Dancin' on Sunshine: Florida Clogging Festival 2017, PART ONE

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Fancy Free Cloggers became snowbirds for the weekend as we traveled to the Florida Clogging Festival! We admit to texting a few smug photos to friends and family - it was 22 degrees back home when we took the competition stage! As usual, the trip was an adventure, and we have many stories to tell...

Friday

Plane travel gets interesting when you have a Star Wars routine. We consulted our friend Brian, who actually performs Star Wars fight scenes. He advised us to pack all the lightsabers and Princess Leia's blaster into a single box, mark it as "props," and check it. 

The problem was, the clogger who agreed to handle that ended up unable to leave work until 3:00 on Friday afternoon, making it VERY tight to get to the airport in time. Evie stayed behind to wait for him while everyone else went through security and headed to the gate. More on THAT in a minute.

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Dustin arrived with not even enough time to park and walk to the counter! He had to pull straight up to the check-in door so Evie could run out and grab the box. The lady at the counter said she got the box on the way with FIVE SECONDS to spare...

Dustin was then able to park the car and bring his carry-on bag through security. BTW, this was my first time using the phone app to check in and get my boarding pass. It is so convenient!

Security was exciting! I exited the body scanner to find a guard pulling a bag off the x-ray machine. It belonged to Jordan, one of our teenagers. As the guard took Jordan aside to question him about the bag, I'm thinking to myself that he packed a container of hair gel or some other toiletry that's too big. NOPE!

The carry-on bag (borrowed from a teammate unable to go on this trip) contained a BULLET, tucked into one of those little slots that would hold a pen or pencil. After checking everything out, the guard pointed at Jordan's bag and stated, "THIS can go." He held up the bullet and sternly announced, "This CANNOT go." It was nerve-wracking at the time, but became hilarious later! 

We spent the rest of the trip wondering why Sabrena had a random bullet in that bag. Her father picked us up from the airport when we returned home, and the mystery was solved. He apparently purchased the bag used at a flea market or some such place. He was unaware it included free ammunition!

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This was Molly's first flight ever! It was very cool for all of us to experience this with her. For the record, she was an excellent traveler, but we did have a few laughs before the plane took off.

During the safety demonstration, I looked back to find Molly intently studying the brochure from her seat pocket. The flight attendant can rest assured at least one passenger paid close attention that day!

The plane began to taxi and suddenly stopped. The pilot, with a delightful Australian accent, announced a minor issue with an engine requiring the equivalent of control-alt-delete. Molly's eyes were the largest I've ever seen them at that point!

After a brief delay, the plane was ready, and our flight continued without incident.

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Evie's niece picked us up at the Florida airport. Next time, we expect Steph to step up her game like these gentlemen! I believe they were from a limo service. When we stopped on the way to baggage claim to admire their fashion statement, they kindly posed for a photo. Thanks, guys!

Remember that five seconds to spare to get our prop box on the plane? It did NOT arrive on the plane! A staff member informed us it would arrive Saturday around 1:00. Luckily, the competition wasn't scheduled to start until afternoon.

Steph met us at the curb and we used our clown car talents to pile luggage and cloggers into her vehicle! Dinner and a trip to Publix followed. The Death Star model held by a character in our Star Wars routine is actually made of foil. We needed to create one for the competition, so off we went in search of the Death Star aisle...

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After a repeat clown car performance, Fancy Free Cloggers arrived at Steph's house to settle in for the night! Yep, you read this whole long post, and we haven't even clogged yet!

I will go ahead and say THANK YOU to Steph and Zach for hosting us all weekend!

THANK YOU to Andy Howard and everyone else involved in the Florida Clogging Festival!

If your team is thinking about a winter trip to Florida, go ahead and mark your calendars - next year's festival is set for February 10 & 11, 2018!

To Be Continued...

Do YOU have a good clogging travel story to share?