Goodland ushers in the summer: ‘Spammy Jammy’ celebrates 40 years of the Little Bar

Lance Shearer

Memories are too fuzzy to pinpoint exactly which Spammy Jammy just happened. The end of season party at the Little Bar in Goodland, which started out on a whim and has become an institution, returned for perhaps the 27th time on Saturday evening.

But, with old legal documents and the like, it is possible to say this is the Little Bar’s 40th anniversary – or, this week at least, “Spammiversary.” At the end of June, tourist season is officially over and done, and the long hot summer has set in. “Hot” was the operative word when the Raiford Starke Band opened their set in the tiny barroom, both for the tunes and the steam room atmosphere with dozens of bodies packed into the space.

Overflow patrons enjoyed dinner in the adjacent dining room, or migrated to the back room, where the entries in the Spam contests – art and food categories. Beth Gatt made a point on her entry form that her “Spam bouquet” was an art entry, not edible flowers, with “Do not eat” scrawled prominently on the pink paper.

The Spam component of the affair references the canned food that residents are told to stock up on in the path of an oncoming hurricane. The “jammy” element refers to the sleepwear they might wear as they sit in what’s left of their home after a storm. Bringing both of these to the Little Bar, and not waiting for the hurricane to actually appear, were the genesis of Spammy Jammy 27 years ago – or was it 28?

In any event, Hayden Brisson combined those elements, and added the musical component, with “Spam Jam,” an entry in the Spam art category. Top honors, though, went to Kayleen Fagan, nine years old, for her “Spamicorn,” followed by Goodlander Judy Witwer with her “SpamWitch” and “Spammy Night,” an ambitious homage to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” executed in Spam by another preteen, Ava Cook, which took third place.

Kat Rinaldi topped the food rankings with “Spam-tinis,” which she served to partygoers in miniature Martini glasses, garnished with little Spam cubes on a skewer. Little Bar manager Angela Scalise took second place with “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s 40,” honoring the spammiversary, and Goodland resident took third with his Cuban Spamwiches.

Following Sunday’s “Spamover” after party, the Little Bar closes for the season until October, and the stone crab traps and Goodland itself bake in the sun, in what T-shirts and bumper stickers on golf carts remind us is the “drinking village with a fishing problem.”