Caloosa Winnies of South Florida


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WIT Club Chapter of Excellence 1996-2016

Caloosa Winnies
Chapter of Winnie-Gators

March 2007 Outing

March 8 – 11, 2007 were the dates for the Florida State Rally, held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds near Orlando. Our group had responsibility for decorations this year. 7 of our member coaches formed a caravan on Tuesday, March 6th and arrived early to help set up the stage. Tuesday evening the backdrop was hung, thanks to the help of Bud Geng and Dan Tuzzolo. We were celebrating “Fun in the Sun” as our theme, and our group effort to design the backdrop paid off as we were really pleased with how it looked! No one could miss the huge shiny sun in the middle! Tuesday evening we all went to a local restaurant for dinner which was a nice reward for our efforts! 

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect – sunny and warm but not too hot! Wednesday was a day for participants to enter the grounds and things were really buzzing! The rest of our members came in throughout the day, we had 16 member coaches in attendance! My other responsibility was to set up the vendors and seminars, and THANKS to so many members who pitched in to help, things went very smooth. The Funtime Travelers greeted coaches on arrival, and the Buccaneer Winnies handled registration. That evening our group again went out to dinner at Olive Garden and awaited opening day. 

Thursday was opening ceremonies at 11:00am with the Mil-Wit Color Guard and the Winnie Gators officers. Ted Meekma led the prayer and Bud Geng, President of the Winnie Gators, introduced special guests Dennis and Beverly Burkholder from Forest City, Iowa. Denny told us the story of how they got ready to leave Iowa in the cold and ice, which was a huge challenge! We really enjoyed his humor injected into a tough situation. Mikki & Dick Dodge, Eastern Area WIT Reps were in attendance and it’s always great to see their smiling faces. Lunch was served at the main hall and Vendor Hall was opened and the seminar schedule was off and running. This year we had many speakers that offered information on CPR, Internet & WIFI, Microwave/Convection Cooking, and several on RV systems such as braking, tire safety, insurance, cleaning, something for everyone! There were 4 dealers available with new coaches to view, which created a lot of traffic as everyone wanted to see the latest floor plans.

The Friendship Walk was held at Vendor Hall at 3:00pm Thursday, and was a huge success with over 50 baskets, cakes, etc. donated! The Florida Sunshine Winnies were in charge of this event, and everyone had a great time. Thursday evening dinner was served at 5:30pm, and the rest of the evening was spent visiting with groups and guests.

Friday morning breakfast was served at the Main Hall and everyone was off to check out the vendors and seminars. The Caloosa Winnies revived the Pet Parade this year and almost 50 pets and owners lined up to go on parade. The vendors were asked to be judges, the costumes and tricks done by the pets made for a great parade! Prizes were awarded to the winners in 3 categories and presented at dinner that evening. Special notes: Dan & Linda Tuzzolo’s dog Tobey won 2 ribbons, Pete & Barbara Schmittzeh’s dog Katey also won a ribbon! A special prize was given to the most original pet – a plastic flamingo carried by the owner. We figured anyone who had courage to parade a flamingo deserved a prize! A prize was also given to the only cat – Tabby – mostly to be brave enough to enter the parade with all those dogs! This was a really fun event, THANKS to Sally & Jim Rayburn, and Ellen & Charlie Zucker for taking charge of the parade.

At 2:00pm on Friday was the well attended Ice Cream Social, handled by the South Florida Winnies. Farm & City Insurance from Forest City sponsored the event. The South Florida group had a lot of fun and dressed up in aprons and ice cream parlor hats they made! They really made this event fun for all!

Arts and Crafts were on display for everyone to see, and WIT Tours held a seminar with over 75 attendees! Florida State Parks held a seminar to give out information on our wonderful natual resource within the park system. At 3:00pm the Caloosa Winnies hosted a craft session, we made sunglass or scissors cases from potholders. THANKS to Barbara Wood who chaired this event, and also all the other Caloosa members who pitched in to help. It was a nice break to sit down in the air conditioning and enjoy visiting with other chapter members and out of town guests.

Throughout the rally raffle tickets were sold for the “Bucket of Cheer” to be given away on Saturday evening. The Caloosa Winnies also did that project, with Kathryn Griffin and Bob Coy in charge. The money collected was donated to the American Cancer Society. Kathryn was seen everywhere with her signs and tickets to sell! She also rounded up some other volunteers from our chapter to help. THANKS to everyone who pitched in, and THANKS to Kathryn and Bob for their efforts. Well over $900 was collected throughout the rally.

Dinner was served at 5:30, with entertainment following at 7:00pm. Tom Drake did a great stand up comic routine, which created lots of laughs from the audience. Door prizes were drawn and some participants went home with some great prizes!

Saturday morning breakfast was served, and the WIT Store was open for business. Games began in the Arts & Crafts Building at 9:00am with Seaside Winnies in charge. They really did a GREAT job making up 15 games based on skill and luck! Their “ticket” windows were made out of large appliance boxes – what a great touch that made you smile when you entered the building! The building was packed with those showing off skills. That evening at dinner the winners were announced – and Caloosa Winnies member Bill Fuss came in first place!!!!

 We were really thrilled for Bill and enjoyed this victory for him!

At 1:00pm the Caloosa Winnies went into action decorating the main hall for dinner. Our group spent 4 months planning and accumulating items that represented “Fun in the Sun”. Busy fingers at our campouts made a lot of the decorations. Sue Fuss made huge tissue paper flowers and we collected wine bottles to display them in. They were actually put on the tables Thursday evening as it seemed easier to display them than store them in our RV’s! They were just beautiful with all the colors. Some of the chapter members and people from other chapters joined in the finishing of the flowers which we appreciated! The tables had themes, fishing, beach, golf, camping, flowers, which were put on tables covered in yellow. Our group made over 100 palm trees, fishing poles, and THANKS to Kathryn Griffin who made so many picnic tables & chairs from Popsicle sticks, along with beach umbrellas to enhance the beach tables!  We had the entire hall decorated by 3:30pm, THANKS to all our members pitching in to help!  We were very proud of all our hard work!

The Wine & Cheese Party was held at 2:00pm in Vendor Hall, and was served by the Ocala Sunbirds. We heard that was also a well attended event! We missed it because of our decorating project. But thanks to Bud Geng we did have out own Wine & Cheese Party at the main hall!

Installation of Officers was part of the evening program and were were happy to see Dan & Linda Tuzzolo installed as new Presidents of the Winnie Gators. Also installed were Marcel & Barbara Drapeau as 1st Vice Presidents;  Eugene & Nancy Vanaman, 2nd Vice Presidents; Barbara & Peter Schmittzeh, Treasurer; Char & Terry Busch, Secretary.  THANKS to Bud & Paula Geng who have served as Presidents the past 2 years! They were presented with a placque commemorating their years of service.

Dinner was served at 5:30pm, followed by entertainment by Fred Moore, Best of Broadway show. Fred went back to the early years of Broadway portraying George C. Cohan and some of the early plays. The Caloosa Winnies got involved again – Barbara Wood was picked to go on stage for one of the skits, and I was also picked and played Jeanette McDonald! What fun! We really had a good time!

Sunday morning breakfast was served again, and a meeting was held for all the chapter presidents, followed by a general meeting. Soon the coaches began pulling out and heading home. This rally was a wonderful time for everyone, and now we look forward to March 6 – 9, 2008 for “Fiesta Del Sol”.

Come and visit with our chapter any time you’re in our area! Check Who’s Inviting Travelers for our schedule.

Nancy Miller 239-574-2511