Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Blue Rooster, NOT So Boring!

Sarasota, FL        High:   85      Low:   68

The last couple of days have been kinda slow, but not this evening! We are starting to follow our friend Steve Arvey, the talented blues guitarist around town at various venues...He and his significant other, Rebecca Bird, are an awesome vocal duo as well, and they perform together and/or separately all over the place! Tonight they were at the Blue Rooster...The Blue Rooster is another awesome venue/bar/club to hear great musical talent of all kinds in Sarasota. It's as cool outside as it is inside. Here Eldy is checking out a sculpture of horns just outside the big doors...He's looking to see if any of the horns were made by his instrument company, Blessings Music. Unfortunately, he didn't see one in the bunch.
Sparky liked the Coke tailed rooster out front of the club, too.
And Steve's red shoes that were cool like wingtips and red shirt....Here he's taking a phone call before coming in and playing.

It's AMAZING to us the number of places you can go to hear wonderful jazz, the symphony, blues and rock and roll bands here in Sarasota...Many older musicians have retired here, and they continue to play which means Sarasota is loaded with musical talent and there's something going on every single night of the week! It's really hard to decide where you want to go hear some great music! Tonight, George Worthmore, a terrific guitar picker, ragtime and blues player was doing a recording session at the Blue Rooster, and Steve and Rebecca were there, too to perform with him.....There were a couple of gals who sang with George that were just awesome and had some serious vocal chops....We didn't catch their names, sorry to say....

We had a wonderful time listening to George and friends.....George's guitar picking reminded Sparky of Chet Atkins.....He was GOOD!

It was fun to see how live recording sessions go. When we first got there, they had the crowd practice clapping and cheering, while testing out the mikes. The inside of the club is very cool.....

The food is wonderful, too! Eldy had some CHICKEN biscuit sliders with red pepper jam and sorghum butter....
Sparky had a wedge salad with marinated shallots....Delish!
And of course, Sparky had to try some dessert as the food was wonderful. Here's a strawberry something with strawberry mousse, fresh strawberries, sauce, and pound cake....It had some kind of little strawberry crunchies on it that were almost like Fruit Loops!

The singers that performed with George were fantastic!

George's guitar pickin' was fantastic, too! Did we say we heard some fantastic music tonight! Yep, we sure did! It was great to see Steve play with George.....

We will DEFINITELY be back to the Blue Rooster another time!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another Boring Day!

Sarasota, FL        High:  85       Low:   68

When you are winding down and thinking about leaving soon (about ten days), you tend to SL-O-O-O-W down on your activities, at least we do!  We're starting to think about doing some deep cleaning of the rig, some polishing, some moving stuff around to store better for a trip....Eldo has seen Sparky's craft corner creep towards taking up the entire window shelf by the dinette. First, she had a small basket. Then it was TWO baskets, then it was a bigger basket, then a BOX. THAT'S not good! Eldo is worried about Sparky's burgeoning craft supplies taking over the rig! Sparky kept the picture small so it doesn't look so bad, haha!

All that stuff will ROLL big time driving down the road, so Sparky has to get her act in gear and clean house. Now, the dilemma! Where the heck is she gonna put all that stuff?  (You mean all that JUNK! says an exasperated E.)  Not sure, but she's gonna work on it this week...

Another boring day for our readers? We hope not...but that's the way it is sometimes when you are just relaxing and taking it easy, for a change! We've been hanging out at the pool occasionally..."Noodling" as the grandkids say...Sparky takes her noodle down to the pool and then you just hang out on it for an hour and talk to anybody who happens to talk to you! There aren't too many friends left in the park to talk to at the pool, they've all gone home! It sure is a beautiful outdoor pool!

This morning we headed to the Broken Egg for breakfast, we usually go there about once a week...It's one of our faves as you can tell by the smile on Eldy's face.

