 and September 9) from 5 pm. to 10 p.m. at Spinnaker Beach Club. Guests can enjoy live music, a sunset beach party and a bonfire.
For more information about Summer of Fun events and activities, visit the official website of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Panama City Beach is situated on 27 miles of white sand beaches bordering clear, green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay converge. With more than 300 days of sunshine annually and attractions such as St. Andrew’s State Park and Pier Park, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers.
These include championship golf courses, spas, sporting events, award-winning dining and diverse recreational activities. For more information, call 1-800-PCBEACH (850-233-6503).