How it all Began

How it all began....
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itsourcrazylife
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Re: How it all Began

Post by itsourcrazylife » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:05 pm

Thanks for filling in a lot of the gaps. I was trying to find that picture of the group holding the banner. Like Skip said, we ditched the PVC pipes shortly after we started out from the staging area. The banner made it the entire route though with members alternating holding it I believe.
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Re: How it all Began

Post by itsourcrazylife » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:32 pm

Here is the really, really early history of how the group got started, and it was actually kind of an accident that has turned out great. LOL

We started going to Fantasy Fest in 1990. Another couple, friends from Columbus that were the first of out group to move to Tampa, went with us. Like Frank said, there was not much going on early in the week. Even late week was nothing like it is now. That first year we went, we went to the Pretenders in Paradise contest at the Pier House. There was no admission and they were actually looking for people to be in the contest. They asked the four of us to be contestants. That contest grew into one for big, elaborate costumes, but they are not having it this year.

Anyway over the next few years, we kept going, met a lot of people along the way, and had a great time. In 1997 or maybe 1998, I decided I wanted to try to do a webpage, webpages were not easy to do then, and I knew nothing about it. I found a site called ONElist that was promoting a make your own web presence idea. I thought it was just going to teach me what to do, but as I was going through the guided process it asked me what I wanted my site to be about. I hadn't thought about that, but we had been starting to plan for our Fantasy Fest trip, so on the spur of the moment typed in Fantasy Fest and Key West. I posted a couple things about when we were going and put up a picture of us at Fantasy Fest. That was a huge accomplishment as far as I was concerned because Putting pictures up was not an easy thing to do then, and I was using a dial-up modem. Probably almost everyone was using a dial-up modem then. LOL I kind of forgot about the site and didn't do anything else with it until I got an email from ONElist saying my Fantasy Fest site had something like about a dozen, maybe fewer, followers. My first thoughts were, how did that happen and how did people even find it. :D We got to talking on the site and decided we would meet up mid-week at Atlantic Shores. So that was the first ever gathering of any kind. We did that for the next few years, plus would make plans to go to a particular bar or event.

In 1999, ONElist was bought out by eGroups, and then in 2000 by Yahoo and became part of Yahoo Groups. That is when it really started to take off. Frank's post talks about what happened starting then.
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Re: How it all Began

Post by itsourcrazylife » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:09 pm

There was some mention of how the float came about, but this should help bring it together. I think I have the dates right, but if anyone sees an error, feel free to correct me.

After the first year walking, we decided we needed a way to haul beads and to have a little more organization. John Allen and I got talking and we decided to buy an old boat and turn it into a float, mostly to have a place for the beads and also to do some kind of actual theme. We bought an old 17 foot fiberglass boat and trailer from a dealer in Columbus and split the costs. John A. took it to the body shop at his dealership in Dayton, had the engine removed, a new floor put in, and everything painted black. When we bought it, it was named the Bethie-Jeffie so it obviously became known as the BJ.

Mario from Krewe de Cincy, they are no longer active, had float built out of a hay wagon. Like was mentioned, in December 2005 for the delayed and abbreviated Fantasy Fest, we couldn't get the BJ to Key West and Mario let us borrow their's. Either the following year or the one after that we bought it from them and for awhile had both the BJ and the hay wagon as one entry, and every year we had to convince the FF parade committee to let us do that.

Eventually we bought our current float. It is a home made car hauler built using Airstream axles and springs. Over a couple years, Dave and Bonnie and Efrain and Crystal worked on it at Dave and Bonnie's shop north of Tampa turning it into the Captain Tony's theme with a restroom (porta-potty) on board, two bars, and DJ set-up.
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Re: How it all Began

Post by alvinjamaica » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:08 pm

Great history guys. Keep the stories coming!

Alvin
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Re: How it all Began

Post by Mrsomething » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:03 pm

love the history lessons....
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Re: How it all Began

Post by Efrain » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:28 am

Here are some pics of the SS BJ that first year in 2004
FF04 060 (Medium).jpg
Getting decorated
FF04 061 (Medium).jpg
All done decorating
FF04 065 (Medium).jpg
The first crew manning the SS BJ
FF04 082 (Medium).jpg
Band Trailer following the SS BJ
Band+Float+emty.jpg
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Re: How it all Began

Post by itsourcrazylife » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:39 am

Great pics and memories Efrain. I can't believe I forgot about the flatbed trailer that we used for the band for a couple years before we got the hay wagon. John Allen towed one down from Ohio loaded with crates of beads. He had a flat somewhere around Florida City I believe and spent several hours getting a tire and someone to fix it.