Not the best breakfast for you, but it is for Sparky! The potatoes--YUM!--at least three different kinds, with sweet potato chunks and purple potatoes as two of the kinds, and with onions and green peppers. They are wonderful!
After breakfast, we have a little tradition of driving around Lakewood Ranch where the Broken Egg is located, to the lakes to look for birds and gators....Not much happening today...

The rest of the day was spent doing a little driving around more neighborhoods in the area, checking out open houses....Sparky likes to look at decor, just to get ideas of what's out there...It seems like such a LONG time since we've had our homes, that it's fun to look to see what the trends are here in Florida. After we got back, we noticed that Lazy Days has set up camp in Sun 'n' Fun with about ten rigs. Ever heard of a Palazzo? We hadn't! But there's one here.....
Guess they thought with a rally of over 200 coaches coming in to the park this week, they would bring in some coaches to drum up a little business! Forgot to note which manufacturer has this one.....

This was an American Coach...It looked really pretty on the outside.....There wasn't a salesperson available when Sparky was out riding her bike looking at them, but Spark has no business looking at one anyway! We have a really nice coach! (Tiffin Phaeton 40 foot QTH in case anybody is curious!)
Wonder if they will do any sales here?

Sun 'n' Fun is hosting a big rally this week...They've done an awesome job of getting over 200 coaches into the park in a timely manner...Today was the first official day of the rally, and they were just a rollin' in one right after another....

Wonder if Sparky and Eldo will have anything going on tomorrow? We think we will! Check back and see......

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sparky Goes to Class

Sarasota, FL        High:  87       Low:   64

It was a beautiful morning this morning...Sparky rode her bike along the road by the lake to the pickleball courts. The old knees are glad it's the weekend. Sparky has played just about every day this week. She saw the clouds reflected below in the lake...A couple of BIG leatherback turtles plopped back in the water when Sparky rode by. They didn't want their photos taken. The ducks didn't care....Sparky had to use her camera phone to get a picture.
There was a BIG splash ahead of her, but she missed the alligator that had just been sunning himself on the bank, someone just ahead of her on their way to the courts reported! First time inside the park that Sparky knew of an alligator! In five months time, she has never seen one in the lake inside the park, and she just missed it today. He'll probably continue to stay sight unseen mostly underwater as hot as the weather has been. Sparky and a fellow pickleball player compared notes about gator experiences. Sparky told her about Shark Valley, the 17 mile bike ride down in the Everglades where gators sun themselves right on the bike path as you ride by. The gal told Sparky about an air boat tour that she took her grandsons on. The tour operator said that sometimes they reach over the sides of the boat and knock on the side of the boat and they can get the gators to come and investigate. This particular boat operator from Captain Doug's gator boat tours, reached over tap on the side of the boat, not realizing there was a gator submerged right by his hand. The gator reached up and CHOMP! took part of his hand off. True story! according to her.....Don't do that in a kayak, Sparky cautions....

A couple of weeks ago, Sparky took a class in how to make a leather wrapped bracelet, and failed miserably. It was a case of the instructor not helping a beginner use the right materials appropriately. No written directions were provided, and it just wasn't a good plan for a beginner class on the part of the store. Sparky walked out of class having spent a LOT of money on a class plus expensive shop materials and no bracelet to show for it. So she decided to try another shop....Donna's Beads on Beneva Rd. in Sarasota. They kindly agreed to let Sparky bring her materials she had already purchased from the other shop, and just pay for the class. How nice was that?! SUCCESS! At least getting underway and accomplishing something using a different method.....Great instructors...nice people, and a warm welcoming, enthusiastic, patient atmosphere...It's really important to have a great learning atmosphere with patient teachers, as former teacher Sparky can attest. To see what Sparky did today, head over to Millie's Girls, Sparky's craft blog.

The rest of the day Sparky crafted, started reading the book, The Round House by Louise Erdrich. It's the story of a woman who was viciously attacked (not described) on an Indian reservation, and her 13 year old son and his friends try to find the killer. It's a tale of injustice, of prejudice, of coming of age...It's on best seller lists....interesting so far...

