Monday, September 10, 2012

Treasure Coast Pirate Fest 2012 - Stuart

Caribbean Pearl
 I have often stated that I write this blog for my friends and family. Now that my Blogger counter is telling me I have 70,000 hits this year, I think I may be getting a few fans too. Even with that minor success, I still like to try new things and invite my friends and family to do them with me. This weekend's exploration - the 5th annual Treasure Coast Pirate Fest in Stuart Florida.

Captain Hook
I have not been to this festival before but heard it's been growing and needed a new venue this year - the Martin County Fair Grounds. It appeared most visitors were bringing their children but I did the next best thing and brought my parents who live in the area. And my camera.

I have gotten to know a few of the performers this year so to add to my fun, (maybe not theirs) I had Mom and Dad pose with various characters from the South Florida Pirates and Treasure Coast Pirates. If you are not familiar with these groups, click on their links (the bold text) and get to know them. They do various events and festivals, raise money for children's charities, and other good deeds not always mentioned in pirate lore.

Lassie Lyons of Pirates for Sail
I have been going to pirate themed events a long time and two of my favorite pirates,  Caribbean Pearl and Captain Hook were only too happy to make my parents feel like part of the show. Speaking of shows, the Treasure Coast Pirate Fest had several bands playing continuously during the day. My favorite band was one I've never heard before - Pirates for Sail. I'll be enjoying them for a while as I was so impressed with the music, and especially the fiddle playing of Lassie Lyons, I bought their CD. They are not a local band and this show was the farthest south they had been from their home port of Baltimore. I added a video (not mine) so you can get an idea of what the festival music was like.

Larry Rabin up to his new tricks
Mom remembered Larry Rabin, a 20 year veteran of South Florida festivals . She came "this close" to being pulled up on the stage of the Hopeless Romantic show a few years back. What's Larry been up to lately? Well about 10 feet in this picture but he also told me about his latest project. I will be sure to report on it in a future post.

So have you had enough of the family photos? Then click here to head over to my Flickr site and see the rest of my event photos. Great food, continuous shows, shopping under cover out of the blazing hot sun, and fun for the kids including a costume contest. I'm not sure how you make memories with your family and friends but this is how I make them with mine.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

 Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
According to the Lighthouse website, there are 31 or so lighthouses in Florida. After reviewing the list I'm surprised at how many I've seen over the years from Pensacola, to St Augustine, to Key West. Even more surprised at how many I've climbed. Nearly all the ones available to the public.

One of my favorites is the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Beautiful, brick, lighthouses were built for only a short moment in time in this country and will never be built again. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was a  technological and logistical wonder for it's time in the 1850's. Falling into disrepair, this lighthouse was rescued and restored in 2000. I visited soon after for the first time but forgot my camera. I promised myself I would return one day and finally kept that promise last weekend - camera in hand.

This is probably the easiest lighthouse to visit in one of the most stunning locations in Florida. It is hard to believe this lighthouse was built in the wilderness as an outpost. Now it's dead center in some of the highest priced real estate in Florida. Not only is the lighthouse fully restored, there is a nice little museum included in the admission price. If you are not interested in that, bring a lawn chair and watch the boats, kayaks, and paddle boarders pass by.

I am pretty proud of my photos from this trip and I have them posted on Flickr. Take a look and let me know what you think. Even better, if your have photos of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse you are proud of, post a link in the comments.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Full Moon Drum Circle - Hollywood

I have often made the comment that Hollywood needs more regularly scheduled events to revitalize downtown. In true Hollywood style they now have one but it's scheduled randomly each month on the night of the full moon. The Full Moon Drum Circle has been a steadily growing event since it's start about a year ago. This is my first time participating mostly because I think about it usually after I notice the full moon. This month I planned a little better. It didn't hurt that I had a constant reminder of the "Blue Moon" during the week, it was a Friday night, and the weather was perfect after our near miss with Hurricane Issac. 

I work near downtown and live out West so the first stop - Mickey Byrne's Irish Pub to fuel up and meet some friends. I actually didn't plan to meet anyone. They just happened to be there. That happens more often than not and that's why I like to start my evening there. 
The Drum Circle started around 7:30 and there were about 50 or so participants. Ages ranged from baby to advanced years and every age in between. Same with the instruments. Hand drums, snare, box, shakers, bells, spoons, buckets, and even two Australian Didgeridoos. I didn't think to bring a drum but not to be left out, someone loaned me one. That someone happened to be one of the Taiko Drum performers who did a show the week before at the Morikami for the Bon Festival. Pretty exciting considering I missed that event because of bad weather. After the moon popped up I thought the show was about done so I returned my borrowed instrument and headed over to the Arts Park stage for some cool jazz.

I spoke with one of the city staffers and learned they are hosting a wide variety of music now. Jazz, Rock, Reggae, whatever. Just check the  events page to see what's showing. After an hour of Jazz I was ready to head out only to find the drum circle was in full swing and even more drummers had arrived.

I spoke with one of the promoters from Resurrection Drums and he told me there are other full moon drum circles in South Florida but they are loosely organized and don't have a dedicated location. This is the only one sponsored by a city. The city even provides chairs for the participants. All they need is to get the word out to really grow the event. I know some of my regular readers are fellow bloggers so maybe that will happen. 

I realize some of you out there like your regularly scheduled events on a regular schedule. Well Hollywood has a few of those also in and around the Arts Park Downtown. The Miami Food Truck Invasion every Monday from 5:30 to 9:00 and Funtastic Fridays - an activity event for the little ones every Friday 5:00 to 9:00 just to name two. These events are a great excuse to visit Hollywood for the first time or to keep you coming back. Once you walk around downtown a bit, you will no doubt find something else that will bring you back for some random future visit of your own.

Full Moon Drum Circle - Hollywood