MJ and I towed the BJ down the last trip it made from Ohio to Florida, before we started storing it in the Keys. We were going through Atlanta at the end of morning rush hour. We were in the HOV lanes in downtown Atlanta when I heard something at looked in the mirror to see one of the left trailer tires had blown and pieces of rubber were flying off. It had a tandem axle, the traffic was very heavy, and the HOV lanes are the left ones next to the divider wall. Since there was no where to go and I thought the other axle and wheel would make it for a awhile, I kept going until I could get out of traffic. I didn't tell MJ right away because I figured she would be all stressed that we were going to have an accident or something. :P South of downtown we found an exit with a Goodyear store and they had a tire and fixed it. One of the mechanics was looking at this boat on a trailer with Ohio license plates and painted solid black. When the new floor was put in, because the original floor was soft, the plywood was nailed down over it and some of the nails were sticking through the bottom part of the hull. He asked us where we were going and we told him Key West. He kept looking at it and asked us if we were sure it would float. Another :true:
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Re: How it all Began

Post by Trixie and Dave » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:03 pm

Wow. What great posts! Sure brings back a lot of fun memories. David and I went to Fantasy Fest for the first time in 1997 and had so much fun we have been back every year since, so this will be our 17th. year in a row! We remember meeting John & MJ probably a year or two after they formed the group and then meeting great friends thereafter like: John & Terri, Ef & Crystal, Ed, Alvin, Dana, Zoe, Anthony & Hula, Dave & Bonnie and Bob & Fran and as the years went by meeting newbies like Paul, Mike & Sharon, and my co-heart in crime Lisa & Kent along with so many others too numerous to mention! (Hey Alvin, remember the days of Michele and I up to no good..he-he-...lol)
Living on the East Coast of Florida we go to Key West often but obviously Fantasy Fest is our favorite time of the year to go and this group is one of the main reasons! Things that we miss: Atlantic Shores, Captain Tony and now Fastbuck Freddies :(
Things we look forward to: Going to Fantasy Fest another 17 years (Lord Willin) Seeing old friends and making new ones along the way as we seem to never meet a stranger! We have many Fantasy Fest stories to possibly share throughout the years which I will do if I ever can find the time but i'm sure you all have many stories to share with us also so Please do, as it's fun to reminisce especially as it gets close to another October on Bone Island!
Trixie & Dave (.)(.)
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Re: How it all Began

Post by travelino » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:22 pm

Bob, interesting that you also think that 2004 was the busiest year or maybe the "worse" year with youths. I remember walking down Duval back to our place with my wife and Bald1 (we all were staying in the complex that Mr Boston rented, the Lighthouse I think it was called) and Bald1 was several steps behind us. A young male was walking in the opposite direction and "bumped" into me. I ignored it and kept walking. Later Bald1 say he saw him intentionally shoulder me and then turn around as he passed to see if he got a reaction. I think many of us felt some of these groups were just gangs that came in looking for trouble. What happened to me was common.

Back on topic, maybe someone could elaborate on Atlantic Shores and the goings-on there as that was a key piece of FF history. We use to like the Thursday night contests, one of the more wild events of the week.

And then of course Kelly's. We only found out about it in 2002, and the first time we attended it. I think it was $5 or even free to enter, but you had to have a costume, otherwise to be admitted, you had to strip naked. I remember seeing some folks doing just that in the room just off the entry. It became our favorite event as the most wild, till the newer management took over and things seemed to be more tame, plus it got so crowded you couldn't move around and then the higher cost wasn't an incentive either.

The other popular place was the Garden of Eden, the clothing optional bar on the rooftop of the Bull. That seemed to be the big hangout for fun and games, and it use to be free. I think 2001 or 2002 was the first year they decided to charge admission at night. That first year of charging, it was only on the last few nights of FF and it was $5 per person. That went up the next year and kept going up and then charging every night of FF. We found as soon as they "put up the toll booth" each night, as we use to call it, couples stopped coming up and only the curious males hoping for some adventure came up. It was about then that we stopped going up there, plus they got all over people for getting too close etc. We were so disappointed in seeing that change the way it did, but then the birth of the Krewe and Captain Tony's showed us that we had a better place for fun.

And speaking of fees for entry, it seemed that was not common when we first started going, but became more so over time. This whole business of selling tickets to events really turns us off. I guess, each his own though. And we're so glad that Captain Tony's didn't go that way, but still has free entry. Heck, these other establishments made a lot of money off the crowds in the first place, when they had an event. Thank you Captain Tony's.

I did say that back in 2002 there wasn't much going on earlier in the week, but I forgot to mention that Fat Tuesday's use to have a contest on Tuesday night (of all nights). But it was so narrow back by their stage that not many folks could get back there to see anything.

I know I'm a bit off subject with some FF history that isn't just the Krewe history, but all this is somewhat related as the Krewe is about FF too. A couple of other tidbits that come to mind, if you'll allow me.