Eldy watched the NFL draft this evening, and Sparky read blogs and crafted.

We'll see what tomorrow brings....Bye for now......

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Countdown.....

Sarasota, FL         High:  86     Low:   65
Surfer bus spotted on Anna Maria Island
We have extended our stay at Sun 'n' Fun for one more week...We're just  not ready to leave the state quite yet! But we WILL be leaving for Houston in about another week...Sparky's daughter,  Kerry, is in a vintage bathing suit beauty contest in mid May. It's called the Galveston Island Beach Revue. It began in the summer of 1920 and kicks off the summer tourist season each year. By 1928, it was so popular, the island's population tripled on the event weekend. This island pageant was the foundation for the start of the Miss Universe contest, or so they say..It's a long standing tradition, and Kerry is in it!...Should be a lot of fun! AND, Sparky gets to see her little grandson, who's almost a year old, and has been walking since ten months. Now, he's running! And getting into LOTS of mischief! Kerry is sharing almost daily stories of his antics...like getting into a jar of Vaseline off the dresser from his crib.

In the meantime, we are playing pickleball...Yep, Sparky said "WE". Eldo is out there playing, too! Only a few more days remain before the rest of the die hard pickleball players leave Sun 'n' Fun. So we have been going down every day during the week to get a few games in.

Today was Eldo's haircut day...Sparky did a number on him! Actually, it looks pretty decent--you should have seen Sparky's scruffy guy BEFORE the haircut! We don't have that haircutting gizmo, the Flowbee, but just ordinary barber clippers.
Sparky made a trip to Hobby Lobby.....ALWAYS a fun time!

We made a trip to Mi Pueblo, there are THREE of them in the Sarasota area...yet another great meal in a pretty atmosphere.

Sparky had tacos camarones--shrimp tacos with MANGO salsa....YUM! Eldy had a ground beef burrito. He likes the shredded beef ones better.

Excellent, fast service, and great food! Highly recommended! We'll see you later!

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Pickleball Primer

Sarasota,  FL      High:  87      Low:   64

If you aren't interested in physical activity, it's time to skip the blog for today! Today's blog is all about pickleball! So many people have been asking, "What is pickle ball?" Sparky thought she'd do a little primer today, all about the game.....There are a LOT of pickleball players at Sun 'n' Fun....Or there WERE...Many of them have headed for homes up north, but Sparky is managing to get a few games in these last few days here at Sun 'n' Fun....

First, what in the world is pickleball? It's an indoor or outdoor racket sports/net game played on a shorter court than a tennis court, more like a badminton sized court and with a slightly lower net than a tennis court. The net is 36" on the sides, and 34" in the middle. The court dimensions are 20' X 44' for both singles and doubles, but a little extra room is recommended for player movement, so if the court can be 22' by 46', that's even better. For all practical purposes, the court looks like a tennis court. It's an easy game to learn and anybody from very young to very senior can play it! You play with special paddles and balls that look like this:

The paddles are made out of wood or in the pricier ones, high tech/aerospace materials. The ball used is similar to a wiffle ball, but is a little smaller. The outdoor pickleballs have large and small holes, the indoor balls have all the same size holes.

The lower net and wiffle ball make the game more accessible to all ages and abilities. In addition to the size of the court and type of ball, the rules make the game more accessible and fun for everyone. In tennis, when you serve, the game points are often won by the power of the serve. In pickleball, the serve is an underhand hit, and the ball must bounce one time on each side before you can volley. You can still ace a serve, but the underhand encourages a more gentler serve that's usually easier to return.

