Gulf Coast Spring Fling 2009

This gathering was dedicated to Mr. Sean Simon

All together there were 104 people, 48 trailers from 10 different states and 7 trailer manufacturer's represented. We had folks from AR, FL, IL, LA, MI, MS, NH, NM, TN and TX. The FGRV's manufacturers were Bigfoot, Casita, Eggcamper, Oliver, Scamp, Trillium, and U-Haul.

WOW” was the word that Jim Reynolds used to describe this gathering and he took the word right out of our mouths. This gathering came together as a huge group effort that all Hosts and Hostesses should be very proud of. We believe it would be very hard to have a better bunch of folks gathering in FGRV's and have a smash up time in inclement weather. We didn't notice the weather slowing anyone down. Sean would have had such a good time, and as matter of fact, we figured that all the rain dropped in the form of Sean’s tears because he could not be with us.

Thursday morning was a little laid back until ole Sarge Charlie whooped the guys into shape directing the erection of the EZ-Up shelters that Brian McWeeney and Marty Farkas brought. Around 10:30 Steve Nussenblatt and Blair McClure fired up two pits for hamburgers and hot dogs which officially started the first agenda item of the GCSF. During the cookout social Charlie and Joyce Smith started registration. Around 1 PM Shawee Simon showed up with his cooking trailer and set it up. Later that afternoon approximately 75 folks showed up at Holliers for some crawfish or just down-home Cajun food. That evening there was a large crowd of folks gathered around the two designated fire pits in the middle of Area 2. Paul and Jean McClure supplied many large bags of charcoal throughout the gathering to set the atmosphere and provide warmth and a gathering place during the cold drizzly days and nights.

Friday morning bright and early at 6 AM Jeanette McClure was up making coffee and filling the carafes, slicing the muffins and preparing the wonderful trays of food. At 7 AM Nancy and David Stimson helped clean up the gathering area and wipe everything down after the rain from the night before and Nita Farkas began serving. Everything was ready for all attendees to enjoy and Charlie Smith opened up registration. At 9 AM Pat Harko directed 10-12 ladies in making their own braided t-shirts. Phil Underwood started the washer pitching tournament at 10:30 AM and 16 registrants began a'pitchin. After the pitching tournament Shawee showed up again and we all helped him setup a huge shelter/tent for Saturday’s dinner. Bob and Pat Harko began to setup their cooking pots after noon. At 4 PM Charlie began registration, and at 5 PM all attendees came to the group gathering point toting their salad or dessert, ready to dig into Bob and Pat's jambalaya. Before everyone started eating Virginia Scott blessed our meal. Brian and Carolyn McWeeney hauled their firewood all the way from Aledo, TX and set the fire for the evening.

Saturday morning, walking in her sleep, Jeanette began making coffee and preparing the food trays. John and Verna Kropp showed up right on time at 7 AM to help clean up the gathering area from the torrential rain the night before, and at 7:30 the provisions were ready for everybody. At 8:30 AM Denise Underwood relieved Jeanette so she could enjoy the canoe trip. AT 9 AM 6 brave souls canoed the bayou with the State Park agent, and Pat Harko once again corralled more ladies to teach them how to make nice little boxes out of old greeting cards. Shortly after breakfast, the canoe trip and Pat's craft session, the Simon family showed up to prepare the grand finale Cajun meal for that evening. Sean's family that attended and kindly prepared Saturday night's meal were Billy & Mary Simon (father and mother), Shawee & Margo Simon (brother and sister in-law), Michelle Bergeron & Margo Sanders (sister and niece), and Jody & Mary Ann Simon (brother and sister in-law). At 10:30 AM Mike Foreman brought out cracklings and boudin from his local store and everyone enjoyed a little more taste of the area. At 11 AM the main event started which was Sean's Mardi Paws parade.

