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Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture

Crestview will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, but its history dates back to before the colonization of the New World. The Baker Block Museum (located 4 miles west of Crestview in Baker, FL) showcases many artifacts from the area’s history, as well as a library of genealogical and historic information. It hosts a Heritage Day on the first Saturday of each November, with an open house and many demonstrations and exhibits. The Carver Hill Museum in Crestview is the site for the area’s African American heritage. The John McMahon Environmental Center, also in Crestview, was the original Scout Hut, and retains plant and animal exhibits. The grounds contain a specimen of every tree native to Florida, a butterfly garden, and two ponds, one in the shape of the state. Main Street Crestview Association organizes the annual Fall Festival at the end of October, and the Christmas parade as well. The Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce puts on the annual Triple B – Blackwater, Bluegrass, and BBQ Cook-off – which showcases area music and performers. Laurel Hill is the home of the Hobo Festival, a fall heritage event, a spring arts and heritage event, and periodic bluegrass weekends.

The Crestview area has strong ties to local military, and celebrates this with an annual Veteran’s Day parade in November, and a Military Appreciation Recognition Celebration on Armed Forces Day in May - a day of music, food, and family activities, all free to military families.

Crestview is the Sister City of Noirmoutier, France, a tourist destination there which also was a battle site of WWII. The Crestview Sister City Organization has arranged several visits to Noirmoutier, and their citizens have visited here regularly as well. They have enjoyed wine from local Yellow River Winery; a local distillery will be opening soon, as well.

The diversity to be found in our area is celebrated with several organizations such as the Philippine Heritage Association, International Dinners supporting health mission trips, and an International Festival at Shoal River Middle School which highlights the backgrounds of our students originally from other countries.

The Crestview Library is a hub of arts and culture for the Hub City. In addition to traditional library offerings, it is host to a Photography Club, a monthly Open Mic Poetry and Music Event, and meetings of the Friends of the Arts, as well as the Friends of the Library. Two display areas - a hanging one for pictures and photography, and glass cases in the lobby - offer an ever-changing variety of art and craft exhibits by local talent. Monthly First Tuesday lectures cover a wide range of topics of local interest, often on area history.

The performing arts are well represented. Crestview is home to “A View from the Stage,” a community theater group, which has staged high-quality drama and musical events. The high school is also home to a drama club which performs regularly, and an art club that exhibits in the spring. Music lessons are available through Upbeat Music, as well as in area schools. Crestview High School’s Big Red Machine has performed in national parades, most recently in the Rose Parade. The high school chorus and its specialty groups competes in area events and performs in Canada periodically. It hosts a semi-annual Madrigal Dinner, an evening of medieval food and music.

There are several local music groups, including the Wesley Boys quartet, the First Baptist Church Men’s Ensemble, and the Pelican Pickers, a dulcimer group.

Performance venues include the Community Center, adjacent to the library, and Warriors Hall, a 280-seat hall which includes a performance-quality grand piano.

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park is just outside of Crestview, off Highway 90 East about seven miles.

The southern portion of Okaloosa County, including Niceville, Ft. Walton Beach, and Destin, is easily accessible, offering many additional area art and culture opportunities. These include the Heritage Museum in Valparaiso, the Indian Temple Mound Museum in Ft. Walton, and the Armament Museum on Highway 85; Northwest Florida Symphony, Okaloosa Chamber Singers, and the many arts events hosted by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.

OKALOOSA COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (TDC)

Emerald Coast Convention & Visitor Bureau, Inc. (CVB)
The mission of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council is to market our area to potential visitors, specifically inviting families to the Emerald Coast. By putting “heads in beds,” tourism increases economic growth for Okaloosa County.

Emerald Coast Convention

Marketing the Emerald Coast as a tourist destination is funded entirely by Tourist Development Lodging Bed Tax. NO Ad Valorum taxes are used. Beach cleaning, the turtle program, beach lifeguards, beach access parks, welcome centers and operation of the Emerald Coast Convention Center are complimentary services to residents of Okaloosa County, completely paid for by visiting guests who stay in overnight lodging inside the current bed tax district – Fort Walton, Destin, Okaloosa Island, Mary Esther and Cinco Bayou.

The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council is a proud member and partner of the Crestview Chamber of Commerce. For more information about tourism and efforts, items and programs funded by the Tourist Development Lodging Bed Tax, visit EmeraldCoastFL.com or call (850) 651-7131.

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