A quick overview of the rules: The game is played to 11 points and you must win by 2 points. Here's a link to the basic rules...http://pickleball.com/pages/rules-how-to-play-the-game

But if you are like Sparky, it sounds complicated on paper reading it, and it really isn't. The best way to learn the rules of pickleball is to get out and play! Sparky heard this morning on the pickleball courts that there are 120 pickleball courts in The Villages in Florida. That's that HUGE master planned community with a bazillion activities and cookie cutter houses all sandwiched together with different communities within the big community, and entertainment in the town squares 365 days a year. (Take a deep breath, Sparky! cautions E.) AND a bazillion classes and clubs...But it's not for us....once you get out of The Villages, there's nothing around that big ole community, it's located towards the center of the state.

(Uh, Sparky?....FOCUS! Get back to pickle ball!) Well, that just about wraps it up...to see the strategy of the game and how it's played, it's best to go to YouTube and watch pickleball games. All Sparky can tell you is, she's played with lots of players of all varying abilities these past few weeks, and over 50% of the players have had 1) knee surgeries, 2) hip replacement 3) back surgeries, and some hobble around like they can barely walk, or they weigh a LOT, and they can STILL play this game. It's a great sport and Sparky has played great players in their seventies here as well!
from the internet
Another great benefit of playing regular games of pickleball....Sparky can tell that her fat is being redistributed...she's not losing a lot of weight, but she can see her cheekbones now, and some tummy fat has disappeared or moved elsewhere, so she knows this is good exercise for her. Those of you who are THINKING about trying it, you really need to! It is a lot of fun. Everybody at Sun 'n' Fun enjoys playing the game for fun, and they are wonderful about welcoming newbie players. Sparky is going to have pickleball withdrawal when she leaves Florida, heading for TX, that's for sure!

Buh-bye for now......

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ho Hum!

Sarasota, FL       High:  85       Low:   65
A great motto for a Floridian!
Not much going on, folks! Sorry! Sparky has been making breast cancer people pins like crazy, because she got a nice order from the folks at Anytime Fitness in Goshen, IN....Laundry has come due yet once again.....If Sparky cooked, she could share recipes, but as you all know, she doesn't! Cook much, that is! (She should have left it at "doesn't"! says a wishful E.) Well, she does fix breakfast and occasional lunches, so she's not completely neglecting her household duties....Sparky's idea of a breakfast at home is leftover pizza and a Coke, so you can see she is DEFINITELY cuisine challenged!  We know Sherry and Karen are wincing right now....That's why Sparky plays so much pickleball, so she can have her pizza and Coke, too! Sparky does make a great imitation McDonald's Egg McMuffin sandwich. She uses one of these cute little microwave dishes, a Nordic Ware "Egg 'n' Muffin" cup to make the perfect one egg round to fit on the English muffin. She picked this little dish up at Camping World for about five or seven bucks.

The English muffins have to be BAY'S English muffins, no other one will do! That was the brand Sparky grew up with and has always loved. A slice of Canadian bacon --which is not as bad for you as bacon or sausage, right?  A slice of cheese, and one egg microwaved for one minute in the Nordic Ware dish,  plop it all on the muffin and it's delicious!

What's weird about Sparky is, she collects recipes...SERIOUSLY! She has a whole BIG file folder full of them in the RV. And she buys recipe book collections from the grocery store on a fairly regular basis. WHY??????!!!!!!! Eldo wants to know! Well, because SOME DAY (don't hold your breath) when we come off the road and have a decent sized kitchen, Sparky just MIGHT get back into the cooking scene. Notice she said MIGHT.....  :-)   She just likes thinking and reading about combinations of ingredients, watching occasional food shows, and thinking about how good a recipe might taste. Sometimes she will even occasionally cook recipes from Publix, because they are fast and easy, so not all hope is lost. Eldy is still hoping.....   :-)   Now, before someone says, well, Eldy, you could take over the cooking if you enjoy it, we have to say, Eldy really doesn't know how to cook...But he does manage a great grill. AHA! Sparky will figure out how to cook EVERYTHING on the grill, and problem solved! Cooking duties transferred! Piece of cake, so to speak....Eldy's not worried, and he says,

(Dream on, woman...)

