CRESTVIEW — Zachery Miller experienced several firsts during Saturday night's Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce Wine Gala.
"(It was) my first wine tasting, my first wine gala and my first time eating sushi," said the Virginia native, who moved to Crestview two weeks ago. "This (was) awesome."
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The fourth annual event — this year called the "Moonlight and Melodies Cultural Celebration," held at Emerald Coast Aviation — was an evening of cuisine, wine sampling, music and dancing coupled with cultural components as part of the statewide Viva Florida 500 observance.
For Bronxville, N.Y., resident Amanda Lee Moore, who was visiting Laurel Hill family members, childhood memories of the Crestview area never included nibbling sushi, barbecue and a slab of cheesecake nearly as good as she'd find in New York.
"Crestview has grown up," Moore said. "What a wonderful evening!"
Stanley and Sandra Burson came down from Birmingham, Ala., to attend the gala for the third time; they were put to work serving wine.
"We enjoy it so much. We look forward to it every year," Sandra Burson said.
Dr. Cheryl Jones and Company's dance music, and cuisine including from gourmet pizza, chicken nuggets, frozen yogurt and wraps mingled with decorated tables and lights shimmering from the fuselages of aircraft at the Emerald Coast Aviation hangar.
Enhancing the experience were performances by American Indian flautist Terrie D., Niela Spears' African-inspired dance, and displays from the chamber of commerce Arts and Culture Committee and Crestview's Sister City program.
"It gets bigger and more wonderful every year," attendee Audrey Milcarek said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.