MARCO ISLAND — With hurricane season underway, and one wet and windy weekend to prove it, can Spammy Jammy be far behind?
This Saturday evening, Goodland, the "drinking village with a fishing problem," will once again host "Spammy Jammy," a lighthearted end of season blowout that improbably has become an area institution. While on the surface, Spammy Jammy may seem to be all about raucous fun, loud music and strong drink, this is a gathering with a serious purpose, according to Little Bar co-owner Ray Bozicnik.
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 and keep the area safe from nature's wrath in the form of hurricanes. Bozicnik took full credit for Collier County escaping the brunt of Tropical Storm Debby.
"It knew we were coming, and it's running from us," he said. This Saturday marks the 383rd occurrence of Spammy Jammy, according to Ray, although "to be honest, we're having so much fun, we never know for sure." A check of the records marks 2012 as the 20th running of the event. Spammy Jammy marks the end of the season for the Little Bar; the restaurant closes for the summer soon afterwards, although they will be open for "Spamover" on Sunday.
If tradition holds, a restaurant packed with people in their nighties will party the night away, listening to the sounds of John Lowbridge, starting at 6 p.m., and the Raiford Starke "All-Spam" Band, taking the stage at 9 p.m. The jammies tend toward the whimsical for the guys, and the slightly scandalous for the ladies, and you never know what Ray Bozicnik will show up in. He did confide that he has been paying attention to Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, to whom he bears a certain resemblance, and that could be a fashion cue.
"Everybody has their eye on the economy. People are concerned about what may happen, and 'Uncle Spam' is very important," he said, with financial storms joining atmospheric disturbances as causes for concern locally.
One aspect of the evening brings out the inner ham, or rather Spam, in local sculptor wanna-bees. The sculpture contest typically draws a wild collection of Spam sculptures, which will be on display during the event. There is a straight sculpture category, and another of concoctions considered to be edible, depending how you feel about America's favorite pork shoulder-based processed meat.
Previous sculpture entries have included a "pink Spamingo," a cocker "Spamiel" complete with a little pink accident, "Brocc O'Spama," a likeness of the President with broccoli hair, a well-endowed "Spamela Anderson," and "Sponge Bob Spam Pants." Themes are often "ripped from the headlines," as well as the feverish imaginations of the competitors.
The food category in past years has included classics such as Spam sliders, Spam kebabs, Spam cookies, and Elaine Ritchie's four-course meal featuring "Spamushi," Spam en croute, and Spam in pineapple Jello.
New this year is the "Spam cam" booth, an old-fashioned instant photo setup that will let celebrants take pictures of themselves and spit out instant prints. The toilet paper races, a Spammy Jammy tradition, will happen periodically through the evening, said Bozicnik.