Did anything else happen today? Yeah...Sparky saw a little boy wandering through Sun 'n' Fun's Welcome Center parking lot with NO PARENT anywhere around! That's a busy parking lot with lots of people going in and out of the park in vehicles. Sparky's newly honed grandma busybody/nosey skills kicked in.  He was about four years old, and spoke a foreign language. Sparky wasn't sure if the language was French, but he was definitely lost and trying to find his parents. She rode quickly to the office and told them about the little guy wandering across the parking lot. Together, with a young park employee, we corralled the little guy, her walking and Sparky on the bike...It wasn't easy. He wasn't going to take her hand and come with her willingly to the office...He was bound and determined to find his parents, but was getting more scared by the minute. When Sparky saw him run away from the park employee as she approached, she rode her bike over to where he was and cobbled together some words in French about his mom, his house....He stopped and let us take his hand at that point. We sat him down next to what we thought was his rig, knocked on the door, but nobody was home. The neighbor across the street said his parents were at the pool. How he got away from them, nobody knows, but she went to get his parents and inform them their son was out in the parking lot! Scary! It turns out the dad was Swiss/German, and he didn't seem too perturbed that his little son had gotten away from him. He wasn't upset in the least! Sparky would have been almost hysterical if it had been her son!

All's well at Sun 'n' Fun...a happy ending to another beautiful day here in Sunny Sarasota.........

sandhill cranes spotted all over town in neighborhoods

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Did You Know?

Sarasota, FL       High:   85    Low:  65

It's National Park Week, April 20-28th. Free admission to your national parks from April 22-April 26th. It's been awhile since we've been in a national park. There are 401 parks coast to coast, so most people are not too far from being able to visit one.

After almost three years of traveling this beautiful country, we wanted to share our absolutely favorite national parks of the ones we have visited....We haven't seen a lot of them, like the Drevlow family the park service posted on Facebook this week, who has visited more than 200 national parks and earned 1,696 junior ranger badges!  But here are the ones that stand out in our minds....
Deer Brook Bridge, Acadia National Park
1.) Acadia National Park...Mt. Desert Island, Maine....We spent seven weeks in the Bar Harbor area last summer. It was fabulous. Sparky rode many of Acadia's carriage roads on her bike, got lost on some, and repeated rides on others, they were so beautiful. With all the wonderful stone architecture that's there, it's one of the most interesting parks and "classic" national parks, we think.....It's all about 20th century visions for future generations, and it's hand hewn stone bridges are spectacular!

2.) Yellowstone National Park....the world's largest collection of geysers and America's first national park established in 1987...We loved Yellowstone's rainbow colored pools of hot water and microscopic plant life that give the pools their colors....

3.) Yosemite National Park...waterfalls, waterfalls waterfalls! And hiking, hiking, hiking!

4.) The Everglades....

