205 Harbor Place, Goodland, FL
GOODLAND — Spammy Jammy, held every June at the Little Bar in Goodland, has something to do with Spam, pajamas and warding off hurricanes. But it has more to do with an excuse for a party. After all, if you want to have a hurricane party, why wait for a hurricane?
Saturday night marked the 16th Annual Spammy Jammy, according to Little Bar manager Jenni Peters, although co-owner and festival founder Ray Bozichnik said they don’t keep count. Attendees packed the restaurant, listening to live music by John Lowbridge, followed by the Raiford Starke Band, competing in toilet paper races, and admiring the dozens of Spam creations submitted for judging.
The theory, if you can call it that, is that showing up at the Little Bar in pajamas, sculpting and consuming Spam, and imbibing alcohol in generous quantities will appease the gods — specifically Laka Ulaulekeaha La’amaoma’a, sister of Pele, goddess of the volcano — and keep the area safe from nature’s wrath in the form of hurricanes.
“We’ve been coming here for eight years,” said Richard Rekar of Naples. “The one year we got hit, maybe I didn’t drink enough.” His wife Sandy collaborated on an entry titled “Swine Flew” in the annual Spam sculpture contest.
Other offerings included Spammy Wynette proclaiming “Stand By Your Spam,” a “Pink Spamingo” sculpted by Laura Grasser of Marco Island, and “Spammy the Cocker Spamial,” entered by Sandy “Sweet as Candy” Bryson, complete with a little pink “accident.” Bryson, a two-time winner in previous years for Spamela Anderson and SpongeBob SpamPants, listed the ingredients for her piece as dog hair and, of course, Spam.
The food category, with entries some people considered edible, included Spam sliders, Spam kebabs, and a four-course meal featuring “Spamushi,” Spam en croute, and Spam in pineapple jello, prepared by Elaine Ritchie.
Through this madhouse walked judges with clipboards, rating entries against a matrix of categories with all the seeming seriousness of the Westminster Kennel Club. Contestants were not above vote rigging, however.
“We’ve been offered a lot of money, and free drinks,” confided veteran judge Peggy Koelle, making the rounds with fellow taste arbiter Larry Purvis, “but we’re good.”
The atmosphere at Spammy Jammy seemed miles away from the hard-charging, buttoned-down, businesslike face that Naples and Marco often present, with a hint of an artistic, counter-culture vibe. For anyone wondering what became of the Woodstock generation, the place to find them Saturday night was in Goodland at the Little Bar.
“If you showed this to other people, they might go ‘What?’ but I love it here — people get so creative,” said Thomas Serbu of Naples. As Raiford Starke and his three-piece band began their set, the bar was packed with revelers, and the party spilled out the front doors.
Peters, the bar manager, emceed the toilet paper races, where six ladies at a time competed to see who could unreel an entire roll of TP the fastest, and sat in with the band, belting out Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks tunes, with a promise of dancing on the bar. The staff’s idea of pajamas tended toward the Frederick’s of Hollywood look, and Sultan of Spam Ray Bozichnik was resplendent in a red fez, baggy pants and curled-toe slippers.
Like the Great Dock Canoe Race, Spammy Jammy has gathered momentum over the years, and become a local institution. The evening marks an end of season blowout for the Little Bar, with the establishment set to close for three months after this Tuesday.
If turnout and enthusiasm can really make a difference in steering hurricanes away, Goodland has a good chance of being spared this year. As partygoer David Amico summed it up, “God bless Spamerica.”
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E-mail Lance Shearer at firstname.lastname@example.org