By Natalie Strom
The small village of Goodland is celebrating its 62nd birthday on Saturday, March 12th. The party will take place at the new Goodland Boat Park which is located at the end of Goodland Drive West. This family friendly event will take place from 10 am to 4 pm and will host activities that those of all ages can enjoy. As Goodland is and always has been a fishing village, many of the activities will be based around this tradition.
The day will begin with a Fishing Seminar presented by Marco Island fishing guru, Don Robb. The seminar will take place between 10:30 and 11:30. Fishing stations will be set up under the guidance of the Marco Fishing Club immediately after the seminar. These stations will include knot tying, fish identification, casting lessons, a tackle box station and a conservation and de-hooking station. These will run from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm. Between 1:30 and 2:30 partygoers will be treated to a cast net demonstration.
The big event, a fishing contest, will take place between 2:30 and 3:30 for those 15 and under. Anyone that would like to participate must arrive early and have attended some of the fishing stations. They must also bring their own tackle box. Winners will be awarded in many categories. These categories include most fish caught, biggest fish caught and more.
A number of different events have been planned for those that are not as fishing inclined. Throughout the day partygoers can participate in crab races, mullet tossing, BINGO, and horse shoe tossing. Fish-print art and sand art will be available during the party as well as a cupcake decorating station for kids. There will also be free boat rides. The party’s hosts are hoping to have an animal exhibit hosting South Florida animals such as alligators, tortoises, pigs and such non-native species as pythons.
Those who attend can learn more about the history of Goodland as well. Historical exhibits will be set up by the Goodland Civic Association. Books, post cards, prints and t-shirts will also be for sale. Many local vendors will be present as well. The party will host special guests Elizabeth M. Perdichizzi and Stan Gober. Elizabeth Perdichizzi is the co-author of “A Girl Called Tommie” and author of “Island Voices: They Came to Marco Island” and “The Phony Hermit.” These books celebrate the colorful history of both Marco Island and Goodland and will be available for sale. Stan Gober will also have his book, “Stan: An American Story,” and his music CDs available for sale. Both will be present to sign book copies and speak with those in attendance.
Six Goodland locals have been chosen to decorate a birthday cake for Goodland. They will be on display for the early part of the day. Those in attendance can vote for their favorite cake. The winner will be Goodland’s official birthday cake and will be cut around 1:00 pm. The men of Goodland will be serving up delicious hot dogs and hamburgers for a small fee. Chips, soda, water, popcorn, ice cream and shaved ice will all be for sale. Fish smoking and crab cooking demos will take place and the delicious food will be for sale as well.
Local Goodland musician, Terry Lee, has lined up a slew of Goodland musicians to play throughout the day. A special appearance is scheduled by local musicians, J. Robert and Stan Gober. J. Robert will be performing early, starting around 10:00 am.
Volunteers are still needed to help make this party a success. Please contact Connie Fullmer at (305) 320-8333 or by email at email@example.com if you would like to help in the festivities or if you have any South Florida animals available for the animal exhibit.
Make sure to mark your calendars for this special event. Head on out to Goodland on Saturday, March 12th, and don’t forget your tackle box, fishing pole and boots!
Natalie Strom has lived in Goodland for over two years and has worked in Goodland on and off for more than five years. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is also a former Buzzard Queen of Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland.