Meeting of the Minds Wrap Note for 2017 and more

Hello Parrot Heads!
Meeting of the Minds 2017 has come and gone with some wonderful memories remaining of all the great times we had down in Key West. I wanted to take a few moments during the holidays to recap the event and talk about what is ahead for 2018. Sorry if this is a long read but I want to thank many people for making everything happen this year!
“We’re Still Here” was our event name this year and was a phrase that summed up the 2017 Meeting of the Minds event in general after Hurricane Irma came through Florida and left a path of destruction in many areas. We were there and thankfully Key West was spared major damage unlike many neighbors in most all other directions. The 26th Annual Meeting of the Minds was down in attendance a bit as some folks elected to stay home after a huge sell-out year in 2016 with the 25th annual happenings. Some of our people who wanted to come this year lost their accommodations up the keys and we missed you all!  The 2017 concert schedule had Jimmy Buffett taking part of the band out to Hawaii for a show during MOTM and some of the normal MOTM crowd followed him out there… We did however have a nice crowd on hand and we all had a great time at the Casa Marina! Our crowd also filled Duval Street on Friday for two blocks solid as they enjoyed three great bands! 

What was accomplished in Key West at Meeting of the Minds? We had PHun! The weather was beautiful from beginning to end! Can I hear that again? The weather was perfect! We were surrounded by our PHriends! We raised some PHunds for some great charities and organizations to donate in 2018!  There was great music! We raised over $10,000 in scholarship raffle money for our college Keets for 2018 and beyond! We had 184 attendees attempt to donate at our blood drive. We collected 142 pints of blood this year which is great support for the local area! Thank you Jeff Hoffman for your support in keeping our blood drive rocking each year. Awesome! The MOTM toy drive produced boxes and boxes of toys plus gift cards.  Thanks Carl Wessling for all your support with the toy drive! The Salvation Army was extremely grateful for the donations!  Our shoe drive delivered over 400 pairs of shoes including shoes shipped in from people who could not attend this year! That is great support for the “Kids Come First” organization! Those shoes will help kids all the way up into the most heavily hurricane-damaged areas of the keys! This year Parrot Heads in Paradise gave away $16,000 raised at the 2016 MOTM to the “Key West Police Athletic League”, “The Sister Season”, and “Kids Come First” as well as a small donation to our 501c3 the Lone Palm Foundation! All of this donated money will be helpful to the residents of Key West and even up the Keys in other areas hit hard by the hurricane. 
Thanks to Rick Fyffe and Kathy Kaz along with all the awesome volunteers who kept registration flowing very smoothly this year! It gets better every year. The gift bag team set a record for setup and execution of the stuffing of the gift bags this year at 50 minutes! Teresa Burchwell and the Calypso Nuts have gotten this party down to a science! Our Mini Mart was sold out with more vendors that we have ever booked this year thanks to David Cohen our PHiP Secretary. We had the vendors flowing into the courtyard and there were vendors from all over the place! We had almost 100 people on our MOTM security team as well as a full crew from the Key West Police Department. Thank you To Jim and Val Dellocono all for your leadership and support as we had a massive crowd on the beach this year and our security team kept it all safely rocking! This is a testimony to your whole crew as well as preparation and pre-planning. I do want to give a shout out to the rest of the leadership crew. Your hard work was definitely an asset to Meeting of the Minds. Thank you!
I don’t want to leave out Charlene Schultheis. She pays all the bills all year round and spent a couple of days in her room working on numbers and internet banking while in Key West. Someone has to manage iPads, payments, checks, and other things. Nice work as the longest tenure board member to serve MOTM.
Our PHiP President Kathy Pfister  kept the club leaders brunch and general meeting rolling while our Membership Director Sue Kermis kept the side meeting and brunch organization going. Thanks gang…well done by all.
Our PHiP 501(c)3 charity arm, the Lone Palm Foundation, held a very successful auction for helping Parrot Heads with natural disasters. There was a hurricane t-shirt sell out that resulted in a photo shoot on Duval Street on Friday. Everyone in that photo made the front page of the Key West Citizen newspaper and our PHiP, Inc. Facebook page! All for Parrot Heads Helping Parrot Heads! Thank you all for your support. The money has been coming in and going out this year to help many recover from storm damage across our country and membership.
Thanks to Sara Kessler and Charley Gingrow for all the behind the scenes work on the MOTM convention guide. It looked great as always.
The Zonta walk featuring Team Parrot Head was very successful this year! The raffle baskets raised a very nice sum of over $8000 for 2018 donation to charity! Nice work Joe and Lorene Prorok for your passionate hard work with the raffle baskets! You rock!
All told…in 2017 as a result of fund raising attributed to the overall 2017 MOTM event was just over $40,000 from the Zonta Walk Run, Scholarship Raffle, MOTM raffle, and Lone Palm Foundation fund raising, Nice job across the board by all. Parrot Heads are amazing!
