Beach Goes Pops History

In 1990 Millard Gamble, a Pass-A-Grille resident and St. Pete Beach volunteer and leader, joined with the Chamber of Commerce and St. Pete Beach City leaders to devise an event that could raise money for the Chamber and awareness for the City. A free beach concert plus a private dinner at sunset in Pass-A-Grille seemed to fit the bill. The City stepped up to help financially and became the major sponsor and has continued its generosity throughout these 27 years.

The first year, there were no outdoor foods served with only the private dinner seating on Saturday night as the means of raising funds (there was no Friday night event). The Florida Orchestra was the featured entertainment. So many people came that first year for the free concert that the next year food and drink for the public was made available for purchase. The event continued to grow and many community leaders took turns running the event. After the Florida Orchestra, the Tampa Bay Orchestra was the featured music for a few years and then director, Robert Romanski, formed the Beach Goes Pops Orchestra from musicians around the area. Next was Late Night Brass who thrilled audiences for the next two years. Returning for the second time, we are pleased to reintroduce The Paramount Band featuring Michele James-Pruyn. It has now become a favorite date for the visitors and the residents of St. Pete Beach to mark on their calendars.

The first recipient of funds from this event back in 1991, besides the Chamber, was a startup charity called "“"A Hole in the Wall Gang." It was a camp for chronically ill kids funded partly by Paul Newman, and had Beach Goes Pops not helped get it off the ground, we would not have what today in Orlando is called "“"Boggy Creek," a very successful camp for seriously ill children. The charities, for the last 10 years have been the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum and AMI Kids Pinellas Institute, a local facility serving "at risk" teens. Over the years, Beach Goes Pops has raised over $320,000 and are proud of this and the good uses for which that money has been designated.

The community associations of Pass-A-Grille and Vina Del Mar Island, while helping to provide volunteers over the years, took a leadership role 12 years ago in running the event and added Friday's pop music night to the calendar. It takes 180 happy volunteers to put this on, and it has become the Associations' signature event. The love of community and neighbors drives us as volunteers to produce Beach Goes Pops. We truly enjoy hosting this free concert for the citizens of St. Pete Beach and its visitors. We hope the setting on the beach with the sea breezes, postcard sunsets, wonderful food and drink choices, and great music puts a smile on your face.

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