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Beach Blast 17 • May 13-15, 2011

Every year we here at Mike Kelly’s Cruise News host our Beach Blast car show, and always look forward to a fun weekend with everyone. Even though this was the 17th Annual, it also contained some “firsts”. One was that we officially made it a 3-day event, taking place on May 13-15, 2011. For many years it has basically been a 3-day event anyway, since participants would show up so early, so we decided to go ahead and make it official.

Another “first” included expanding the number of vehicles that could register to 280, which we once again sold out through pre-registration well in advance of the show date. Since its inception the Beach Blast had always been limited to 200 vehicles, since that was the amount of space the hotel was willing to allocate to us. But with a change in ownership the previous year, the newly named International Palms Resort at 1300 N. Atlantic Ave. (A1A) in Cocoa Beach allowed us to expand this year. We had a good plan in place, but with the heavy rain storms that moved through central Florida on Saturday, and the possibility of rain on Sunday (neither of which hit the Cocoa Beach area as it turned out), some of the 280 pre-registered participants decided not to attend. That meant our expansion area was left pretty much empty on Sunday - with all the vehicles in attendance filling the usual parking areas utilized in previous years to full capacity. Had the weather forecast been better we would have filled the expansion area too, and I’m sure that is what will happen next year.

Yet another “first” was obvious to those in attendance - Love Bugs flying everywhere. Yeah, in Florida we always have them in the spring and fall, making cleanup of our cars more tedious...but this was of Biblical proportions. I’ve never seen so many, and hopefully never will again. It was truly a freak of nature that we’ve never experienced during our Beach Blast before, or at any other time for that matter. We set up a “Love Bug Cleaning Station” on the side of the hotel with a hose, buckets and microfiber sponges to allow those arriving to get the pesky critters off the front of their vehicles. It certainly didn’t keep anyone from still having a great time all weekend long, but it was a memorable aspect of the event this year.

Once again the event was made possible by our main sponsor, Ron Hassel of All-Midwest Sales, a major parts manufacturers’ representative company. Advance Auto Parts also returned to not only co-sponsor the show, but also be the main door prize sponsor. These two companies make it possible for us to host the Beach Blast every year, so keep them in mind when you need something for your show car, or your daily driver.

Most of the credit for making the show run so smoothly once again goes to the great volunteers who help us with the big chore of keeping the parking procedure organized, and doing whatever it takes all weekend long. That includes Bob Arnold, Jack Messemer, Billy Craft, Ed Fitzpatrick, and new addition Mike Allen. Without them we would be lost, so words can not express our gratitude enough. Thanks also goes to Golf Carts Unlimited in Titusville (321-268-4882) for lending us several carts to get around quicker and easier, which makes a really big difference over the 3-day show. Call them with all your cart needs.

Friday and Saturday were the informal days, with everyone hanging out, getting acquainted, checking out the vehicles, and just relaxing in the beach setting. Butch and Jennifer Johnston of WJBJ Cruisin’ With The Classics once again provided the great tunes throughout the event, plus Jennifer headed up some really big 50/50 drawings every day. Registration packets were distributed in the evenings, and included a magnetic dash plaque and one free T-Shirt with great original Beach Blast artwork by Adam Icenogle, both printed by Daytona Trophy.

Vouchers for promenade parking were given out to about 55 vehicles based on a first come first served basis, with those vehicles moving into the promenade area on Saturday morning starting at 10:00am. This meant that on Sunday the majority of the vehicles were already in place, making everything run smoothly as the remainder of the participants arrived. Participant voting took place on Sunday, determining the recipients of the awards, which were expanded to Top 50 with the new 280 vehicle format, plus Specialty awards. Door prizes were given out on Sunday at 3:00pm, but this year instead of taking place on the Ocean Deck directly on Cocoa Beach, it had to take place inside one of the hotel’s conference halls due to the lovebugs. The door prizes were followed by the awards, and finally another huge 50/50 raffle.