The Gulf Coast Spring Fling Mardi Paws Pooch Parade was a great success and lots of fun.  Twenty-seven royal dogs paraded with their entourage. The royals' people attended to their every need including dressing them in their royal wardrobes and jewels (Mardi Gras beads), and distributing the wealth by tossing baubles to the royal subjects who lined the parade route. Lovely costumes worn by the retinue added to the pageantry. Bob Harko, the second line music man, made way for the royals. The parade was led by Miss Molly, the captain, with her loyal attendants Billy and Mary Simon, parents of the founder of the Gulf Coast Spring Fling our beloved Sean. King Harley, accompanied by Ed Harris, and Queen Lily, accompanied by Joyce Smith, followed. Charlie Smith escorted the Ladies-in-Waiting Rose and Violet. The rest of the royals joyfully fell into place behind them. Tasha with her police force of Keith and Beverly Semm supplied protection and brought up the rear.  Mary Grace Roberts was the clean up crew picking up dropped trinkets and redistributing them. The royal photographers Errol Roberts and Brian McWeeney recorded the affair. At the end of the parade, all gathered for group pictures, awards, favors and a special presentation. Red, white and blue ribbons with gold, silver, and bronze medals were favors given to the king, queen, and captain along with hand made gifts supplied by Pat Harko. She also made the prizes and certificates awarded by judges Arlis and Nina Dean to: Billy and Mary Simon's Captain Miss Molly for Friendliest Pet, Ed Harris's King Harley for Most Elaborate Costume, Maurice and Jane Miller's Hunnee for Most Colorful Costume, Marty and Nita Farkas's Mimi for Prettiest Costume, Bill and Pat Burger's Alfie and Harry for Funniest Costume, John and Verna Kropp's Nicky for Best Entourage, Jim and Beverly Reynolds's Weenie for the Shortest Pet, and Keith and Beverly's Tasha for the Tallest Pet. Pages Cody and Katie Underwood helped distribute the beads and the awards. A special presentation was made to the Simon family of a card created by Charles Smith with his photograph of Sean and Miss Molly, the GCSF logo drawn by Verna Kropp, and signed by the Spring Fling attendees. Everyone was invited to attend the post parade soiree.  The table was covered with a doggie tablecloth and set with paw print napkins. A cake decorated by Carolyn Youngmeyer with a parade of little dog statues and a squeaky bone was served to the people and individual doggie bags with milk bones supplied by Sharon Stevenson was served to the royals. Youngmeyer, Mary Gowins, and Denise Underwood were hostesses for the party.  Additional Pooch Parade volunteers, who helped as needed to make signs, bundle beads, assist the royals and their people and help with the parade, include Jane McConnell, Virginia Scott, Joyce Smith, Beverly Reynolds, Jeanette McClure, Monica Wolf and Nita Farkas.  Mary Grace Roberts, Parade Marshall, wishes to thank everyone who helped with, participated in, donated to, and attended the Gulf Coast Spring Fling Pooch Parade.

Some time around late afternoon Gary Vanlith and Geary Gowins began setting up and preparing their dutch oven treats for after the gumbo dinner. At 4:30 PM sharp Jean McClure gave grace and Shawee and the Simon family began serving real Cajun gumbo and potato salad to over 100 people. Afterwards everyone enjoyed the dutch oven cobblers and Blue Bell ice cream. After dinner we began drawing names out of a hat for ten wonderful Cajun gift baskets that Mrs. Mary Simon made and donated to our gathering, and some other gifts that were donated by various folks. Brandee and Peer Kraft-Lund were presented a very nice Cajun gift basket for traveling the furthest to attend our gathering from New Hampshire.

Sunday morning Jeanette was at it again and Denise Underwood and Vicki Muller had breakfast ready to go. Mid-morning Shawee showed up and all the guys pitched in and tore down the tents, ez-up shelters and packed up the cooking trailer. Shortly after that, there were a whole bunch of hand shaking, hugs and goodbye's.

Here is a list of the many people that helped.

Michelle Bergeron

Beverly & Jim Reynolds

Nita & Marty Farkas

Mary Grace & Errol Roberts

Debbie & Mike Foreman

Margo Sanders

Mary & Geary Gowins

Virginia Scott

Pat & Bob Harko

Beverly & Keith Semms

Verna & John Kropp

Margo & Shawee Simon

Cookie & Bill Langdoc

Mary & Billy Simon

Peter Marks

Mary Ann & Jody Simon

Jean & Paul McClure

Joyce & Charlie Smith

Jeanette & Blair McClure

Sharon & Glenn Stevenson

Carolyn & Brian McWeeney

Nancy & David Stimson

Jane & Maurice Miller

Denise & Phil Underwood

Vicki & Marv Muller

Marlene & Gary Vanlith

Cynthia & Steve Nussenblatt

Carolyn & Jim Youngmeyer

Dot and Frank Parkos

Sincere thanks to everyone that helped and attended.

Blair & Jeanette McClure


Gulf Coast Spring Fling Picture Slide Show with Sean Simon

Gulf Coast Spring Fling Mardi Paws Parade

Gulf Coast Spring Fling