I’m a member of several Parrot Head Clubs, but my home town club is something special. So special, in fact, with its huge group of truly nice folks, that I call it “my church family…. but NOT!” The San Antonio Parrot Head Club does an out of town party/retreat every year on the Texas Gulf Coast and it’s so successful that it needs to be shared.
Around ten years ago, the SAPHC decided an out-of-town weekend was in order and they named it “Survive,” after Buffett’s rather obscure song by the same title. After a few attempts at different coastal locales, the long weekend has been held in Port Aransas, Texas for at least seven years now. Port Aransas isn’t a big place, so the host hotel is pretty much a sell out for the club. But that’s a good thing, since we bring in great music, fun competitions and basically have a blast the entire time we’re there.
The big weekend starts on a Thursday (usually right before Father’s Day) and the members trickle in to check in, pick up registration goody bags, and start the party around the hotel pool area. Grilled hamburgers and local live music get things off to a great start. The next morning, there is recently live music from a club member, breakfast tacos and more of that activity we call “partying!” The competitions begin with hotel door decorating and another contest that changes yearly – this year it was a flip flop decorating contest.
The activity still centers around the pool and before long, it’s time for more live music. The musician may be a Texas musician, but for a couple of years, we were lucky enough to have James “Sunny Jim” White play for us. As the sun goes down, the group heads to the beach for a beach bonfire party, complete with glow sticks and Trop Rock tunes.
Saturday morning most of the group heads to my “Port A” vacation home, lovingly nicknamed “The Jimmy Buffett Museum of Port Aransas” for a Bloody Mary Brunch. The Parrot Heads of Port Aransas (club) helps me with food and for about an hour and a half, close to 150 people descend on my little house.
By noon, they have returned to the host hotel to get ready to head to the sand for Beach Games and some dips in the Gulf of Mexico. By mid afternoon, there is a last and favorite competition: Blenders on the Beach. Intrepid SAPHC members come up with creative concoctions for all to taste… through the years those libations have been delicious! Then after an early evening group photo, we all assemble at the hotel pool again for the final party night with a live band. Jerry Diaz and Hannah’s Reef have had us dancing and singing along for several years now.
Sunday morning, the stalwart members gather one last time at the pool for leftover goodies – bloody marys, mimosas and finger foods. It’s time to say goodbye and tuck away memories for another year. “Survive” isn’t a designated fund-raising weekend, but by painting members’ toenails for donations and by selling “first round” libation sampling at the Blenders on the Beach event, SAPHC still collects a good amount of money to be donated to a select charity.
And this is the way we do a great, memorable weekend away. Many other clubs host tremendous events that bring in lots of dollars for charity and that’s wonderful. With SAPHC’s “Survive,” it’s about fun and fellowship within a great group of folks!