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Panama City Hot Glass heats up this summer

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

One of the hottest places in Panama City, literally, is one of the coolest places to spend an evening.

“We’re gonna be going into the furnace,” announcer Sydney Madkour told the audience. “So we’ve got nice molten glass right now... 2000 degrees.”

Panama City Hot Glass officially opened Valentine’s weekend and since then things have been heating up for this glass blowing business.

“The community has responded well,” said owner Brent McLeod. “We’ve got a huge following already. Instagram is soaring, Facebook is soaring, people are coming in daily and filming.”

You can watch and video as Director Monir Madkour and his team blow off a lot of steam to make beautiful works of art.

“Monir was blowing glass and his wife Sydney was the one doing the step-by-step tutorial on what Monir was doing,” said McLeod.

McLeod and his wife Arlene are the brains behind the studio. They got the inspiration on a trip to New York for their 20th anniversary where they visited a glass blowing studio and were hooked.

“(We thought) This is what we need to bring to Bay County. This is what Bay County is missing,” said McLeod.

You’re not limited to just watching the glassblowers at work, you can actually create your own piece of glass art.

“Our make your own glass workshop is roughly a 30-minute experience,” said McLeod. “You do get to get behind the glass, work one-on-one with the artist and make your own piece.”

If you’re a little worried about making a mess instead of a masterpiece, that’s all part of the process.

“I make mistakes constantly,” said Madkour. “Half of learning how to really become a good glassblower is learning how to fix those mistakes.”

Madkour said after ten years at his craft he’s still learning.

“The moment I think I’ve stopped learning is the moment I stop getting better,” said Madkour. “So I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning to be honest. I love what I do I don’t work a day in my life because the challenge is a big portion of it for me.”

But don’t let the challenge intimidate you into thinking you’ll get burned.

“You can sit in on one of my make your owns and you’ll notice like the first 5 minutes are me briefing them on safety,” said Madkour. “What’s safe to touch and what isn’t safe to touch, how to hold the tools, where to keep your hands.”

After just one try Madkour said you just might be blown away with how addicting it is and just like him, never want to stop.

“This (bench) very much feels like home,” said Madkour. “This bench is an extension of me, you know, like I know every corner of it. I know where my tools are. I could find them with my eyes closed kind of thing.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Panama City Hot Glass whether to observe or take part, you can check out their Facebook page or website at PanamaCityHotGlass.com, call them at 850-481-8974, or email Monir Madkour at PCHGdirector@gmail.com.

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