Taking place in and around Florida’s Destin and Fort Walton Beach, the 26th annual Emerald Coast Poker Run and Boat Week, which is scheduled for August 8-12, is going to be somewhat different this time around. Besides the obvious change—the event is no longer affiliated with the Florida Powerboat Club (read the story)—the main difference is the pricing structure.
The Emerald Coast Poker Run has some changes in store this year. Photo courtesy Emerald Coast Foundation (click to enlarge).
Other than that, the event is still about making a difference in the lives of hundreds of kids through the Emerald Coast Foundation and is expected to continue with the same fun stops, including Bamboo Willies and Juana’s in Navarre, Sandestin Resort and Emerald Coast Marine in Niceville, as well as the same entertaining party at AJ’s, the Miss Boat Week Bikini Contest, the Crab Island Roundup and more.
“We have nothing but good things to say about Stu—we thank him for all the years and wish him the best,” said Donna Tashik, president of the Emerald Coast Foundation. “At the end of the day, we both felt it was time to move on. With the run completely in our wheel house now, we can make some changes we have been thinking about for a long time, as well as guarantee to correct some problems that occurred last year. Our entire community, from the Marine Patrol, Sheriffs Dept, sponsors and business owners love Boat Week and are dedicated to these children’s charities we support, as well as to making Boat Week run smoothly and safely, all while insuring it is one of the best runs in the country.”
In terms of pricing, for $295, all participants will receive entry for two into all Boat Week parties, two event T-shirts, a weekend stay for two at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi, Miss., the famous Emerald Coast Poker Run cooler bag and the chance to win some great prizes. For an additional $200, there is VIP option available to any registered boat that includes free drinks and VIP seating for two at the Captains Party, reserved seating for two at the bikini contest and Saturday’s poker run party, not to mention special gaming tables and free drinks all night at the party (the open bar closes at 9).
According to Tashik, the foundation listened to the problems people brought up last year and is guaranteeing more tables, both seated and gaming, at the party. She said a new food supplier has been hired, and the event will change from a sit-down meal to heavy hors d’oeuvres that will stay out later throughout the night.
She does recommends getting there as early as possible if eating is high on the priority list, and said not to wait if you’re thinking about going with the reserved seats/VIP package.
“By knowing who wants reserved seats, and what sponsors are attending in advance, we can insure proper seating for all,” Tashik said, adding that the foundation has lined up better trailer/boat parking that won’t cost participants any additional money. “Our only goal in this run is to make money for the local children’s charities we support, and we know we don’t do that without you, the participants.”