None of us had ever been to England Brothers Park in Pinellas Park, so we drove around until someone directed us to park in their front yard for $15. We complied. Then we hiked next to a canal to a back gate for the event.
Here we are waiting to get frisked:
Then we felt like we were cheated because we didn’t get frisked. But they inspected our bags and let us in.
We entered the park right behind the main stage, where Foghat and Joan Jett would be playing, among others.
I had heard that this event gets packed, but it had been raining all day up until we got there around 2:00, so the crowds were just starting to form.
We made our way through all the tattooed people clad in Molly Hatchet shirts and headed towards the vendor area. Of course we got sidetracked by this photo op:
I was in the vicinity of Katey Sagal! The three of us were there because we are such big Sons of Anarchy fans. The vendors at a biker jam are awesome!
I may have come home with a black leather bejeweled and studded belt.
The rains had caused the midway to become sort of a mud pit.
Here’s the celebrity general admission meet and greet stage, where I would soon (relatively) be meeting Katey Sagal and beginning our lifelong friendship:
I should have taken more photos of all the awesome vendors’ wares, but I got scared off by one leather-clad lady who admonished me not to take photos of the original artwork (in her case it was a motorcycle wind chime). OK.
There were many bike shops there and they were happy for you to take photos of their beautiful motorcycles on display.
They know how to throw a party in Pinellas Park, and had full liquor in addition to wine and beer.
They even had club soda, so I could have a NorCal margarita sans lime, otherwise known as tequila and club soda.
Laurel and Lily grabbed a piece of pizza from the row of deep fried goodness…
and we got in line for the GA celebrity meet and greet. It was around 2:40 and the meet and greet was supposed to start at 3:00. We were maybe 30 or 40 people back in the line which continued to form behind us immediately. While we stood there eating and drinking we entertained ourselves by people watching.
I pretended to take a photo of this motorcycle…
while actually taking a photo of this chain-linked couple:
At first we thought he had her on a leash, then we couldn’t decide who actually had who on a leash. Sweet.
3:00 p.m. came and went and we were still standing in line. No biggie. Celebrities are always late. We got to know the people in line around us.
Best mustache of the day (and there were many):
We were also highly entertained by this Zack Galifianakis look-alike. He was somehow with the band that had performed on the small stage earlier and for a while was sitting under their merch tent in a chair sound asleep with hundreds of people all round him. He would get up every now and then and stumble around a little.
By 4:00 p.m. or so we were getting tired of standing in line, so we sat.
5:00 came and went and we were getting worried about whether we were actually going to get to look into Theo Rossi’s eyes or not.
Finally, a little before 6:00 p.m. there was a commotion, and we knew that the celebrities had arrived.
It was still a while before the line actually started moving, so Laurel and I walked over to the front of the stage where all the sad people without meet and greet tickets were ogling the celebs.
There was Katey…behind that metal barricade!
Ahhh, we were excited now. What is it about getting physically close to a celebrity that you admire? It’s just such a rush.
We got back in line as it was slowly inching towards the stage.
It was sprinkling off and on all afternoon while we waited in line. The sun would come out and it would be hot, then it would go behind a cloud and we’d get chilly, then it would rain a little. We all came prepared.
Others were jealous of our umbrellas.
Almost there…on the ramp!
Look at these sad people with no M&G ticket:
Here’s Lily getting ready to chat up Theo Rossi:
And Laurel asking Katey how she liked the Florida weather:
And Theo asking Lily what we were doing after this:
Kim Coates actually had a conversation with me! He said, “I’m sorry that we can’t spend more time with each fan.” I was totally tongue-tied and mumbled, “I don’t see how you do it.” He replied, “Neither do we.” They were all so nice and genuinely made a point of looking at each fan and speaking with them.
I was totally star-struck. Gemma is my idol. You can tell from the following photos that she really bonded with me also:
We were pretty miserable and grumpy after standing in line for over three hours, but as we walked down the ramp off the stage all three of us were totally happy. We had a great fan experience. The meet & greet tickets were an extra $20 and we all felt like we had gotten our money’s worth. We had to stop for more cardboard cut-out photos on our way out.
We met so many interesting, nice people at the biker jam.
It was around 6:30 and we were all tired and satisfied so we decided we didn’t want to hang around until after 7 to hear Joan Jett. However, the field had really filled in since when we had arrived earlier.
Thanks for inviting me to go with you guys Laurel! It was a really fun day, despite the rain and the standing in line. Let’s do it again some time!