Galveston Bay Parrot Head Club
Glen Campbell sang about it. Pirate captain Jean Lafitte made it his headquarters. Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope performed there at a legendary nightclub some believe to have been the birthplace of the Margarita. It’s Galveston, and today the island and area along the bay it protects are home to one of the largest and most active Parrothead clubs, the Galveston Bay Parrothead Club.
Our story begins with Marcy Delesandri, a California girl who loved the ocean. After a move to Texas her thoughts turned tropical, and she joined the Houston Parrothead Club, then meeting near Johnson Space Center at a restaurant called Goin’ Bananas. Then Goin’ Bananas closed, the Houston Parrotheads moved their meetings north, and Marcy decided to start a club closer to the waters of Galveston Bay. In those days new club applications went directly to the source of all things Parrothead, Scott Nickerson, and the Galveston Bay Parrothead Club was born on December 6, 1995.
The club was based in Kemah, initially meeting at What’s Cookin’ near FM 518, then at the Brass Parrot on the Kemah Boardwalk. The Brass Parrot at the time was managed by Barry Terrell who would later become owner of several restaurants in the Kemah area and a major promoter of Trop Rock music. The combination of Marcy and Barry proved to be hugely successful. Weekly happy hours became a feature of the club, Marcy heavily promoted the club in the local press, and membership soared to 300 within a year.
Marcy had become PHiP Director of Conventions the last year Meeting of the Minds was held in New Orleans. But when the event moved from New Orleans to Key West, she decided to start her own event on a different island, Galveston. It began as a Parrothead Fest, held under a tent on the Galveston East Beach in 1998, but grew to become a three-day Trop Rock music festival and pool party that has been nominated for Event of the Year by the Trop Rock Music Association. The club has continued to grow as well and now has over 550 members.
After 23 years, phun is still the hallmark of the club, so much so that we have a board member dedicated strictly to phun. We have weekly happy hours at a variety of locations including an operating rum distillery, the first of its kind in Texas. You can find Galveston Bay Parrotheads at Astros games, Parrothead events throughout Texas and beyond, and anywhere you might hear a steel pan or conga drum.
What Makes Us Great:
Our major fundraiser, Riddles in the Sand, that Marcy Delesandri and Don Walker started under the tent on East Beach, is now in its 22nd year and will be held July 25-28 at the Victorian Condominium Resort in Galveston with our biggest musical lineup yet. There will be pool games, contests, silent auctions and raffles with the proceeds supporting Lighthouse Charity Team in Galveston, Shriners Hospitals and Alzheimer’s Foundation.
In April we return to our Texas roots and support Noah’s Ark Bayou Animal Sanctuary and Animal Alliance with a chili cookoff. Some of the best chili cooks in Galveston County bring their secret recipes and set up their cook stoves in the early morning under lavishly decorated tents for the task of turning a variety of meats and spices into mouth scorching delight. While waiting for the chili to cook, other teams create libations and baked goods all using Railean rum. Adding to the phun are raffles, auctions and musical entertainment. You can even go home with a four-legged phriend.
Over the years we have developed a close working relationship with Lighthouse Charity Team in Galveston, a dedicated group of volunteers who for over 28 years have helped feed thousands of people and helped other non-profits with their fundraising events by providing food cooked and served on site with custom trailers built by volunteers. Their volunteers cooked and delivered 15,000 meals in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to flood victims and first responders. Lighthouse does the cooking for many our events and is the major recipient of proceeds from Riddles in the Sand.
In addition to fund-raising activities, we also help our communities by donating our time and blood. We have a team in the Galveston Alzheimer’s Walk, prepare food packages for the Galveston County Food Bank, participate in conservation activities with the Galveston Bay Foundation, honor our departed veterans in Wreaths Across America and hold an annual blood drive for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
We have much to be proud of at Galveston Bay. We’re proud to have as members of the club some of the biggest names in trop rock music who drop by and share the stage at happy hours when not on tour. We’re proud to have the TRMA Venue of the Year, club member Barry Terrell’s T Bone Tom’s, here in Kemah. We’re proud to have the owners of the first legal rum distillery in Texas, Kelly and Matt Railean as club members and major sponsors of our events. We’re proud of our work with Galveston area charities. Most of all we’re proud to have been named a two-time winner of the Golden Coconut Award at Meeting of the Minds last year.
Learn More About Us:
If your idea of phun is sipping a cocktail in a pirate bar where the rum is made on the premises, listening to your favorite music at the TRMA Venue of the Year, or participating in a variety of community fund raising and volunteer activities, we would love to have you become a Galveston Bay Parrothead. For more information go to our website at www.gbphc.com, or better yet drop in at a club happy hour or event.