SPRINGFIELD -- Rain started to fall outside of Boopalu’s Bar early Saturday morning, right when the Tickfaw River Regatta was set to begin.
The rain cleared up a bit after 20 or so minutes before returning in full force around 11:30 a.m., pushing the small crowd inside the riverside bar.
But that wasn’t enough to keep pals Lelaine Clarkson and Melissa McNabb from having a good time as they danced to the 1980s rock n’ roll and pop tunes that played on the jukebox, oblivious to the downpour outside as they swung each other around to the beat.
They weren’t going to let a little water spoil their day.
“We’re always going to have a good time,” Clarkson said.
It appeared they did, and later when the rain cleared, so did everyone else.
Despite the early weather scare, the sun came out long enough for people to enjoy water races, live music and food at the Tickfaw River Regatta, an all-day benefit for TARC that was held Sunday, Aug. 6.
TARC is a nonprofit organization out of Hammond that aims to “provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to realize their full potential, and to become self-directed and contributing citizens,” according to its website.
On Saturday at Boopalu’s, that’s what all the money raised went to as people gladly doled out their money for this charitable event.
And they had a good time spending that hard-earned cash, too.
The event was broken into three main competitions: a scavenger hunt, a homemade boat race and a costume contest. There were also goldfish races going on all day under one of the six tents that were set up just outside Boopalu’s.
There was steaming bowls of pastalaya and jambalaya for people to munch on as well as anything they could want to drink inside the bar. There were also “Regatta” t-shirts for sale as well as 50 custom-made posters of the event drawn by Melanie McKneely Taylor.
To top it off, New Orleans cover band “Bag of Donuts” entertained the few hundred people who had come with classic rock jams during a near three-hour show to cap off the event.
The fundraiser started with the scavenger hunt, which began around 10:30 a.m. and ended just before noon. Five teams took part in the hunt and boated up the Tickfaw River searching for the 25 items — in the rain.
They eventually filed into Boopalu’s one by one, wet clothes sticking to their soaked bodies but still bearing the various items. Charles Abrams, who was on the winning boat, used three words to describe the scavenger hunt as he dried his face.
“It was wet,” he matter-of-factly said.
The homemade boat race followed the scavenger hunt, with Bob MacDowell and Bill MacDowell taking first place atop “Swim Faster,” which was designed to resemble a shark. They beat out three other teams: “Night Invader,” “SS Redneck” and “Pipe Dreams.”
Though four teams took part in the boat race, only three finished after Randy Bryant and Michael Quave flipped the “SS Redneck” seconds into the race. No one was injured — and Bryant’s beer wasn’t harmed as he held it above the water for the cheering crowd to see.
Erica Abels and Cheyenne Landry, two graduates of Livingston Parish schools, won the costume contest later in the afternoon for their matching hula outfits.
But after the costume winners were announced, everything else gave way to the four-member band Bag of Donuts, a popular rock n’ roll cover band from the Crescent City that’s played together for 30 years.
Dressed and dolled up like the rock band Kiss, Bobby Hoerner, Kevin George, Jonathan Hoerner and Jerry Christopher entertained the crowd with a medley of hits such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Sublime’s “Santeria.”
At one point during the show, 23-year-old Emily Hinrichs — wearing her “Very Special Miss Louisiana” sash and crown — got on stage with the band and danced between Jonathan Hoerner and Christopher playing their guitars to “Play that Funky Music.”
And just in front of the stage — hours after dancing by themselves inside Boopalu’s while it poured outside — was Clarkson and McNabb, dancing as if they had never stopped.