I KNOW ! In (normally sunny) Florida ! Well it happens sometimes.
Yesterday was also a bit overcast with threats of showers but the brave souls of BB went ahead and their courage was rewarded with nothing worse than dull skies and a few spits of rain at one point.
First up, I have to say BB is infamous for timekeeping. Few things here start on time and mostly they start well before time. The cart line up was due to begin at 5pm and the parade was due to start at 5:30pm but at 5:10pm it set off, and caught me completely flat footed........and with only half the carts and participants photographed.
Hey ho, as Santa would've said.
Last year it wouldn't have taken me 10 minutes to photograph all the carts, the turnout was so low. This year was different with over 20 carts and trailers all displaying a very high standard of decoration. These are golf carts remember. They aren't built to be decorated and have minimal parts for actually attaching anything of note - but did that stop Christmas themed decorations BEING attached ?
The BB residents have inspiration to spare and everything from full size Santas, moving reindeer, a tiki bar and Christmas trees were attached to these carts. Oh and a boat covered with Christmas lights, complete with a large blow up fish on a fishing line !!
Amongst the participants, there were a few Mr. and Mrs. Santas, an angel, a Rudulph and some elves. It was a whacky scene to be sure.
Then it was like the Le Mans 24 hr race back in the days when the drivers all had to run to their cars at the start. The lead carts moved off leaving huge gaps all down the line as people were taken by surprise and many were still standing around socialising. I ran along the line as best I could, taking photos of the now moving carts as I couldn't wait for them all to pass me as I needed to get to another point along the route to take video footage.
Then I jumped into our own cart and high tailed it to a junction point near the Community Centre where the carts would be turning a corner and I would be able to video them both straight and side on as they'd pass the camera.
This worked out fine until Mad Rudulph, the driver of the tiki bar cart, headed straight for me and so threw out my careful pre focus setup ! Revenge will be mine, Clair.
With the last cart heading off into the distance, I packed up the camera and in my haste, didn't manage to turn it off. So I have about 45 seconds of Blair Witch type footage showing jerky ground shots from acute angles as I walked back to the cart. At one point I meet and greet some parade spectators and a handshake can be seen; well it can be seen if you tilt your head at an angle guaranteed to have you in a neck brace for the next few weeks.
I sped off to the Rec Hall where the carts were parked up. After a bit of mingling, everyone (participants, spectators and other residents) all went inside to await the results of both the best decorated carts in the parade and the best decorated homes in the park. This gave me the opportunity to take photos of the now empty carts as all those with lights, were still lit.
It also gave me a chance to photograph some individual decorations which show the amount of thought and work that went into the parade; a chimney top santa on a cart roof, Christmas mats in a cart footwell and even a battery powered row of candles on a cart 'dashboard.'
Of course I need to highlight my friend's cart. Clair & Mary K and Dennis & Debby went with the inspired theme of "Santa on Vacation." It's the day after Christmas and Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Dennis and Debby) need to chill and relax with Rudulph and one of the Christmas elves who has worked so hard (Clair and Mary K).
So being in Florida, they designed their cart as a tiki bar with Rudolph driving, naturally (just not so good on corners !!), partnered by the token elf with Mr. and Mrs. Claus sippling drinks at the back and getting merrier by the second.
It had clearly been a long stressful season and after keeping her old man and his army of elves fed and watered whilst they packed, wrapped and delivered all those presents, Mrs. Claus deserved to let her hair down and relax with a few drinks from the bar.
By the end of the evening, the poor dear was showing the effects of tiredness as well as copious amounts of alcohol from the free tiki bar.
It was a great parade and well done to all who worked so hard to make it so. From an inflatable fish on a boat to a Santa going down a golf cart chimney, the creative minds of a retirement park of seniors rivalled those of the more famous lot just 90 mins drive away at Disney World.
Congrats to the Buttonwood Bay Imagineers.