More than 2,000 turned out to play "redneck games" and enjoy music and family fun at the inaugural Labor Day Family Festival & Redneck Games held at the German American Club.
"We expected about 1,000 attendees but estimate our attendance to be have been more than 2,000," said North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Jackson. "It was a wonderful success, we can't wait to get started on next year."
This was a signature event long in the planning by the chamber.
The Calendar Girls of Southwest Florida performed a salute to Spam at the Labor Day Family Festival & Redneck Games, led by Calendar Girl Katherine Shortlidge.
"We plan on having next year's event again on Labor Day," Jackson said.
One draw was the fact the event only carried a $2 admission charge and offered free parking.
"We heard over and over again how affordable it was for families to come and enjoy the day together," said Jackson. He said attendees came from many areas in Southwest Florida. "We also had one couple that came from the east coast to be part of the day - they learned about it on the Internet.
"Some of our guests that day said they had so much fun they want to come back as volunteers next year."
He said adults and children alike enjoyed the unusual games, which included contests for largest tattoo and the best mullet, as well as the crowning "Redneck Six-tathlon," where contestants were timed to stack tires, toss a remote control, eat a Spam sandwich, hang up wet laundry, roll tires back and ring a dinner bell with a fly swatter.
"Kids said their favorites were the popular toilet seat and bean bag tosses and the backyard bowling where they attempted to knock over trash cans with tires."
Besides the unusual games, there was great music, including that provided by the popular bluegrass Skeeterland Band, and a "Salute to Spam" by the Calendar Girls of Southwest Florida.
"Redneck Wiener Dog Races" were also a crowd pleaser, along with the Hot Rod and Classic Car Show.
Mario Spalletta of Cape Coral was one of the classic car enthusiasts, who brought his turquoise '54 Chevy pickup to the event.
"It took a year and a half to rebuild this," he said. "I like classic car shows - especially the people," he said.
Katherine Shortlidge of the Calendar Girls led a "Salute To Spam" with her group on its 75th year anniversary.
"Seventy-five years ago the first can of Spam rolled off the assembly line at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minn.," she said. "It was considered a wartime delicacy- American soldiers consumed 50 million cans of Spam per week during world War II."
Jackson thanked all involved, from chamber members to volunteers to local businesses who had booths at the event, and to master of ceremonies John Nichols from John Nichols Music.
"When you do a first-year event you never know how well it will be received by the community," said Jackson. "This was a wonderful success and we are grateful to the community and our amazing volunteers."
For information on any North Fort Myers Chamber event, call the chamber at 997-9111 or go to nfmchamber.com.