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A summer soiree at the yacht club, with beatniks

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The July morning broke with clear blue skies, a relief after intermittent summer rains. It was the day of the annual Beatnik concert at the Fox Island Yacht Club.

Established in 1965, the club is a real gem, tucked away on an inlet in the northeast corner of the island. The clubhouse has a seating capacity of over 200, with a dance floor, full kitchen, bar and outside deck. There’s a big covered pavilion and a sprawling lawn that reaches the shoreline. The dock accommodates members’ boats for brief stays.

We joined the club five years ago, at the encouragement of friends. Members enjoy monthly dinner meetings, casual barbecues, formal dances, scheduled cruises throughout the year, and special events like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve (both with spectacular fireworks). I love the parties where we dine together and dance. We’ve even done karaoke!

The Beatnik concert is the club’s biggest party and open-to-the-public fundraiser, where members pitch in with many required tasks: set up crews, parking directors, greeters, ticket takers, bartenders, security personnel, food vendor coordinators, and clean-up crews.

Attendees set up lawn chairs early in the day, since by evening there’s standing room only. I drove our chairs over and my husband drove his spiffed up black 1961 Porsche 356B Super to display at the car show—another attraction for the evening. We received our blue wristbands that read, “I was at the FIYC ‘Party of the Year, 2019.’” Then we scoped out the other cars, parked on a side lawn, which included a selection both domestic and foreign, from the 1920’s to the 2000’s in a range of colors including black, banana, avocado, blue, red, orange, and silver.

Ruthie Craft, a Fox Island resident and popular singer who competed on American Idol, kicked off the evening. The crowd grew serious as she sang a soulful rendition of the star-spangled banner. Dakota Poorman was the rousing warm up band, followed by the ever-popular Beatniks.

The Beatniks played Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” Jimmy Buffet’s, “Margaritaville,” The Beatles,’ “She Loves You,” The Temptations,’ “My Girl,” Johnny Cash’s, “Folsom Prison,” and more. Dancing to songs from that era makes me feel young again. As the band played, people boogied on the grass, munched on vendor food, or milled about and greeted friends old and new. It was a perfect night with everybody wearing light summer clothes, including women and men in Hawaiian grass skirts and leis.

During a music break we headed to the bar in the pavilion. It was like entering a huge, happily buzzing beehive where I had to lean in and yell to give my drink order to one of several harried, yet friendly bartenders.

As the sun set, shadows grew, and the boats on the dock experienced the last bit of sunlight. We wandered out there, looked over the boats, and fantasized about the next boat we’d like to own, one that we could sleep on and have cozy overnights. Away from the dock, some folks rafted up in the cove just to be near the party, their boats rocking in unison.

Fox Island Yacht Club is led by a team of elected men and women officers called, “The Bridge.” They’re the reason our club is so successful. Near the end of the evening our energetic Commodore, Casey Thigpen, thanked all who had made the event possible, then announced the “People’s Choice” in the car show.

First place went to a sweet 1953 convertible Sunbeam Alpine MK1.

Truth be told, I think everybody was a winner that night, having participated in one of our community’s coolest events. Can’t wait until next year.

Reach Mary Magee at marymagee@harbornet.com

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