Emerald Coast Storytellers to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary with Emerald Coast Theatre Company

Categories: Art, Culture, Lifestyle, Local, People,
June 20, 2023,

Photos courtesy of Emerald Coast Storytellers

Emerald Coast Storytellers, a local writers group that has shown impressive growth since their inception last July, will be hosting their One-Year Anniversary celebration at Grand Boulevard’s Emerald Coast Theatre Company on Friday, July 14th.

In the past year, Emerald Coast Storytellers has made waves throughout Walton County with their curated monthly events that take aim at both highlighting and elevating the literary landscape within the 30A community and beyond. They host a series of events including their Open Mic Nights, After-Hours Writing Nights, and Story-Pairing Dinners, a brand-new concept they launched back in early February.

With hundreds of unique attendees and stories written and shared, the Walton County community has come to expect a level of talent and magic at their events, and the One-Year Anniversary will be no exception. The local storytellers who will be taking the mic will be chosen ahead of time and have crafted their stories specifically for the evening’s theme of MILESTONES. Like all their events, it will be a showcase of local talent the minute you step through the door by way of not only the writers but the vendor sponsors as well: custom flower arrangements by Beachy Blooms, charcuterie fixings by Graze 30A, flatbreads from Bitterroot, wine from Vin’tij Food and Wine, local beer and seltzer options, and a specialty cocktail made with the award-winning Half Shell Vodka from Distillery 98. Wardrobe and styling services will be provided by EX VOTO Vintage and the photos and livestream will be captured by local photographer Brenna Kneiss and Isacks Imagery respectively.

Throughout the event, local writers including Ali Diamond, Kristy Holditch, Lindsey Hagood, Mary Alayne Long, Lucinda Bunn, and more, will share their tales with the crowd centered around the July theme of Milestones. “Tell us a story about the path that has led you here,” says the Emerald Coast Storytellers website. “The peaks, the valleys, the chapters of all shapes and sizes, and the endings that perhaps weren’t endings at all, but the mark of new beginnings that have helped take you to the places you were meant to go.” Mary Alayne Long, locally renowned author and Southern humorist, will be the guest emcee for the night.

The event will conclude with the Featured Storyteller Jennifer Steele, Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Alliance. With an impressive resume that includes Chair of the Walton County Tourism Development Council (TDC), the TDC’s Arts, Culture, Events and Activities Committee, Americans For The Arts Private Sector Network Council, and Visit Florida’s Culture, Heritage, Rural, Nature committee, she will be taking the stage as the marquee speaker to share her journey and touch on milestones of her own.

Tickets are currently on sale for the One-Year Anniversary Open Mic Night at

About Emerald Coast Storytellers

Emerald Coast Storytellers is a local writers group based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida that seeks to provide uniquely curated events revolving around the written and spoken word. Their mission is to help locals and visitors alike discover, foster, and reignite their creative passions – both on and off the page. Emerald Coast Storytellers hosts monthly meetups at venues throughout 30A and beyond, which you can follow along on either their social media (@emeraldcoaststorytellers) or their website

VIE: How does it feel as you’re coming up on the first anniversary of Emerald Coast Storytellers?

Ali: It’s exciting, to sum it up. It’s incredible that we’ve made it this far, and that it has resonated with the community to the extent that it has. Beyond our wildest imaginations, we hadn’t anticipated that it would have grown into what it has today.

Kristy: My initial thought is definitely, how has it already been a year? Time has flown by and we’re beyond grateful for all that Emerald Coast Storytellers has become in these twelve short months. We’d be nowhere without the support of this community and we’re just so happy that people are getting just as much out of it as we are.

VIE: What has been the most surprising thing you’ve noticed or learned from the storytellers you’ve met through these events?

Ali: That there are truly, so many talented individuals. So many talented writers. We’ve had poets bring an entire room to tears. Or, watched as a spoken word aficionado recited an entire (hilarious) story from memory, making the entire room laugh. Just incredible. So many people deserve the spotlight for their talent.

Kristy: The writing life can be so solitary, but it’s been so cool to see just how many of us are sprinkled here throughout the area and come to this beautiful place to lead a more creative life off the beaten path. Emerald Coast Storytellers quickly became a way to “bring writers out of the writers’ closet,” and offer a platform to people who may not even consider themselves writers. Yet… It’s been incredible to help cast this net and I’m just so excited to see what kind of talent and achievements emerge from it.

VIE: Tell us a little about the anniversary event and how people can get involved or get tickets.

Ali: We are doing an Open Mic Night with Emerald Coast Theatre Company. It’s going to be incredible. We’re bringing in Graze 30a to do a grazing table, Bitterroot is donating delicious flatbreads for us. It’s really going to be a showcase of local talent and a heartfelt thank you from us to the community. We are currently selling tickets on our website ( and still have some reading spots available! The theme for the evening is going to be “Milestones,” which is perfect because this is such a huge one for us.

Kristy: Knowing this was going to be our biggest event yet, we wanted to host it with a place that not only had the space but also shared our passion for the arts. After attending their 10-year anniversary party last Fall, it felt like a no-brainer to float the idea to Emerald Coast Theatre Company. They know how to transform a space and create the kind of magic where you get to leave reality behind for a bit. We can’t wait to celebrate how far we’ve come and hear local storytellers share triumph stories of their own. It’ll be such a special night showcasing some awesome local businesses as well, including Cultural Arts Alliance, Beachy Blooms, Graze30a, Bitterroot, Distillery 98, and more.

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