Brits on the Bay — get ready!
by Richard Lewis
PENSACOLA, Fla. — The premier automobile event of the northwest Florida car clubs’ season is just around the corner. It doesn’t seem possible, but the “Brits on the Bay” show is just a little more than a month away. Yes, we have been frantically planning for this event since about July, but now it seems to be approaching with all the speed of a runaway train. It certainly proves the old adage that, “All events are closer than they appear in the rear-view mirror.”
The best planning in the world cannot provide for the vagaries of weather, as we learned during the 2015 show. Dark clouds amassed the day before the show and did not dissipate, despite the most fervent wishes and prayers.
We had everything in place — Friday events and the fabled, greatly expanded Friday Night Beans and Rice Party, and on show day, the Not Quite Fab Beatles tribute band, the best food possible, lots of wonderful raffle and auction prizes, multiple awards, and on and on. We had about one hundred and thirty pre-registrants, with more typically coming in on show day for an event that promised to exceed in splendor our previous year’s show.
Everything converged, except the weather. Friday was damp, but not debilitating, and things went well. But we had a foretaste of Saturday’s coming tsunami, for our crowd for the Friday party, which had grown geometrically over the years, was distinctly smaller.
Saturday loomed dark, and despite the foreboding weather, cars started to arrive. Rain came, not in battalions but in platoons. The skies sputtered but failed to release their full weapons of destruction, and still cars came. By the time the noon bell rung, we had about seventy-five cars, about half of our usual quota. Hearty, courageous souls, all.
Still, everyone soldiered on, with a few tarps and tops going up, but most able to enjoy the music, the food, the raffles and auctions, the awards, and the fun. And while the crowd was smaller, it was one full of energy. Rain there was, but the deluge never came. Very few didn’t last the entire day.
By the end of the day, everyone agreed that despite Odin’s thunder and Thor’s hammer we had had a good time, making enough money to allow us to present a surefire show for 2016.
The fun begins with our April 15th events, now being finalized, our Red Beans and Rice Party, with its cornucopia of gustatory delights, and of course, on Saturday, April 16th, the best of all possible Brits on the Bay shows. Perfect weather is guaranteed, ironclad, because Your Loyal Correspondent will not wash his car.
March 1 — Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza, followed by the Show Committee meeting. As usual, the Crowne Plaza provided a great breakfast, even if we had to pay for it afterwards by the hard work of planning for the April 15-16 Brits on the Bay show. Still, it is work worth the effort and pays off always with a well-prepared-for show. As always, Tom Schmitz led us in our efforts.
March 11-13 — Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance took place, with the highest of the high-end cars available for the proletariat to lust over and know that, short of the next revolution, they will never own one. We’ll hear more from attendees in the near future.
March 16 — PBCA Executive Board meeting at the Crowne Plaza, to continue the planning for the activities of the PBCA. Although President Tabor Tompkins was not present, as he was recovering well from recent surgery but not yet up and around, Vice President Paul Salm served in his stead and we were in good hands. We wish Tabor the earliest possible recovery.
March 18-20 — The Mustang Show at the Pensacola Fair Grounds. Our friends at the Mustang Club always have a humdinger of a show, with a surfeit of gorgeous Mustangs of every possible variety. It’s lots of fun; hope you didn’t miss it.
March 18-19 — New Orleans British Car Welcoming Party and Show is always well planned for and their Party is a blast, with wonderful food and companionship. Hope you made it.
March 19 — Fairhope Arts and Crafts Show. Fairhope always includes a car show and lots of fun browsing the booths and displays. It is always a great event.
March 21 — PBCA meeting at Sonny’s BBQ on Navy Boulevard. Business, fun, and a good program, ending with door prizes and 50/50. There was also some planning for our “Brits on the Bay” Show, which is coming fast.
March 29 — Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza, followed by the Show Committee meeting. Note that this event was one week early, due to the upcoming show. It was vital that all Show Committee members were in attendance, as this is our last regular meeting before the Show. Upcoming events
April 6 — PBCA Executive Board meeting, 12 noon at the Crowne Plaza, to continue to plan for club events.
April 9 — Euro Fest Classic European Show, Natchez, Miss. Always earning rave reviews, this show continues to attract many PBCA members. Join them.
April 11 — PBCA monthly meeting. Held one week early, so we can wrap up any last-minute details for the show and stuff the goody bags so they will be ready for April 16th. All hands are needed.
April 15-16 — Friday’s activities and the “Red Beans and Rice,” followed by Saturday’s fabled Brits on the Bay show. It will be wonderful and rain-free — guaranteed.
April 22 — Review and wrap-up meeting at 4 p.m. at the Lewis residence at 4629 Church St. in Bagdad. All are welcome.
April 30 — Back to a more leisurely activity with a drive to Seaside and lunch at Goatfeathers for fun and relaxation. Until next time, “Take that foot off the clutch!”