The Free Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Beach Party is hard to grasp for anyone who has not experienced it. Between the people (or, more accurately, the characters), the warm water, the sights, sounds and smells of burgers wafting across Fiddle Cay it is easy to get lost in what is understood to be the largest beach and boat party in the country.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe “Stranded Naked” is with numbers.
This year 1800 bubba burgers were served. 900 hot dogs. 600 pounds of french fries. 100 gallons of rum punch. 100 gallons of margaritas. And all of those are provided to the public for free.
Another number of note: Zero – As in the amount of bandaids given out. Even though first responder volunteers from Green Turtle Cay are always present, the party has an extraordinary track record of safety.
Maybe Stranded Naked is better understood as what it is NOT as opposed to what it is.
It is not a business or for-profit enterprise: Bob Henderson has been throwing this party since the 1980s and when it evolved to be more than a simple get-together of Jimmy Buffet fans, Mr. Henderson never sought to make a dime. And, indeed, he hasn’t.
It is not an adult-only affair. The atmosphere is geared towards being family friendly. Between the hoola hoop contests, flash tattoos and clean music there is plenty to provide a good time for children.
This year Mr. Henderson held the party on July 3. A day before the start of Regatta Time in Abaco, as it has happened often in the past. However, this year he and his committee faced extra difficulty in pulling it off.
Mr. Henderson experienced tragedy in his family with the passing of his mother just days before the party and ill-health of his father lingering. Mr. Henderson also faces hardship each year when securing permits and paperwork for the party. He describes it as “almost comical” running from one department to the other and often having to double back when officials either do not have the proper forms or do not know which forms he needs.
This year the new Value Added Tax was the straw that almost broke the camel’s back. The government is charging him to give away free things and bring people into the country who spend money.
In an emotional post to social media, Mr. Henderson expressed balancing these hardships as well as his love for throwing the event. When speaking to him, Mr. Henderson committed himself to continuing to throw the event as long as he could. Though it may become a every-other-year party unless he can get “a little bit more cooperation.” A small price to ask for the tens of thousands of dollars this single beach party brings in: fuel, dockage, food and much more.
Mr. Henderson wanted to thank his many sponsors who helped make this year possible.