The issue of what constitutes clothing has always been a subject of controversy. When we first attended in 1998, we heard that the cops are pretty layed back and no one has ever been arrested for nudity. Each year, there was always a story going around about KW clamping down. Well in 2000, they did. We heard of arrests for the first time. Topless was forbidden, even painted tops. (Of course we still have had some controversy over the years and it seems more up the the individual police officer as to what to enforce or not). We heard later that all those charges were dismissed.

But that left us very cautious going into 2001. Then the 911 tragedy happened and when FF came around, security was heightened. Some folks suggested that if people were nude, they wouldn't be able to hide any weapons on themselves. Backpacks, anything that resembled a weapon, toys etc were banned. They even had a tank parked around the corner on Greene, just in case of an incident.

Wednesday night of that year, we were walking down Duval and there was a painter on the sidewalk in front of Rick's. He was encouraging guys to sponsor paint for a lady and kept saying it was legal. Well, that didn't make any sense so I asked a nearby police officer what was up and he said "its not legal, but we're not enforcing it". So that seemed to be a key event in allowing painted tops during FF, in the "FF zone", which seems to still have multiple interpretations over the years.

I don't remember if it was 2001 or 2002, but one year, the cops decided to make it easier for them to have access on Duval between Green and Caroline, because it was so crowded, they put up a row of barriers down the middle of the street. The idea was for attendees to walk to the right on the appropriate side of the barriers. The section between the barriers were to be used only by the police and other emergency people. It was only about 2 feet wide. We saw it during the day and I told my wife, that we needed to be careful to not go into that section.

Well, just what I wanted to avoid, happened. The crowds were thick that night and before we knew it we were in the barricade corridor. We didn't even see it coming. You couldn't get out and people were pushing through from both directions. It was a nightmare to get through it that night. KW never tried again, a big and dangerous mistake. Does anyone else remember that?

I'll shut up now, sorry to have gone on so long, but thought new attendees might like to know some of that history too. I'm sure many of you could elaborate on what I touched on.
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Re: How it all Began

Post by alvinjamaica » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:26 pm

Great posts all. History brings back the mamaries... memories. Trixie I do remember the days of you and Mish as partners in crime, but then again
you and Dave can get anyone in trouble. It's a talent!!!!!!! hehehehehehehe!

Kisses all, look forward to seeing the gang in KW!

Alvin
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Re: How it all Began

Post by Tami&Joe » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:49 pm

Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!
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Re: How it all Began

Post by luvleathergirl » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:15 pm

Love it! And so glad we stumbled upon this group after someone mentioned to us 'I can't believe u two haven't been to fantasy fest!' and we had started to make plans for our first ff...our first year was after Wilma (2006?)...we arrived on a late flight stayed all the way at the doubletree and were actually debating about getting a good nights rest and starting our adventure the next day...we said to each other were on vacation and hoped the hotel shuttle to head downtown...wow! We saw a Hillary...a chef...and many people in plaid! We had stumbled upon nirvana! We've been coming back since and don't expect to stop anytime soon! So many stories and so many more to gather! Thanks for sharing all the history and other members!

Where's the rum!
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Re: How it all Began

Post by itsourcrazylife » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:29 am

Great post Frank (Travelino). No, we don't think it is off-topic at all. Fantasy Fest and the Krewe go hand-in-hand. Their certainly wouldn't be a Krewe without Fantasy Fest and we have been told that Fantasy Fest wouldn't be the same without the Krewe. Of course, we aren't sure if they meant worse or bwtter without. LOL

We do remember all those things. Add to the list of mistakes that the city has made their reluctance to close the street in front of Captain Tony's when the party gets to big and the bar and sidewalk can no longer hold everyone.

We have said also that 2001 was the turning point for acceptance of body paint and even nudity. Before then, it seemed that every other year there was a push to tighten things up. 2001 brought a realization that security and safety were much more important issues. We remember the police and fire going around checking trash cans up and down Duval that year for bombs. The main post office was closed for a couple days because of an anthrax threat.

As a side note, we stayed in Miami, South Beach, for a couple days before heading to Key West that year. We had our rental car parked in a public parking garage and we decided to head to Haulover for the day. As we walked toward the parking garage we saw these people coming in and out in HAZMAT suits. Yep, the garage was closed for an anthrax scare!! Obviously we spent that day on South Beach instead of Haulover. :D
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Re: How it all Began

Post by Mrsomething » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:21 pm

itsourcrazylife wrote:He asked us where we were going and we told him Key West. He kept looking at it and asked us if we were sure it would float. Another :true:
technically it was going to float ....lol
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Re: How it all Began

Post by alvinjamaica » Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:48 pm

Sorry to keep asking BUT.... who were the Krewe founders? (I know this may be vague).

Also who are the current Krewe officers?

Enquiring Alvin
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