Posted Online: Feb. 02, 2013, 9:57 pm

Parrot Heads party for Rebuilding Together

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Jack Wampfler of Davenport, left, dances with Carol Conyers of Davenport celebrating her 75th birthday at the Quad City Parrot Head Club annual Havana Day Dreaming party at the RiverCenter in Davenport Saturday evening Feb. 2, 2013.
DAVENPORT — Hundreds of people traveled to the Islands on Saturday night without ever stepping foot on a plane.

In flip-flops, shorts, sundresses, floral-printed tops, grass skirts and leis, upwards of 800 people filled the RiverCenter for the Quad City ParrotHeads' ninth annual "Havana Daydreamin'" fundraiser.

You'd never know that the bitter cold was just outside the doors.

You walk into the RiverCenter and "all of a sudden, you warm up," said Mike Koester, QCPH social director and this year's event chair. "You're not in the Midwest. You're in the islands."

Each year, the QCPH club chooses a local charity to receive the event's proceeds. This year, the club has selected Rebuilding Together Quad Cities, a local affiliate of a national nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing free home repairs to homeowners in need.

Mr. Koester said the annual event raises about $35,000.

There are about 200 Parrot Head social-charitable clubs throughout the nation, Mr. Koester said, all dedicated to the music and carefree lifestyle of Jimmy Buffet and giving back.

The crew was busy "partying with a purpose" Saturday night, Mr. Koester said.

"We like to party, we like to have a good time, but we're doing this for charity."

Mr. Koester said that the folks who came "left their worries at the door." They were there to "have a good, tropical night and then go back to work on Monday."

Folks from all over the Midwest and beyond came out, hailing from Detroit; Lincoln, Neb.; Springfield and more, most belonging to Parrot Head clubs in those areas.

The elaborate stage at the front of the room boasted lights and huge palm trees, and clusters of people congregated in front of it to jam out with Scott Stowe, Whoozdads and Friends, the Boat Drunks and John Patti, a nationally known steel drum player.

Others sat with friends at tables spread throughout the room, with sand buckets and beach balls for centerpieces.

It's "kind of a break from winter," said Nancy Ronek, of Dubuque, who came out with her husband, Al, and the Dubuque Phlockers, another Parrot Head club. "It makes you think of summertime and the tropics."

Ms. Ronek said the Parrot Head events were "all about giving back to the community," adding that the Dubuque group's annual island event is coming up on April 27.

Ms. Ronek said she enjoys coming to the Quad-Cities to meet people and network, plus the Boat Drunks are a great band.

"It's always a lot of fun," she said. Jimmy Buffet, his music and his following of Parrot Heads is "all about having fun and getting along ... leaving your work behind, leaving your stress behind and having a good time."
For more information about the QCPH club and upcoming events, visit qcph.com.