Though the show ended on Sunday, we stayed over at the hotel to witness the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on Monday morning. It was the second to last Shuttle launch, and was neat to witness. In 2010 participants also got to see Atlantis launch on Friday afternoon, but sadly there will be no more Shuttle launches since the program is now shut down. We look forward to the next era of NASA, as many auto enthusiasts who live along the Space Coast are employed at Kennedy Space Center, and we wish them the best through this time of transition.

Thanks again to all those who came to this year’s event, and to Ron Hassel of All-Midwest Sales and Advance Discount Auto Parts for making the show possible. Pre-registration for next year’s Beach Blast 18 will open on January 1st, 2012, with printable registration forms available on our web site (here), plus there will be forms in the January issue of our printed magazine. However, as always don’t delay. Even with the expansion to 280 spots for 2011 we sold out through pre-registration well in advance of the show. We hope to see everyone again next year, and continue the tradition of fun in Cocoa Beach! CN


Best Paint:
John Canepa • 1962 Chevy Impala
Best Engine: Gerry Houck • 1941 Lincoln Zephyr
Best Interior: Sam & Carol Mascia • 1956 Chevy Bel Air
Tom Staggs Memorial: Sherwin Kiesshauer • 1965 Dodge Coronet
Cruise News Choice: Don Shollenbarger • 1956 Chevy Nomad
Best Of Show: Tim & Debbie Brown • 1961 Chevy Impala

TOP 50:
Chris Zieman • 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger Convertible
Linda & Lou Zibrin • 1931 Ford Woody
John & Donna Rio • 1966 Ford Fairlane
Charles Scott • 1972 Dodge Challenger Rally
Don Sivalia • 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible
Jeff & Linda Cervenka • 1962 Chevy Corvette
Ronald & Renee Adamson • 1961 Cadillac
Jeff Sawicki • 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Kelcie Losh • 1964 Chevy Nova
Edward Azzopardi • 1954 Chevy 3100 Pickup
Steve & Donna Berry • 1968 Plymouth GTX
Len Freiheit • 1950 Mercury Coupe
David & Jennifer Hanks • 1970 Pontiac LeMans Sport
Benny L. Spence • 1940 Ford Coupe
Mike & Peggy Defrancisco • 1964 Ford Econoline Pickup
Laura & Russell Woodworth • 1959 Chevy Impala
Bill & Melanie Porter • 1946 Hudson Commodore Eight
Philip R. Holz • 1954 Buick Century Estate Wagon
Will Kendricks • 1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Steve Edenfield • 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Dave Hudick • 1966 Chevy Nova
Frank Dillander • 1937 Chevy Coupe
Kenneth Smith • 1937 Plymouth Convertible
Darrell Johnson • 1962 Chevy Impala SS Convertible
Robert Ridner • 1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible
Ken Beckum • 1971 Mustang Convertible
Keith Pisut • 1941 Willys Cabriolet
James Newberry • 1941 Willys Coupe
Mike & Cheryl Pocquette • 1961 Chevy Impala
Curt & Sue Land • 1933 DeSoto Coupe
Brian Moss • 1965 Chevy Nova
Gene Tanner • 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Jack Klingel • 1952 Chevy Tin Woody
Bill & Jane Nice • 1947 Chevy Coupe
Charlie Rose • 1957 Chevy Bel Air
Karel Watkins • 1938 Lincoln Zephyr
Bob Gilliam • 1955 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop Custom
Steve Clary • 1959 Ford Skyliner
Dan & Liz Zapico • 1951 Nash Station Wagon
Jimmy Polk • 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Judy & Wayne Newkirk • 1969 VW Karmann Ghia
Leslie Marbais • 1953 Ford F100 Pickup
Tom South • 1932 Ford 2-Door Sedan
Tom Nichols • 1940 Ford Convertible
Ron Hickman • 1932 Ford 3-Window
Tom Brown • 1962 Dodge Dart
Richard Small • 1962 Corvette Convertible
Danny Fernandez • 1963 Cadillac Series 62
Ron Simmons • 1937 Ford Convertible
Dan & Sharon Pergamo • 1956 Chevy Bel Air