vie magazine subscribe button

Holidays by the Beach

Pier Park Creates a Winter Wonderland

By Franco Grimaldi | Photography by Jessie Shepard

Pier Park has been reshaping life along the beach for visitors and residents alike for the past three years. Located one mile east of Highway 79, across from the Russell-Fields Pier in the heart of Panama City Beach, Florida, Pier Park is a Simon “Signature Project” serving as the premier shopping destination for Panama City and the entire Emerald Coast. Events built around family fun have been the cornerstone of its marketing vision and it has proven to be an effective strategy. “We’re a Southern town and we’re bringing the holidays to the beach. We have a hand-painted house where children can have their photos taken with Santa while giving their lists to him,” said Felicia Cook, Pier Park’s marketing director. “If you are new to the beach, you can buy your first surfboard at the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, jog across the street, and catch a wave!”

Pier Park is unique in that it is one of the few shopping destinations in the country where shoppers can enjoy spectacular Gulf views and breezes at restaurants such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Guy Harvey’s, and Reggae J’s Island Grill. “Overall Pier Park has held its own this year,” added Cook. “We had the best spring break we ever had and, before the oil spill, the center’s sales were trending up from the previous year. We are 100 percent occupied and with the anchor merchants—The Grand Theatre 16, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Target—Pier Park has a vitality not commonly found in retail these days.” With performance expectations being exceeded since opening three years ago, many stores posted the highest revenues within their company-wide chains. The movie theatre consistently does very well during the holidays and this year promises to be even better.

Pier Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Having an appearance more like a small town, Pier Park is a lifestyle center with colorful Caribbean architecture, beautifully landscaped grounds, and numerous events held throughout the year that create a lively shopping environment. With over one million square feet of shopping, dining, and entertainment space, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Pier Park is host to numerous events, road races, and parades throughout the year, many of which help to raise money for local charities.

Pier Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

There are boutique-style specialty shops such as The Eye Gallery for the latest fashion in sunglasses and Déjà vu, offering designer sundresses and beach accessories. And the outfit wouldn’t be complete without a great pair of shoes or boots from Feathers Shoe Boutique. Along spacious sidewalks that lead to the beach, enjoy restaurants with live music and small eateries such as Hofbräu Beer Garden and Red Brick Pizza.

What boardwalk revelry would be complete without amusements? Thanks to the personal touch of Jenny and Teddy Meeks, Pier Park is host to a collection of old-fashioned amusement rides complete with a replica of the Ferris wheel that lit up the old Miracle Strip Amusement Park for three decades. The vintage pieces of merriment have infused the center with loads of fun and an authentic feeling of boardwalk vacation life. Currently the Meeks are campaigning to return the original Miracle Strip roller coaster to Miracle Strip at Pier Park.

Pier Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Pier Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Pier Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Adjoining the west side of Pier Park is the city’s Aaron Bessant Park, Panama City Beach’s premier festival spot offering nature trails and a grass amphitheater, which plays host to annual crowd pleasers such as the three-day spring favorite, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, and Pier Park’s annual “Summer Concert Series.” And remember, your dog is welcome to these events, too, because we all know that he is man’s best friend!

This season enjoy Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting ceremony on November 26 and the Christmas Parade on December 11 at 5 p.m. Bring the whole family out this New Year's Eve and experience the kids’ beach ball drop at 8 p.m. and a countdown fireworks display at midnight with lots of family entertainment throughout the evening. “Our Christmas parade is very well attended thanks to the Optimist Club. Our Festival of Trees is partnering with Panama City Rescue Mission again this year,” added Cook.

— V —


Calendar of Events

November 26
Black Friday Sales
Santa’s Arrival and Breakfast 9:00 a.m.
Santa House opens following Breakfast
Tree Lighting 6:00 p.m.

December 4
Run for the Redfish Half Marathon 8:00 a.m.
Friends of Bay County Animal Rescue 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

December 11
Panama City Beach Christmas Parade 5:00 p.m.

December 31
Family Celebration with ball drop countdown to follow 5:30 p.m.



Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
Summertime!
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail

X

A LIFESTYLE