Brian Neale, who has performed Jimmy Buffett’s hits to fans around the world and once even shared a stage with Buffett, is one of the performers taking part in this weekend’s Margarita-Ville Beach Party at The Dock on Princess. (KJ SIKKEMA PHOTOGRAPHY)
Parrotheads rejoice — The Dock is hosting its first Margarita-Ville Beach Party this weekend.
Staff have been working nonstop for the past few days to transform the pub’s parking lot into a Caribbean beach town, according to Dock manager Jamie Munro.
"We’re going to take you to the Caribbean," he said. "When people drive by and actually see what we’ve been up to, they’ll be amazed."
A drink from an Austin, Texas, bar and later a trip to Key West, Fla. inspired Jimmy Buffett to write the 1977 hit song "Margaritaville," which grew to define his career with its depiction of the laid-back lifestyle of tropical climates.
Since 1985, the crooner has opened more than 25 Margaritaville restaurants across North and Central America, often visited by fans — themed with Caribbean foods, drinks and Jimmy Buffett merchandise.
co-owner of The Dock) is a huge Buffett fan, and it was sort of his idea to have this theme party," Munro said. "The fans really come out of the woodwork — it’s interesting to see how far his reach stretches."
The weekend-long party features local performers Reigh Kilbride, Misty Street, Bullruckus, Pour Boys, a wing eating contest and four performances from Jimmy Buffett tribute artist Brian Neale.
"If you can’t get Jimmy, I’m the next best thing," Neale said over the phone from Toronto.
Spending his winters performing in small Caribbean towns and his summers in North America, Neale has performed Buffett’s hits to fans around the world.
"I’ve got two of my own albums, and I’ll play some Neil Young, some Eagles — but especially when they’re down in the Caribbean they like this (Jimmy’s) kind of music," he said.
Never having been to Brandon, Neale joked that he’s probably flown over it a few times. He said he’s excited to take part in the inaugural event, and will probably take in a round or two of golf if he has time.
On stage in Toronto, Neale performed alongside Buffett in 2008, scoring a signed guitar and approval from the man himself.
"He knows who I am, and he knows what I do. It’s cool," he said.
This weekend’s event is an example of what Renaissance Brandon chair Shaun Cameron said is needed to let Brandonites know there is life after dark downtown.
"It takes a committed group of businesses to bring people downtown," he said. "The opportunity to have it outdoors and get people on the street is great, and I hope other businesses get a few ideas from it," he said.
Hoping for a successful weekend, Munro said he’ll have a better idea of how the event can expand in following years on Monday.
"We’re still in our first year of business and trying to build that regular clientele — but once in a while you have to roll up your pants and have great party," he said.
More information can be found at The Dock on Princess’ Facebook page.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 8, 2013