It’s been a summer of celebration for the quiet village of Goodland. Even as the temperatures rise, the tropical storms wail and the population plummets, we still find ways to have a good time. Whether we’re celebrating the life of a loved one, eating Spam in our pajamas or shooting off fireworks for the Fourth, one thing is for sure: Goodlanders throw a party like no one else can!
On June 24, Goodlanders gathered with people from all over Southwest Florida and beyond to pay our respects to Stan Gober. Tropical Storm Debby couldn’t stop hundreds of Stan’s friends and family members from flocking to the famous Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland. We shared memories of times with Stan and at Stan’s. It was a wonderful tribute to a man who gave so much to Goodland and numerous charities. His family hosted the beautiful celebration of his life. They are looking forward to carrying on the tradition of Stan’s and will be open for two more weekends. They will be on hiatus for summer and will re-open in the fall.
The Little Bar celebrated the almighty Spam at its 20th annual Spammy Jammy party on June 30. Over thirty contestants brought food and art to pay homage to the Hurricane Gods and Goddesses of Southwest Florida. Hoping to avoid another event like Debby, patrons packed The Little Bar, eating Spam in their pajamas. Party-goers danced the night away to the tunes of John Lowbridge and later in the evening, The Raiforde Starke Band. A patriotic bust of Stan Gober, entitled “Spam Gober,” took first place in the art division while “Spam X,” a smoked Spam and baked beans concoction, took first place in the food division.
On Sunday, July 1, the island was alive with the sound of music! Stan’s was in full swing, Smokin’ Joe and Konnie were playing at The Old Marco Lodge and Left on Red and Merrill headlined at The Little Bar. The first annual “Spamover” at The Little Bar proved to be a celebration of collaboration. Duo, Left on Red of New York City, jammed with local, Chainsaw, who rocked out on the drums to their original songs without ever having practiced together. Merrill joined in, along with Raiford Starke. As the night went on, the music kept going. It was a great way to celebrate the end of the year for The Little Bar. They will be closed for the summer until they reopen in the fall.
Three days later, we were celebrating Independence Day! Barbecues, get-togethers and fireworks were the theme. John and Margie decorated their golf cart in true patriotic fashion, circling the village with their pet guinea pig, Piglet, wishing everyone a Happy 4th! A surprise fireworks show was enjoyed by all. Especially B.B. Wrinkles, who happily barked and ran back and forth, attempting to eat the fireworks out of the sky!
Wishing you all a summer full of celebration! If you can’t find a reason, come to Goodland. I’m sure we’ll be celebrating all summer long.
Natalie Strom has lived in Goodland for over two years and has worked in Goodland on and off for more than five years. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is also a former Buzzard Queen of Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland.