Jul 17, 2023

Big parties, big fun

There’s nothing better than a good party. Food, friends, music – it all makes for a great occasion to kick back and make new memories. For nearly 20 years, I hosted an ever-bigger party and had a blast doing it. Throwing a big party doesn’t have to be daunting, you just have to think ahead and be prepared.

Early on in my hosting days, I had just built a new home and decided it would be fun to have a small gathering to celebrate with friends and family. A little poolside music, a few beverages- a good time had by all. The first year we had around 100 people.

Within a few years, my once-small parties had quite a few more people on the guest list. We nearly doubled in size every year!

Just as our numbers went up exponentially, so did the quality of our entertainment. Bands like Three Dog Night, The Grass Roots, Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals, the Monkees’ Davey Jones, Mark Lindsey of Paul Revere and the Raiders, B.J. Thomas, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Herman’s Hermits’ Peter Noone, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Turtles, and the Association all performed throughout the years.

In fact, B.J. Thomas managed to give such a great show one year that he blew out the power in the neighborhood on his finale song and we had to sit in darkness for nearly an hour. Well worth it though, to see such a great show!

The increasing number of people and performers meant I needed more help getting folks to and from the house. To begin, I hired local high schoolers to run guests to and from a big, grassy parking lot on golf carts. But when attendance reached an average of 2,000 people (one year we had 3,000!), the golf carts weren’t enough, and we needed three shuttle buses to help transport attendees to and from a local golf course parking lot!

These celebrations were more than just about having fun. We also raised money for local charities. Guests were able to make optional donations for local charities making a positive difference in the community like the St. Petersburg Catholic Black Student Scholarship Fund, Alpha House Pregnancy Center Scholarship fund, and Alpha house Pregnancy Center.

I’m proud that these events were always a joyful time with family, friends, and a number of great bands. It always seemed the bigger the party, the bigger the fun. I’m thankful for all the special memories I’ve made at these events over the years.

To anyone wondering if they should throw the party or hire the band, I say ‘Go for it’! Don’t worry about everything being perfect, your guests will love the memories you make together. Planning, prepping and throwing a big party gets easier with time. So, if the first party doesn’t go as expected, it just means you’ll have to throw another.

And perhaps, in time, you’ll have the luck of needing to hire a few more shuttle buses.

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