Big Smiles at the Labor Day Beach Bash

Event among several held to facilitate King Fisher Park improvements.

A little over two years ago I came aboard the Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce replacing a resigning President. I had a great board to work with and knew that we had great things in store for us. We all agreed that our goal as the Chamber was to bring Commerce to POC –which meant we needed to focus on things that would help us in doing this.

After a few very long meetings we came to the agreement that we needed a festival—Donna Pyle and Natasha Helm had a meeting of the minds and came up with a Crawfish Fest. Natasha had held two previous 5k runs with the proceeds going to the Chamber, marked to do improvements on King Fisher Beach. Everyone jumped in and tossed ideas around and in just a few months the 1st annual Crawfish Fest was born and was a huge success.

After the Crawfish Fest, we decided to take on the large task of building a new pavilion, knowing this would be a dream of the future. Then we received a call from Russell Cain and Brenda Carter wanting to give us the opportunity to have Larry Joe Taylor at King Fisher Beach on Labor Day Weekend. It was the Chamber’s choice to make an event or just keep it simple and do a picnic on the beach.

Once again the Directors met and chose to host the Labor Day Beach Bash at King Fisher Beach. Jeff Bartz gave us permission to continue on with his first event that was held at Sunday Beach the prior year, calling it “Labor Day Beach Bash with Larry Joe”. This was a huge success as well.

In May of this year we held the 2nd Crawfish Fest with much success and then began spending many hours preparing for the 2nd Labor Day Beach Bash.

As the date approached, it appeared that Mother Nature had different plans for us than we wanted. On Friday, we prepared the grounds for the festival. This event had two large entertainers scheduled, meaning we were in need of two stages and two sources of power available at the park. We overcame those challenges and found two stage areas (4 flatbed trailers), had rails constructed around them to prevent any accidents, and had a 25kw generator donated. We also had the large tent erected on Friday with tables and chairs for folks to enjoy the event.

The weather outlook wasn’t good, and unfortunately I had not prepared for a plan B. Having goofed and overlooked the backup plan, I just had to leave it in God’s hands. As the soundmen for both entertainers showed up in the a.m., the skies start looking overcast. Both crews decided they did not want to chance it and we are going to have to come up with a fast plan B for the event to go on.

We located each band across from each other under the large tent. Just as Larry Joe Taylor was to take the stage the skies opened up. However, that did not dampen spirits; a lot of onlookers scrambled and squeezed under the space that was left under the tent and even stood outside the outer area. We had a hour delay due to having to reroute the electric cords and other delays before “The Voice” finalist Jarod Blake took the stage. We lost some of the crowd in between all this. However the ones that did stay for this next show got a huge surprise as Jarod put on a awesome show, singing his newly released song “Countryfied” along with other songs such as “Simple Man” and “Turn the Page”.

After it was all over, we began to gather things up and call it a day, We had a total of 60 plus volunteers that made this event .Things ran the best they have run in the four events we have hosted. However one thing that I do have running through my mind is all the unnecessary work created by not having the right facilities to hold these sort of events.

My V.P., Donnie Klesel, and I met with a company to get a turnkey quote for constructing some additional cabanas on the old pavilion area and moving the shower along with adding some lights on the beach area. Joe Wiatt has met with several contractors of metal buildings for quotes on just the pavilion.

At this time, we have raised 45K towards our project and are hoping to get some grants or some other available funding to finish the pavilion and ease the work load at these events.

If you are interested in being a part of the Chamber Team, we meet on the 2nd Monday of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the Community Center.

The crowd enjoyed the entertainment by Larry Joe Taylor (top) and Jared Blake (bottom photo) at the Labor Day Beach Bash.

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