PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach was in the holiday spirit this weekend.
The community gathered at Aaron Bessant Park for the 6th Annual Beach Home For The Holidays event returned this year after being postponed last year.
The event kicked off Friday night with singer Josh Turner, s’mores, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and fireworks.
“Last year we did have to postpone due to COVID, so it’s just extra special to be able to host this again. It is something that is a favorite event for Panama City Beach to put on so families can just get out and get into that festive holiday spirit,” Visit Panama City Beach Public Relations Manager Lacee Rudd said.
And they did.
Kids spent most of the night lined up to visit Santa Claus.
“I really enjoy being here and couldn’t ask for a better place to come and it’s cold where I am from anyways. Ho ho ho,” Santa Joe said.
Besides telling you whether or not you made the nice list, the visit with Santa also goes towards a good cause.
“Well several years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and when I went down to the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute. I saw all these children and I decided to start raising money by portraying Santa Clause for charity,” Santa Joe said.
Last year he raised $67,000, but this year their goal is to raise $85,000.
All the money raised will go towards the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute and the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta.
Beach Home For The Holiday event organizers were happy with the turnout and hope families were able to create new memories.
“It was really a night to remember and a great time for families to start a new tradition here in Panama City Beach it was just an absolutely fantastic night,” Rudd said.
The night finished off with more smores, visits with Santa, the Polar Express, and fireworks.
To learn more about Santa Joe and his story visit his website.