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Posted on: December 13, 2023

Winter Wonderland nets thousands of visitors, gifts and financial donations

One of the Winter Wonderland pallet houses, decorated in a Christmas theme.

Fort Walton Beach Police officers pose with the K9 partners.

About 1,500 people turned out Friday and Saturday evenings for the Fort Walton Beach Police Department’s 4th Annual Winter Wonderland. This year’s event saw two firsts: the event was moved to the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds and expanded to two nights.

Visitors enjoyed a variety of activities, including a bouncy house, Christmas wrapping paper hockey, a Gellyball firing range and Christmas crafts.  They could for photos with Santa Claus, or a Santa-suited Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The star of the show was the Christmas village of 40 pallet houses, each one decorated with a unique holiday theme. This year’s first place winner went to the house decorated by the Fort Walton Beach K-9 team.

The event is also a fundraiser for several organizations. On Friday night, visitors donated three truckloads of toys and more than $1,900 in cash donations to benefit Emerald Coast Toys for Tots.

Saturday evening’s event brought in $813 in cash/check donations and numerous amounts of dog food/clothing items and blankets that all went to benefit Road Dogg Rescue and Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program.

The event was made possible with the generous support of more than 60 local businesses and organizations.

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