Good-natured people, excellent weather, and an abundance of food, drinks, fun and games were the order of the day at the 2012 Cheeseburger in Paradise Party held on June 29 at Fiddle Cay.
Stranded Naked, as the party is also known, sponsor Bobb Henderson couldn’t agree more as he donned his Jimmy Buffet Hat before entering the water. Like him, everyone was glad to see that the remnants of Tropical Storm Debby had left The Bahamas just in time for the festive day.
“The stars must have aligned for the weather,” Henderson quipped. “Everything is beautiful, so they must have known there would be a Jimmy Buffet concert. Everyone is having a good time, the water is beautiful, the beach is great and everyone is under control.”
Dr. Ron Hucke was among those enjoying the fun atmosphere as he completed his registration at the Regatta table. Travelling to The Bahamas aboard his boat called “ErinSong,” this is Hucke’s 22nd year participating in the races. Despite a mixture of wins and losses, over the years he said he has come to appreciate the sailing, the people and the improved technology.
“The experience is just as good as it’s always been,” he said. “Some years we don’t win anything, but it doesn’t matter. We have a good time every year.”
Speaking of a good time, since 1989, Henderson and his friends have been celebrating during this time of the year when the Regatta Time in Abaco races and celebrations kick off. He is usually assisted by his good friend Andy Burke, who owns a boat called Abaco Glow and helps him run the bar.
The party initially began on his houseboat, and moved on to Fiddle Cay when his boat could no longer accommodate the growing number of friends. The amount of food and drinks needed to satisfy everyone also grew. Henderson recalled that the party started with 25 to 30 burgers steadily growing to 150 then to 250. Finally, they had to cap the numbers eight or nine years ago to 1200 burgers, 400 pounds of fries, 400 hot dogs, 100 gallons of margaritas and 100 gallons of rum punch.
No doubt, it is a huge undertaking to transfer everything to the cay and for the cooks to cook all the food for their guests. For the second time in a row, Bubba Burgers were offered again, and Henderson thanked Margaritaville, Tequila and Bubba Burgers for being such great sponsors. Hundreds of cups were donated by second homeowners out of Treasure Cay, and CocoMo boat owners donated a tomato-slicer.
Guests also received Stranded Naked tattoos. Limbo and hoola-hoop games along with prizes were offered to those six and under and for others over the age of 40. Even the dogs were seen socializing and cooling off in the water while families played frisbee and other beach games under the glare of the afternoon sun.
Henderson added that one of the newest additions this year was the Cheeseburger in Paradise sign that welcomes everyone to the party. Some work had to be done to several of the tables and benches as a result of Hurricane Irene, which completely destroyed the beach.
At the end of the day, even with the 1500 to 2000 partygoers and boaters, Henderson said the beach would once again be pristine.
“You won’t be able to tell that anyone was here,” he stated. “So, anyway it’s all great. This is how the whole thing started. Sitting around with a bunch of friends on the boat, drinking beers, and listening to some Jimmy Buffet music.”
Nevertheless, Henderson is always optimistic that Jimmy Buffet will one day show up to his beach party as he has for his concerts and with his Jimmy Buffet Hat that he began creating since the 1970s. He vividly recalled one occasion when he and his wife met the American singer-songwriter in St. Barts.
“My wife said ‘Yeah, Jimmy your free concerts have ended up causing my husband about $7,000.”