FL: Mid-Florida Winnies

February, 2020 brought the 3rd Annual Florida Chapters Reunion organized and presented by our friends, the Caloosa Winnies. Under Nancy Miller’s leadership as “Wagon Queen” and rally planner, the Caloosas put on a wonderful event. We were told that 163 rigs representing 22 states participated this year – down a little bit from 2019, but still a very fine turnout. We don’t have an exact count of Mid-Florida rigs, but our best, unofficial “guess” would be 22 rigs. Former MFW members Bob and Kathy Olson were there – boy, it was great to see them! It is also our educated guess that we were second only to the Caloosas for number of rigs present.

Speaking of Zopff, we learned that Tom and Donna were officially married on February 14, so the chapter’s reunion was their honeymoon! We had great fun kidding the newlyweds! On a serious note, we learned on Sunday that Brian Whittie was back in the hospital. His ongoing cancer treatments at the Moffitt Cancer Center left his immune system a bit depleted, so he was dealing with pneumonia among other things. (Brian and Linda have literally been living at Lazydays for five months so that Brian can be close to Moffitt.) Brian was discharged on Tuesday, so we got to see him after all. We wish Brian and Linda all the best as Brian continues his journey to good health.

Rigs began gathering on Sunday, February 16 with the remainder arriving on Monday, February 17, the “official” first day of the reunion. On Sunday, MFW Vice-President Bill Schilp had suggested that a few of us consider going out to dinner at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company brewery and restaurant in nearby Ybor City (Tampa). Our little group ended up being 25 and we had a great meal and fellowship at the brewery. The food was delicious and the drinks outstanding.

Monday being arrival day for many, there was no rally activity until the 3:30PM Happy Hour in the Rally Center. Snacks were provided by the hosts. General announcements took place at 5:00PM followed by our first rally dinner by the Lazydays caterers. Monday’s dinner was pulled pork with beans and veggies on the side. Some of us made the mistake of waiting until we finished our dinner before heading to the dessert table – only to find that the “good stuff” was long gone. Memo to us all: grab your dessert when you first go through the buffet line!
Many attendees stayed for Bingo after dinner.

Tuesday dawned another warm, sunny, beautiful day. We headed to breakfast at the Lazydays “Front Porch” Restaurant. Several seminars were presented in the Rally Center during the day including a presentation by Fantasy RV Tours, crafting, a flea market (lots of bargains!), the Sky Med luncheon, and technical seminars by Winnebago’s Tom Pilgrim. Happy Hour began at 3:30PM, announcements at 5:00PM, and the walking taco dinner (more like taco salad) at 5:30PM. The evening’s entertainment, Shania Live (a Shania Twain tribute singer) was a big hit.

Wednesday brought more of the same – lots of seminar programs, great weather, and great friends. Of course, we had breakfast at the Front Porch. Seminars included RV Awnings, a Swarovski jewelry class, a line dancing class, RV Quickshades, a Pampered Chef program, a microwave/convection class, an olive oil class, and “Operation Lifesaver” (railroad safety). Wednesday was vendor day with the vendors set up on the patio around the Rally Center. Happy Hour and dinner were combined this time with a 5:00PM heavy hors d’oeuvres party. Following was the “Glitz and Glamour Parade” featuring attendees dressed in 1920’s attire. After the parade, DJ Anthony Mac provided entertainment and dancing.

Thursday was also a warm one. There were a few showers in the area, but by and large, we stayed dry. After breakfast, a CPR seminar was presented. Many of our MFW members gathered for an informal meeting. Due to double scheduling of the Rally Center, we ended up meeting on the pool deck which worked out just fine. Former Eastern Area Reps Stewart and Tammy Smith joined us with a few comments. It was great to see them! An afternoon ice cream social was followed by Happy Hour at 3:30PM and a fried chicken dinner at 5:30PM. The Marlinaires provided a great show on Thursday evening – WOW, what talent!

We wrapped it up with a continental breakfast on Friday morning before hitting the road for home. It was a great gathering of Florida friends. BRAVO to the Caloosa Winnies for all their hard work!

May the wind always be at your back and the road always be straight and level in front. Please be safe until we meet again.


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