In addition, we've been to Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park (with the famous Red Bus Tour), the Grand Tetons (moose!), the Badlands, Mammoth Cave National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Olympia National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sequoia National Park, Gulf Islands Seashore National Park, and the Everglades National Park (gators on the sidewalk bike trail at Shark Valley!) When we look back at our blogs and photos, thinking about all these places, we've amazed at the diversity within our country and amazed that we saw all these! 
Did you know…America’s national parks include more than:
  • 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures
  • 17,000 miles of trails
  • 43,000 miles of shoreline
  • 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures
  • 100 million museum items
  • 12,000 campsites
This country is a pretty spectacular place to explore some amazing geology, history, and culture. We hope that if you are thinking about RVing and traveling, you'll make it a reality! In case you want to know where all the parks are, here's a handy dandy chart of the parks in the U.S.
StateNational ParkYear Established
Alaska (8)Denali1917
Gates of the Arctic1980
Glacier Bay1980
Kenai Fjords1980
Kobuk Valley1980
Lake Clark1980
Wrangell - St. Elias1980
American SamoaAmerican Samoa1988
Arizona (3)Grand Canyon1919
Petrified Forest1962
ArkansasHot Springs1921
California (8)Channel Islands1980
Death Valley1994
Joshua Tree1994
Kings Canyon1940
Lassen Volcanic1916
Colorado (4)Black Canyon of the Gunnison1999
Great Sand Dunes2004
Mesa Verde1906
Rocky Mountain1915
Florida (3)Biscayne1980
Dry Tortugas1992
Hawaii (2)Haleakala1916
Hawaii Volcanoes1916
KentuckyMammoth Cave1941
MichiganIsle Royale1940
Montana (2)Glacier1910
NevadaGreat Basin1986
New MexicoCarlsbad Caverns1930
North CarolinaGreat Smoky Mountains1934
North DakotaTheodore Roosevelt1978
OhioCuyahoga Valley2000
OregonCrater Lake1902
South CarolinaCongaree2003
South Dakota (2)Badlands1978
Wind Cave1903
TennesseeGreat Smoky Mountains1934
Texas (2)Big Bend1944
Guadalupe Mountains1966
U.S. Virgin IslandsVirgin Islands1956
Utah (5)Arches1971
Bryce Canyon1928
Capitol Reef1971
Washington (3)Mount Rainier1899
North Cascades1968
Wyoming (2)Grand Teton1929
And here's a cute story from the National Park Service FB page, one of their favorite letters from a young, impressionable future conservationist, maybe?

Here's a great story from Yosemite!
The rangers that answer the phone and mail in our public information office receive a lot of letters, but this might be one of the best in recent years.

(Text of the letter:
Dear Park Rangers
I am a Yosemite Junior Ranger. I went to Yosemite recently and accidentally brought home two sticks.
I know I'm not supposed to take things from the park, so I am sending them back. Please put them in nature.

Thank you,

Happy National Park Week! and happy, safe travels to you, wherever you are!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ordinary Days are Piling Up

Sarasota, FL      High:   86     Low:   53

We have eight days left here in Sarasota......We've done just about most things we wanted to do...Hard to believe we have been here almost a full five months! WOW! Where did the time go? We missed seeing a polo match, the season ended in early April. We'll catch that next time...

Sparky spent the morning playing pickleball. It's getting harder to find people down at the courts! We're getting desperate for warm bodies to play, so this morning, Sparky offered to chase balls for a bit for a fellow practicing his killer serves until somebody else showed up. Eventually, we had three sets of couples playing doubles going, so that was great. Eldy missed the Siesta Key college beach volleyball tournament this past weekend. Well, phooey! He thought Sparky deliberately didn't mention it, :-) but nope! Sparky just didn't see info about it until after the fact.

Laundry today.....Sparky signed up for a beading class later this week..She's gonna give that leather wrap bracelet another chance...She wants to make one similar to this:
We went to Jazz Jam at Ocean Blues in downtown Sarasota, one last time this week....Every Monday night at the Ocean Blues Club on Hillview Street from 8:00-11:00, a great group of musicians get together and jam! Usually new singers and drummers show up, and other musicians, so the mix is never quite the same. It's fun, the music is great, and they have good food besides. Can't beat that combination! Both the entertainers and the owner, Scott, are so friendly and welcoming to everyone who visits the club. Scott even reads our blog!

Sparky got the pizza...It's m-m-m-m-m-good! Eldy had pretzels...fresh and delicious! Our favorite guys were there.....Shane Chalke, the trumpet player....He was having valve trouble with his trumpet tonight...So he came and plopped it right down on our table, chatted with us while he lubricated the valves and he was good to go again...We talked about North Carolina, where he's from, Eldy's job making trumpets and trombones, Sarasota culture (there's a TON of it here), and lots of other things....

He is ONE fine trumpet player!

