Florida RV Park Band Stays in Tune with the Times
Musically talented residents of Southern Charm RV Resort in Zephyrhills, Fla., usually draw a crowd when they get together twice a week to play a little bluegrass, country or rock 'n' roll.
But these days the RV resort's pickup band and its audience are getting smaller by the week as snowbirds pack up and leave their winter homes to return North, the Tampa Tribune reported.
All across Zephyrhills the story is the same at RV parks, mobile home parks and other locales that cater to Canadians, Michiganders and other northerners who prefer to spend the winter in Florida, far from the snow that blankets their hometowns.
"Most of them leave in April," said Denise Provencher, owner of Kelly Korner RV Park. "That is kind of the big month for the exodus."
The arrival of snowbirds to the RV park she operates with her husband, Bryon, is more scattered. Some show up in October and November. Others arrive between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest make it in January.
"We love seeing them come," Provencher said. "It's a great job. We meet people from all over the country and Canada."
The Provenchers hail from New Hampshire but came to Florida five years ago intent on buying an RV park. They looked at a few around the state, but nothing clicked until they got word of Kelly Korner RV Park in Zephyrhills.
"It was a fluke," Provencher said. "We happened to know somebody who knew somebody who was selling their park."
One look and the Provenchers knew "it was the one," she said.
The park has 33 sites and about one-third of the residents stay year-round, she said.
Summer isn't that slow, even with the winter residents gone. The Provenchers use that time to take care of maintenance needs.
There's also plenty to do right now for all the snowbirds as they pack and prepare to say goodbye to Pasco County.
The April newsletter for Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Estate and RV Park includes handy tips for those about to embark on their journey back north.
Some are fairly basic, such as disconnect the electricity, turn off the water supply, stop delivery of the newspaper and arrange for the post office to forward mail to the Northern address.
Others could qualify as good housekeeping hints, such as: "Put a dozen ice cubes down the garbage disposal with 2 or 3 tbsp. baking soda to clean it."
Even as the snowbird season wanes, the remaining members of the pickup band at the Southern Charm RV Resort try to get in a few final strums.
When winter is in full bloom, the musicians often break up into two to three groups playing country, bluegrass and more recently rock 'n' roll.
"There's always been music in the park since we came here 23 years ago," said Margaret Catto of Kincardine, Ontario, as she listened to her husband, Nute, play with the group last week.
He was among five Canadians and three Michigan residents who picked, strummed and fiddled their way through an informal concert.
Fun stuff, but nothing compared to those days when the winter-resident season was at its zenith.
"Girls line-danced in the street before it got too hot," said Glenna Lou Nelson of Ludington, Mich.