Caloosa Winnies of South Florida


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WIT Club Chapter of Excellence 1996-2016


Local Chapter
March 2008 Outing

“Fiesta Del Sol” was the theme for the 37th Winnie Gators State Club Rally, March 6 – 9, 2008 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. The Caloosa Winnies were well represented with 24 coaches in attendance! Vice Presidents Charlie & Ellen Zucker did an excellent job greeting members as they arrived on Tuesday, and assisted them with parking and getting sites set up. President Jerry Miller is now Treasurer of the Winnie Gators State Club, which made for double duties, so a huge thank you was given to the Zuckers. 

The Caloosas were responsible for decorations again this year. As soon as members arrived they headed to the main hall to lend a hand in covering tables, placing flowers on tables, decorating the stage and backdrop. Many helping hands made the work go fast. Bud Swift and his committee figured out how to hang the piñatas and decorations from the ceiling, and before long we transformed the hall into a wonderful Fiesta scene!! Tuesday evening we caravanned to Steak & Ale Restaurant along with members of the Funtime Travelers and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.

Wednesday was a busy day with dealers and vendors arriving for the festivities. Nancy Miller was chairman handling Vendors and Seminars, and THANKS to many of the Caloosa volunteers, things went smoothly. Wednesday at 4:30pm the chapter meeting was held with details for the rest of the week explained. That evening we all traveled to Golden Corral Restaurant for another great dinner.

Thursday was opening ceremonies and what an exciting event! The Winnie Gator Officers were dressed in ponchos, sombreros, skirts, dresses, beads and greeted participants as they entered the hall. Special guests also dressed in Fiesta garb were
                                                               Doug Formanek, WIT President, and his lovely wife Pat  WIT Eastern Area Reps Dick & Mikki Dodge were also on hand to greet participants as they flowed into the hall. Rich Cook from Suncoast Winnies was “Senor Cook” Master of Ceremonies for the event. Co-President Dan Tuzzolo was roaming the audience talking on a microphone with attendees. Music was playing, chips and salsa for snacking was on the tables, you had to know this was going to be a fun time! The Cypress Creek High School Jr. ROTC group presented the colors and the 37th Annual Winnie Gators Rally was officially opened! President Linda Tuzzolo took the stage and welcomed everyone and introduced each chapter president, dealers and other special guests. Taco Salad was appropriately served for lunch, along with some great beverages! Soon everyone was off to check out the vendors, seminars and new coaches. The Friendship Walk was held at 3:00pm with Florida Sunshine Winnies in charge. Everyone who participated took home some great prizes!

Thursday evening dinner was served at 5:30, and the Caloosa volunteers were busy selling raffle tickets, assisting the Mid Florida Winnies Chapter, for the charity drawings. Entertainment for the evening was The Night Owls, R & B Review featuring Ken Perry & Rick Powell. Door prize drawings were held and some lucky winners took home money and prizes!

Friday morning the Caloosas were hosts for the Pet Parade. Charlie & Ellen Zucker, along with Al & Cathy Goebel got the pets registered and ready to parade. With over 40 pets it was quite a sight! They paraded through Vendor Hall and the vendors participated by judging the event. It was a fun time for all, and the winners were announced that evening at dinner. Our very own member Gail Darner won a costume prize for her Spaniel’s Harley Davidson look.

Another Caloosa member Paul Revell won in the category for most unusual pet! Congratulations to these “parents”.

The Ice Cream Social was held at 2:00pm, sponsored by Farm & City Insurance and chaired by South Florida Winnie Gators Chapter. Soon it was time for the Caloosas to gather at the main hall to check on the tables for dinner and sell more raffle tickets. The evening entertainment was “Homer Noodleman, Not Just A Comedian”. This show as fast paced including jokes, music, impressions, ventriloquism, and audience participation. He was outstanding and received a standing ovation after his performance! 

A sudden change in the weather with rain & wind was not the normal March Florida pattern, but luckily we avoided the tornado watches! Saturday we began the day with a catered breakfast and jackets with hoods to ward off the wind! The WIT Store was open for business, the Dodges were busy with sales and a new line of products! Games were held from 9 – 12 with the Seaside Winnies in charge. They introduced 15 games of skill, brain power – and a bit of luck!

At 1:00pm the Caloosas met at the main hall to decorate all the tables for the final evening event. With so many helping hands and creativity, we had the job finished in 90 minutes! Tables were covered in red, white and green, with fiesta decorations down the centers. Since the Rally Wine & Cheese Party was being held in Vendor Hall which we could not participate in, Dan Tuzzolo and Bud Geng made sure we had our own private Wine & Cheese Party! That was REALLY enjoyed! THANKS, Dan & Bud!

Chapters were seated together for dinner, and it was GREAT to see the Caloosa Winnies take up an entire row and a half of tables!! Many guests were also seated across from us and we made many new friends this week. Installation of Officers took place with Doug Formanek and Dick Dodge administrating the oath of office. After dinner the entertainment was a group of 4 brothers, The Marlins. They did a variety of music, comedy and impressions, just an outstanding group of entertainers. People were dancing in the aisles and really enjoying the evening! Another standing ovation for this group by the appreciative audience! Soon it was time for the door prizes and charity raffle winners to be announced. The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association will receive  $1433 for research thanks to our generous donations!  THANKS to the Mid Florida Winnies and our Caloosa Winnies members for all your efforts.

Sunday morning breakfast was served, followed by meetings for those who wished to attend. Soon it was time to say FAREWELL for another year. We will always have happy memories  of “Fiesta Del Sol”. The Winnie Gators Officers and Local Chapters were to be congratulated on all their efforts to make this Rally a huge success!!

Keep in mind if you are traveling in our area you are WELCOME to be a guest at any of our campouts! Check “Who’s Inviting Travelers” section in the magazine for our dates and places!

Nancy Miller