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• For more information on Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc., log on to the group's Web site, http://www.phip.c...
Pristine ocean landscapes in tropical locales.
Musician Jimmy Buffett - creator of party anthems such as "Margaritaville and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" - writes a recurring theme in his songs relating to island life. This is the type of atmosphere that Dave Pike wants to bring to Craig.
Pike is the president of the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrot Heads. "Parrot Head" is the unofficial name for Buffett's fans, who attend his concerts regularly, often wearing Hawaiian accoutrement, as well as hats shaped like the tropical birds.
The "Not-for-Profit Corporation," Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc., is a national collective of Parrot Head Clubs around the country. PHIP focuses on community service, particularly in the realm of environmental care.
Craig's local group hosted its first group effort Tuesday evening when it cleaned up the water and land around the Yampa River and Pebble Beach near the Yampa Valley Golf Course. Group members dressed in their swimsuits and listened to Buffett's music while they cleaned the litter around the water.
"We thought that working on the river would be appropriate," Pike said. "Jimmy Buffett is always singing about the ocean, and even though we don't have that in Craig, we have our own water system in the river, and we want to help keep it nice. We also want to get some river restoration going after awhile."
The group members estimated they picked up 500 pounds of garbage on Pebble Beach alone, enough to fill up the bed of a pickup truck.
"The beach is a great asset for Craig," group member Robin Herring said. "It gets used a lot in the summer, and unfortunately, it gets trashed pretty easily."
As a frequent white water rafter, Herring wants to see the river and its outlying areas as clean as possible. The group also went on to clean the river area along Loudy-Simpson Park.
"We'll probably do this again in a couple months after the use gets heavier," Herring said. "We want it to look nice for everyone."
Pike said he plans to make the group an official chapter of PHIP.
"We're in the midst of applying to be part of the national organization," he said. "The only other Parrot Head Club in the state is in Denver. We started out by just having parties and listening to Jimmy's music, but we decided that we wanted to take it to the next level. PHIP's motto is 'party with a purpose,' and that's what we want to do."
Pike also hopes to host fundraisers to benefit the community.
"We want to help get money to the schools here to buy musical instruments for kids," he said. "Instruments are really expensive, and we want them to have a chance to learn about music."
PHIP works in conjunction with VH-1's Save the Music Foundation to further musical education in public schools.
Many of Craig's Parrot Heads will participate in Friday's Relay for Life. Julie Sperl, the group's historian, is the Parrot Head team captain.
"At about midnight during the Relay, they'll be playing a Jimmy Buffett set for us," Sperl said. "We'll also be selling Hawaiian leis for $2 apiece."
Sperl said she would like to see the group's roster of 22 people grow.
"More membership would be great because it's a fun way to help the community," she said. "We're hoping to have a barbecue sometime in the fall, to let people know what we're all about."
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 875-1796 or email@example.com