NAVARRE — More than 500 people got a taste of Navarre on Tuesday at the annual Navarre Beach Snowbirds Expo.

Before the doors opened at the Navarre Conference Center, there already was a long line out in the parking lot. Once inside, both snowbirds and locals were treated to food samples, swag and services from local businesses.

This is the third year that Dave and Lynn Soltis have visited Navarre from their home in New Jersey. They came to the expo to check out what's new to the area and grab some gifts. 

The Soltises said they first got word about Navarre from a friend who moved to the area. They've been enjoying themselves this season despite the cold weather.

"During the cold snap it was snowing back home, so we were OK," Lynn said.

TJ Goulet, a local marketing consultant who wanted to promote the area to snowbirds and seniors alike, started the Navarre Beach Snowbirds Club five years ago. The club does not have regular meetings, but does have a corn hole league and annual events such as the Sweethearts Valentine's Dance, which will be from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 12 at Juana's Pagodas.

Goulet said it's important to welcome the snowbirds, who not only boost the economy during the off season but eventually become part of the community.

"This is a good investment in the community," he said. "Last year at least five snowbirds bought condos on Navarre Beach. We want snowbirds to stay in the county."