Florida State Winnie Gators

2011 March Rally

Opening pictures by Carol Gies
Ice cream social pictures by Carol Gies

Pictures by Lee MacDonald

Pictures by Nancy Miller

“Hillbilly Jamboree” was the theme for our annual rally March 10 – 13, 2011 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando, Florida. Opening ceremonies kicked off the event on Thursday, March 10th with over 600 people in attendance! DuBol Winnies handled Registration and Goody Bag duties which went off without a hitch!  Jack Caffrey, DuBol Winnies Chapter President was the Master of Ceremonies and did a SUPER job all week assisting FSWG President Nancy Miller. Special guests included Doug & Pat Formanek, WIT General Manager, and Butch & Becky Moore, WIT Eastern Area Reps. The “outfits” representing the theme were awesome – so many bib overalls and hillbilly hats – it was quite a sight to see! After lunch was served on Thursday, the many seminars began. Our 4 dealers were open for business and the vendor building was busy with shoppers. At 2:00pm the Spacecoast Winnies hosted the Friendship Walk with about 50 baskets of goodies to give away! Later that afternoon the “Row Party At The Rally” began at 4:00pm. Each chapter had an area in the main hall to display their offerings of food and the room was filled with our participants checking out all the tables! Dan Tuzzolo, 1st Vice President, and his band of “hillbillies” presided over the “still” offering special drinks for everyone! The highlight of the affair was the South Florida Winnie Gators “Hillbilly Band” with about 20 participants on stage to entertain! The “instruments” included washboards, corn jugs, banjos, fiddles, guitars, etc. This was a sight to see with all their costumes! Later in the evening Bingo was on tap, hosted by Spacecoast Winnies.

Friday dawned a beautiful day with breakfast served in the main hall with the Mid Florida Winnies tending the coffee and food serving in great style! The schedule of events began including the WIT store selling great merchandise! At 11:00am the Pet Parade began in Vendor Hall with over 40 pets and owners parading vying for prizes. The Caloosa Winnies hosted the event. Arts and Crafts Show was open with Buccaneer Winnies handling the show. At 2:00pm the Funtime Travelers put on the Ice Cream Social – and what great costumes they had! Ice cream cone hats – how clever!  Dinner was served in the main hall at 6:00pm, Homer Noodleman, Comedian, entertained us for 90 minutes of pure laughter! Numerous door prizes were given away along with a drawing for the money raffle which was a nice gift to the lucky winners!

Saturday breakfast was served in the main hall and the daily events began. The fishing tournament was sponsored by Lazy Days RV at the lake area with many people taking advantage of the great fishing! South Florida Winnie Gators hosted the games and as usual, they did an outstanding job of providing games of skill and chance that fit the theme! Their “costumes” were just elegant! The Book Fair was well attended and hosted by Panhandle Winnies and Miracle Strip Winnies. At 2:00pm Florida Sunshine Chapter began pouring wine for the Wine & Cheese Party which was well attended! Dinner was served at 6:00pm, followed by Installation of Officers for the next year. Those installed are: Jerry Miller, President; Cliff & Ree Spiller,1st Vice Presidents, Ted & Janis Fumia, 2nd Vice Presidents, Christine & Bob Ross, Secretary, Walter & Belinda Feldgoise, Treasurer. Dixie Highway Band took over the stage and played music for dancing and listening and people were dancing in the aisles all evening! At the conclusion of the entertainment many door prizes were given away and the money raffle was drawn. The charity raffle drawing benefiting Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch was very successful and netted a 2 year total of $4707.00. The winners received a “Bucket of Cheer” and a Cuisinart Gridler. THANKS to Russ & Sharon Millard for sponsoring the charity and working many hours selling tickets!

Sunday morning after breakfast the Board of Directors meeting was held at 9:00am and the General Meeting was held at 10:00am with the new officers presiding. President Jerry Miller thanked all the chapters for the hard work put forth to ensure our rally was a success. Special recognition was given to our Parkers, Caloosa Winnies chapter, and the Greeters, Seaside Winnies chapter. Their outstanding performance and professionalism in handling these tasks was so appreciated by the club officers. Suncoast Winnies – what can we say – the stage and table decorations were so incredible! The “Outhouse” and “Still” were just a sight to see and along with the great table decorations – it all brought so many smiles and laughs to our crowd! A HUGE thank you again to all our chapters, club members, officers, dealers and vendors for all the hard work and dedication to making this a rally to remember! Without you, this event couldn’t take place. Our rally dates for 2012 will be March 15 – 18, at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and we invite everyone to come and join us!

Nancy Miller