Holidays, give us a SOLID reason to PARTY, HEARTY!

Trip Start Jul 28, 2012
Trip End Jul 29, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, September 3, 2012

Holidays just give us a SOLID reason to PARTY, HEARTY!

Labor Day weekend was full of stuffed stomachs, boogie shoes, belly laughs and hair of the dog kind of mornings. AND if we had to do it all over again, we wouldn't have done it any differently.

Families piled in Thursday and Friday, ready to get their long weekend started. Campers. Fifth-wheels. Pop-ups. CLASSIC . Golf carts. BBQs. Tiki lights. Corn hole. TVs SETUP OUTSIDE RVs! The only thing missing from Camping World’s inventory were lawn animals!

The park was BUZZING with life and the energy all pointed to one thing. FUN!

To help set the tone of the weekend, Camping World from Lake City sponsored a Biscuit and Gravy breakfast Saturday morning, catered by Branford’s Cuzins Café. Biscuists. Gravy. Eggs. Bacon. Sausage. Toast. Potatoes. Juice. Coffee. We weren’t messing around because biscuits and gravy is a Sturgeon Family favorite and it wouldn’t have been a holiday weekend if we didn’t share the goods with the park, ESPECIALLY when Cuzins makes these country breakfast potatoes that are sinfully delicious and need to be SHARED WITH EVERYBODY!

Now, being that it was the LAST deck party of the Summer and the FIRST GATOR game of the year, ORANGE and BLUE was out in full force and the tunes were pumping to keep the party groovin! The river was filled with people trying to beat the heat, the lounge was packed with pool sharks, football fans and bikers enjoying a tasty beverage, popcorn snack and the AC.  The energy was high and it made for a great afternoon.

Steel Bridge, a TRUE LOCAL FAVORITE with a wide genre of songs finished out the day’s festivities by playing outside on the patio stage. They truly now how to make you want to get out of your seat and shake your booty! I even saw their Emcee attempt a FLIP, OFF the stage and into the crowd! He was VERY CLOSE to landing it but may have misjudged the distance from the stage to the ground a little bit. Oops! But hey, high-five for the intensity!

Sunday the temperature was turned WAY UP and the only thing to keep you cool was the river and an ice cold beverage! Hitting up the Ichetucknee was a MAD HOUSE! Boats upon boats were tied up, one fellow refer to it as the "redneck yacht club", ha! Being on the boat was nice and all but personally, I think being on a floaty in the river was the sweet spot!

Had a few spicy chicken wings, tried some homemade baked cookies, dangerously delicious chili cheese dip AND saw TWO. TWO very LARGE manatees casually swim by who paid no mind to the hundreds of boats overhead.  Amazing!

After a long afternoon on the river, Big John’s smoking BBQ and pickled ribs were CALLING!! Getting to the food tent and seeing the spread, man-oh-man, it wasn’t a BBQ it was a FEAST! Every type of pasta, potato and taco salad you could think of! Baked beans with bacon, ham, hamburger…green bean casserole, deviled eggs, coleslaw, cornbread, mouthwatering meatballs…UPSIDE DOWN PINAPPLE CAKE! I could seriously go on and on! We ate until ALL the food was gone and bellies were protruding over pants!

Funniest part about the whole thing…was my boyfriend from Seattle kept being taunted by the campers about this amazing BBQ… “He had never seen a BBQ like the South’s BBQ.”  “Never tasted ribs like Big John’s ribs.” “Didn’t even know what a proper green bean casserole was until he had one in the South.” So here he wakes up from an after river nap – nudge-nudge- ALL JAZZED to get a plate full of the “South’s fixins” and to his surprise, ALL the food was gone, the only thing he tasted of the South’s famous BBQ was a handful of potato chips, HA! Snooze ya lose! Truly!

But the party didn’t end with fully bellies, oh-no-sir-ee. The DJ cranked up the jams, a volley ball game started up and corn hole tournaments began. As the sun set it was a full on BBQ after party, dance party! People kicked off their flip-flops and got down in the sand.  What my Seattle boyfriend did learn about the South was that line dancing (Wobble. Baby. Wobble. Baby. Wobble. Baby.) and moon shine is still going strong!  

Waking up Monday morning the park was QUIET. The holiday festivities had kicked everyone’s butts and it was time to relax before packing up and heading back to J-O-Bs and school. Overall the weekend was an AMAZING TIME, surrounded by good people with big hearts! The campers showed us what it means to be a community and made Ellie Ray’s feel like home, can’t thank you enough for that! Although you can’t relive a party, we are very much looking forward to next one!!!   
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