Ocean Blues is such a cool bar and grill! We love the atmosphere....It's cozy...The low lighting is conducive to listening to great music--jazz or blues...
They have entertainment just about every night of the week....
Oh, wait a minute! That's the pretty impressive beer list! Here's the entertainment list...Did Sparky say they have music every night of the week? Yeah, baby!
Our favorite guitarist is usually there on Monday nights--Steve Arvey....He had a PURPLE guitar tonight. He broke a string, so here he comes to our table, plops down the guitar and fixes it right in front of us. "How many guitars do you have, Steve?"  "Oh, probably about 30. I could buy a house if I sold all my guitars!"
Nice guitar! He said he bought this purple guitar back in the day when he played with a band with a bunch of girls, and everything had to be purple. Sparky can't remember the name of the band, but it was a funny one!
Steve did a great job playing tonight, and always gets excited when a new talent shows up at the Jam Sessions who is really really good. A woman by the name of "Nancy", showed up and did she have some vocal chops! Steve's expression when she started belting out a song, was one of pure joy, that's how good she was!

Some more great players were there and are usually there every Monday...Steve Rolland on trumpet, Ed Kinder on keyboards and sax, Brian Post on drums, and man, Bryan did a fantastic job on a song that we heard as we were heading out the door. He sounded a LOT like Louis Armstrong! But it was getting late, and we needed to get home. We'll be back next Monday night, Sparky is sure!

Monday, April 22, 2013

BBQ and Bluegrass Bash

Sarasota, FL      High:  85     Low:   67

Sounds like a great combination, doesn't it?  Lots of BBQ, chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Fifty championship BBQ teams.  Let's offer $15,000 in cash prizes. Let's throw in a chili cook off even though it's HOT, HOT, HOT! Thirty different chili teams! How about a dessert bake off, to determine who has the best desserts in Southwest Florida? Let's have some bagpipes. And let's hear some bluegrass! Entertainment by the 2012 Recipients of the International Bluegrass Music Association for the best instrumental group, the best banjo player, and the best mandolin player, THE BOXCARS. And everything except for the food is FREE! Woo-hoo! It's the 4th Annual Suncoast BBQ Bash!  It had a little bit of everything.. Outdoor living booths, community corner, where Venice's businesses are offering products and services.... Muscle cars....
Crazy vendor stands.....Seriously, this is one crazy lady...Crazy like a fox! Or a bison head! Lots of folks checking out this stand....
You like your chili spicy hot? Sparky says, NOT! But she sampled some great chili that wasn't so spicy with four kinds of meat, and four kinds of beans today..(I'm gonna make sure I batten down the covers tonight! laughs E.)..Eldy's stomach doesn't always handle greasy or spicy food, so he passed on the some of the more tantailizing deep fat fried food, like the Oreos, and amazingly, Sparky did, too! Everything deep fat fried...Ugh!  Or...  Yum! Depending on your opinion and dietary preferences....
But Eldy did try some chili....so-so....he said....It was hot enough to make him sweat! The weather, that is.....

Lots and LOTS of BBQ choices....looked like some award winning stuff at the different stands...pulled pork, ribs of all kinds, and southern food to go with it. They even had gator tail....Sparky eyed the deep fried key lime cheesecake, but was a good girl and passed on it....
After Sparky saw this, she kinda lost her appetite for anything pork.....
How about this name for a BBQ joint?
They had a cornhole tournament going on, officially sanctioned by the American Cornhole Association. Bet you never knew there was one! We didn't!...Thought that was mainly an Indiana "Hoosier" thing! But here it is in Venice, FL. This guy is pretty confident of his skills at corn hole. If you haven't seen this game, it's just throwing beanbags at a slanted wooden stand with holes in it. Not much to it, but it's fun.
Everything related to grilling and BBQ was there...Grills....smokers, etc., and rigs devoted to the topic.
The sheriff's department was there with some robot demonstrations...

We ate, we wandered, we watched a little entertainment, and then we headed home.....Another nice day in Paradise!