I want to say this was a great MOTM. I am VERY PROUD of all the support of the PHiP board, our long-time and new sponsors, sound and lighting crews, Key West City leadership, Key West Police and Fire Departments, committee leadership, volunteers, and attendees. I want to take a moment to thank every person who volunteered any moment of time during MOTM. Without every volunteer this event would never even get started. It is ALL ABOUT YOU…every one of you volunteers. Thank you. 
Thanks to everyone for helping with keeping the Casa Marina Resort as full as possible. This was a very tough year towards the end due to the uncertainty of the storm damage and the down time the hotel experienced from loss of local utilities and displacement of staff. The hotel did an amazing job of getting the place ready for us as they only opened two weeks before we got there! Did you see all that sand they hauled in? What a beach! The place looked great for MOTM 2017.The staff was awesome as always!
The Casa Marina is the place to be for MOTM as many people tell me year after year. There is so much music on site you could come to Key West and find it hard to leave the Casa during MOTM! We have to fill the Casa every year and you keep it full! You will find the 2018 rates will continue to be among the lowest in Key West especially for a Hilton Waldorf Astoria. 
Thanks to all the MOTM sponsors and MOTM supporters for the whole year. THANK YOU MARGARITAVILLE!! We cannot have this celebration without you and your contributions. Thanks Tech-Tronics for your usual outstanding sound and lighting. JL we missed you this year for the first time in a long time. Special thanks hanks to the local JL crew led by Rick Hume! The MOTM main stage is totally the best ever. Thanks to the crew at “Art of Sound” for the Sun Sun beach stage sound! 
I also want to thank all the musicians and bands that come to MOTM and provide FIVE days of awesome music for us. There was Trop Rock music from beginning to end almost half the night at times. I appreciate the support of all of the Coral Reefer Band we had in town and alumni traveling to Key West after a long tour leg right before our event!  Special thanks to the Peter Mayer Group for playing a set of two solid hours! I want to give a special shout out to the Devon Allman Project for bringing his brand new band to Key West and rocking the house. I heard nothing but praise for this set! 
The Beachside Album Hour was amazing with all of the support from Ramajay Intercoastal, special guests, Coral Reefer Band members, and alumni members Keith Sykes and Roger Bartlett.  It was awesome to hear an entire two album set of “You Had to Be There!” I have been told over and over how everyone loved Marshall Chapman and Will Kimbrough playing with the band of Casey Wood, Michael Utley, and Zebadiah Briskovich on Thursday. My email inbox has been buzzing with requests to bring them back to MOTM. Did I mention the crowd noise for the Peter Mayer Group after their set? It was amazing to hear that crowd roar from the stage. There were so many musical moments I could write about but there is no space here to do any of them justice. You should be at MOTM next year! There is only one Meeting of the Minds. 
Next Year marks the 27th Annual Meeting of the Minds. Planning has been underway for 2018 for several months now. I can tell you that there will be NO letup in entertainment. I plan to have as much music as we can afford in the schedule so get ready for the 2018 schedule announcement in a few short months. The exact date of the schedule announcement will depend on contract completions but I will get it to you as fast as I can! I already have some cool things on the hook and penciled in!
The dates for Meeting of the Minds 2018 and 2019 are on the web site. GET READY TO SETUP YOUR VACATION PLANS SOON! Here is the link to the dates for the event the next TWO years:
So before I close I want to pass on a few information items. Registration for the 27th Annual Meeting of the Minds 2018 will open as soon as everything is setup on our website. The Casa Marina will start taking reservations as soon as we finalize a few details.  Watch for my email to you in December! I will give you a one week in advance heads up via email and social media before going live with both the Casa Marina reservations and 2018 MOTM registration. THERE WILL BE CONTESTS for both registering for MOTM and registering to stay at the Casa Marina. More details on the contests will come soon!  
I will go ahead and say now…when we turn on registration go ahead and sign up EARLY for the things you want to help with. The most popular event to sign up for is the gift bag stuffing party and we cap that room at 125 people with no exceptions. It was completely filled in days last year. Register early if you want to participate with any special volunteer activities. Also remember that in 2017 the Casa Marina sold out in THREE SHORT WEEKS. I expect an early sell-out this year given the low Key West rates at the Casa and because it is the place to be to see awesome non-stop entertainment. More to come soon…watch for my email in December! 
Happy Holidays and until next time I’ll see you, down the road.
Andrew Talbert
Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc.
PHiP Director of Conventions
Meeting of the Minds 2018
Key West, Florida
“We are the People Our Parent’s Warned Us About”

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