Friday, October 21, 2011

Sentimental Spinning, Spinning the Wheels of Friendship, Thanks, Creativity and Fun!

On Sunday, 10/16/11, The Whistle Stop Grill & Bar celebrated their 16th anniversary as one of Safety Harbor's most beloved restaurants. No, Dawn Pendola did not ask me to say that. Let me tell you a little story before I get into the events of last original idea for a blog post!

When my husband Chris and I arrived in the bay area from Washington State in the late summer stickiness of 2008, we searched home after home for the right place to live. The realtor had us driving to places way north and way east, but we asked to see a home we'd found on the Internet. I remember how she sighed and told us how far away Safety Harbor was. (Ha!) But we were feeling desperate. We had to go back to the northwest and begin the process of relocating to Florida. I think we had two more days...

Long story short, we drove into town, found the house, fell in love with it, and let the realtor go home. Chris and I headed to the marina, where tall white sails flapped in the breeze. I think we saw a dolphin that day too. We went back to Washington and packed, moved and finally began the process of acclimating. I remember how hard it was for me to find a grocery store and how I had to have a map to get our son to Countryside High School. After the first day's stresses of moving, we headed downtown to eat.

Whistle Stop
felt like a local hangout, but with its lights and warm outdoor patio, it had a magical ambiance to us out-of-towners, and as silly as this may sound, it felt like we were home. We ate our meal holding hands across the table, watching a squirrel climb an oak, and listening to a musician as he sang and played his guitar. I snapped pictures and sent them to my friends in the Northwest. "It's called the Whistle Stop," I remember writing in my text message, "Like the Fannie Flagg book."

So yes, I am sentimental, and yes, I will always treasure the welcome we received into our new hometown. (I even remember Mike was our waiter!)

So now, three years after our move, if someone had told me I'd be part of a huge network of friends, helping the community we fell in love with to get an art and music center built. Wow! Amazing.
So, thanks, Dawn and Patrick, and all the WSG staff, for being a huge part of Sunday's fun. You brought the town together, helped SHAMc raise funds by donating beer proceeds and getting hundreds of people to your restaurant and naturally, to get people involved in our town's non-profits. Now, I'll stop being so sentimental and show you all some pictures!

SHAMc had a great day, and Regina AaMacha of the Safety Harbor Musicians Co-op reported that they made $400.00 for the guitar that they raffled. Heather Richardson won the guitar, by the way. Way to go, Heather!
The Co-op provided amazing talent, and kept everyone happy, dancing, laughing, and enjoying the day. Thanks, musicians. We loved sharing the day with you and the museum!

So, to end my sentimental thank you (from not only me, but all of SHAMc), I'll hand the mic to Dawn.

"Thank you all for a very beautiful happy day. Just thinking about Sunday... Patrick and I want to say thank you again to our AMAZING Staff, Our awesome guests, Safety Harbor Musicians Co-op, Safety Harbor Museum, SHAMc and Todd and Kiaralinda. That's the crew you need to plan a party! We could'nt have done it without you all!" --Dawn

Thanks to Holly Apperson and Joe Sacco for the beautiful photos!

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