This year Thanksgiving "went to the dogs" as Fido's, an ever-popular San Pedro restaurant, bar, and live music venue, teamed up with Saga Humane Society for a fundraiser featuring singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire. Fido's and Kelly are both such Ambergris Caye traditions that I am embarrassed to admit we've never experienced either, so we were looking forward to a good time for a good cause, and we were amply rewarded with a unique and fun Thanksgiving evening. I'd been asked to take photos for the Saga website, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone by doing our own blog of the event as well.
We left home on our bikes a bit early so we could eat dinner before the Saga event really got cranking at 6pm. Barry got our steeds safely locked to one of the huge anchors right outside Fido's on the ocean front. Fortunately, his pinched nerve and upper back issue has finally healed up, or most of the way, and he can ride his bike again. We're both very happy about that!
We got a table right by the sea and started with a special drink of the evening -- vodka with watermelon juice. Yum!
Here's the menu for the special Thanksgiving dinner. The Cochinita Pibil was tempting, but we both ordered the traditional turkey dinner, which was $40 BZ ($20 US) and also included dessert (and a rum punch, as it turned out) -- neither of which were mentioned on the menu. So it was quite a good deal.
The dinner was delicious. The Candied Plantains tasted very similar to candied sweet potatoes, which I love. It was also nice to get real mashed potatoes with lumps!
These two cute felines were making the rounds and became our best friends while we were eating our dinner. I gave them a small taste of turkey. Some kids at the next table gave them quite a nice portion of turkey a little later, so I think they made out pretty well for the night!
As I mentioned above, the menu didn't say that a rum punch was included with our Thanksgiving special, so we drank it between the entree and dessert. Not a problem!
Dessert was a version of Key Lime Pie that had the texture of frozen Cool Whip with added lime juice and green food coloring. Not our favorite interpretation of the traditional island dessert, but we managed to choke it down!
After dinner, I spoke to the Saga board members and volunteers at the event, and Barry and I both started taking more photos.
Kelly McGuire was great! Although his music had a lot of country in it (and I'm not normally a country music fan), it had an islandy flare I really liked, reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet. Lots of songs of sailing and boats, which we appreciated given our past (we used to own a 30' sailboat), and songs mentioning Belize. Kelly lives in Texas but is much loved here and comes to the island frequently enough that a lot of the folks in the audience knew all the words to his songs. It's obvious that he loves Ambergris Caye as much as it loves him. Some of his songs were upbeat and fun, and some were more touching. The one about daddies and daughters definitely wet my eyes -- and his too, he said. He did two great sets and spent plenty of time talking to the audience, promoting Saga, and drawing raffle tickets for great prizes.
A lot of Kelly CDs and merchandise was being sold to audience members, with a portion of the proceeds going to Saga!
Ari was working the crowd and selling lots of Saga raffle tickets.
Kelly auctioned off one of his "Boats in Belize" bags with CDs and a Boats in Belize shirt to the highest bidder. There were several bidders, and the bag brought a high bid of $140 US, all of which Kelly donated to Saga. Awesome!
Here are the winning bidders in the auction with Kelly!
Kelly invited all the dads with daughters in the house to get up and dance when he sang his sentimental daddies and daughters song. Not all of these are daddies with daughters, but a few were. There was one really young girl dancing with her mom and dad, but they were just to the right of this photo. Really sweet!
Two of our building neighbors put in an appearance, which is pretty impressive considering that they are the only others from our building on the island right now!
And just a few more random shots from the night...
As Kelly was finishing up his second set, we took off. It was almost 9pm after all, and these two old farts have to get their beauty sleep! But first, a bike ride back to our condo (with our headlamps). The taxi and golf cart traffic north of the bridge was the worst we've ever experienced heading home after a dinner out. Maybe because it was Thanksgiving, or maybe the whole Mayan calendar fascination brought extra folks to the island, but it wasn't as much fun a ride home as usual. Oh well, we still had a fine Thanksgiving night on the island, and Saga raised a lot of money to help the dogs and cats of San Pedro. It's all good!
Hope all our friends and family in the US had a very Happy Thanksgiving. We miss you!
Last Thursday night in San Pedro, Karen Waldrup, an up-and-coming country singer/songwriter, performed at Wet Willies as a fundraiser for the Mama Vilma's family home charity. We missed it, but San Pedro Scoop and Tacogirl both did excellent write-ups. Fortunately, for me and for Mama Vilma's House, Cowboy Doug came to the the rescue and quickly set up a second fundraiser at Grand Caribe for Sunday afternoon. I wouldn't miss this one -- it was right next door, and Cowboy always throws a great party in the perfect setting that Grand Caribe offers. Check it out:
Everyone was right -- Karen is a real talent! Country music is not my favorite genre, but I would classify her as more of a folk musician than what I think of as "country". And actually, reading her bio, she considers herself an eclectic mix of "folk, rock, country and blues". Yes, much more my taste! Karen has a sweet, soulful voice, and is one of those singers who could sing the phone book and make it sound good. When she's mega-famous one day, I can say that I actually shook her hand (thanks to Laurie for introducing me to her!) I have no photo evidence, but let me tell you -- this sweet, feminine, southern charmer has a firm handshake. She means business!
Thanks to "Carbunkle/Scoop Productions" for encouraging Karen to come to our little island of Ambergris Caye -- it was a real treat for all who had the opportunity to hear her play and sing. And it was very generous of her to give her time for this fundraiser.
In addition to music, there was plenty of time for fun at the pool. The kids, canines, and big kids too, were all having a blast on a gorgeous day with wall-to-wall sunshine. The little taste of rainy season/autumn I blogged about last week was very short-lived.
Raffle tickets were sold to benefit Mama Vilma's House, with several local businesses donating bar tabs and other goodies. I bought some tickets but, as usual, did not win anything. Jean bought a ton of tickets and won two raffles. All for a great cause, of course!
One of the unexpected surprises of the day was a performance by Barrett Schmidt. This adorable twelve-year old has the sweetest voice and can really play the guitar! He took the stage after Karen finished her set, and the minute he started strumming and crooning, everyone looked up and started whispering "Wow, this kid is GOOD." He really is. Listening to his angelic voice took me back to my childhood, swooning over Donny Osmond and Bobby Sherman.
I chatted with his dad for a couple of minutes and found out that Barrett has his own web site (I guess everyone does these days): Barrett Acoustic. His family lives in San Pedro, and he is currently performing at Fido's on Friday nights at 8pm. So check him out if you are visiting. And seriously, this kid needs to enter American Idol when he's old enough if the family happens to be living in the US at that time. He's also got two younger brothers, I hear, so perhaps a modern-day version of the Osmonds or the Jacksons could be coming along in the future if they share his gift for music!
Cowboy suggested I accompany him up to the third floor of the "H" building for some photo-ops, so I was able to get some views of the entire scene from up high.
It was a fine party planned on only a couple of days notice, and I feel so fortunate that I got to enjoy the music of two talented musicians. It's a special treat when music and fundraising come together with sunshine and a festive setting. Win-win-win!
For more on Karen Waldrup, check out her website and Bravo TV's Platinum Hit.