If Jimmy Buffett’s lasting appeal seems baffling, consider the words of Dave Pike, founder of the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads.
“It’s the lifestyle that (Buffett) portrays,” Pike said. “It’s what we all want to do — sit on the beach under a canopy, drink beer, become professional surfers, or just fish every day and drink beer every night.”
Despite Pike’s claims that Parrotheads just want to have fun, the Craig chapter was hard at work Saturday during its second annual Art ‘n the Park’n Lot.
The event — which gathered 19 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and local musicians in a parking lot on East Victory Way — was a fundraiser for the group’s ongoing musical, environmental and community projects.
“We party with a purpose,” said member Katie Johnson of Craig. “That’s our motto.”
The group is a local chapter of the national non-profit group Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc., “whose purpose is to assist in community and environmental concerns and provide a variety of social activities for people who are interested in the music of Jimmy Buffett and the tropical lifestyle he personifies,” according to the group’s website.
There are more than 200 clubs around the U.S.
Local Parrothead treasurer Mike Brinks said last year’s Art ‘n the Park’n Lot raised about $800. The goal for this year, Brinks said, was to make “as much as possible.”
The funds will go into the group’s projects fund, Brinks said.
“We try to refurbish (musical) instruments for the school kids or buy new ones,” said Brinks. “We also built a boat ramp down at Loudy(-Simpson Park), and we clean up the (Yampa River) every year.”
Group president John Husband said the group also provides scholarships to local musicians.
Recently, the group paid $700 to a Moffat County High School student so she could attend music camp at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp in Steamboat Springs.
Tracey Hart, a local guitar teacher, has been a past recipient of the Parrothead’s outreach.
“I have a music studio here in town and every spring, I do a guitar recital,” Hart said Saturday.
Hart said her recitals are expensive to produce because they’re open to the community. She provides food and rents audio equipment.
The Parrotheads donated $450 to last spring’s event, Hart said.
Hart said the support is important for students.
“If (students) have music in their lives, they seem to do even better in sports and school,” Hart said.
Parrtoheads quartermaster Cody Draper said the group’s support for music is why he joined.
“(Parrotheads) appealed to me because they are trying to keep music in schools,” said Draper. “Every year, you hear about budget cuts in the school district, and we didn’t want the arts or music to go by the wayside.”
Husband said the group welcomes new members. Membership applications can be found at the group’s “home base” — J.W. Snacks, 210 E. Victory Way — or on their website, www.nwcoloradoparrotheads.com.
However, Pike said being a Parrothead carries some risk.
“There’s actually a disease called Jimmy Buffett Syndrome,” Pike said. “It’s when you just drop everything, quit your job, walk away from your house and move to the islands.
“It’s a disease that we all dearly want to catch.”