A Jubilant Jubilee

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By JAYNE THURBER-SMITH

The 30th Chesapeake Jubilee got off to a delicious start courtesy of the Chesapeake Kiwanis Club. On Thursday evening May 16, the Kiwanis hosted their 34th Annual Shrimp Feast at the newly-renovated Chesapeake City Park. This is the Kiwanis’ major yearly fundraiser, and for $25, advanced purchased ticket holders enjoyed lively entertainment by The Deloreans, along with a feast of spicy shrimp, barbeque, baked beans, cole slaw, hushpuppies, ice cold beverages and wine.

Photo by Fred Hughes: Jimmy Jackson and John O’Keefe prepare barbecue for the Shrimp Feast crowd.

Photo by Fred Hughes: Jimmy Jackson and John O’Keefe prepare barbecue for the Shrimp Feast crowd.

Attendees also had the satisfaction of knowing that they were supporting many worthwhile causes in their hometown. Some of the beneficiaries of the Chesapeake Kiwanis fundraising include The Salvation Army, Kiwanis Kids Fishing Day, Chesapeake Schools After-Prom Parties, Chesapeake 4-H, the Christopher Gower Memorial, Chesapeake Humane Society and the Chesapeake Jail Ministry.

The Citizen of Chesapeake caught up with Shrimp Feast Chairman Buddy Cummings while he was working the well-fed crowd. He was happy with how well everything was going.

“This is the biggest event we do,” Cummings said, “and it takes a lot of dedication. I’m just a figurehead. It takes all of our 30-plus club members to make it work.”

Photo by Fred Hughes -  More than 2,000 people enjoyed the fantastic food and beverage at this year’s Shrimp Feast.

Photo by Fred Hughes – More than 2,000 people enjoyed the fantastic food and beverages at this year’s Shrimp Feast.

Also making it work were more than 50 enthusiastic teenagers from the four Kiwanis Chesapeake High School Key Clubs and also kids from their Middle School Builders Club at Greenbrier Middle School.

“It’s rewarding in so many ways to be able to commit your time and see your community benefit,” says Cummings.

The food couldn’t have been fresher, with the shrimp cooked right on the premises. Presiding over the fryers in a corner that they self-proclaimed the “Hush Puppy Kingdom” were a few more volunteers, the dedicated members of the Chesapeake Knights of Columbus #8240.

The rain held off for the feast, and thankfully the evening air cooled down slightly from the 90 degree heat in which the volunteers had to set up that afternoon. Everyone was able to eat, drink and be merry.

“The highlight of this event is to see all the funds we were able to raise for our 2014 budget, to help the children who need help,” says Cummings.

Cummings introduced to the crowd 40-year employee of the City of Chesapeake and a 30-year Jubilee participant, Jerry Ivory. He served as this year’s Chesapeake Jubilee Chairman.

“Everything’s going great,” says Ivory. “Great entertainment, great crowds, something for everyone from two to 92 years old.”

Jennifer Miciano and Alexis Garcia work hard to help feed the hungry crowd.

Jennifer Miciano and Alexis Garcia work hard to help feed the hungry crowd.

Buddy Bagley, who oversaw the “Thunder over Chesapeake” fireworks display on the Saturday night of the Jubilee weekend, agrees.

“The Chesapeake Jubilee is a really family-oriented event,” he commented to The Citizen after it was all over. “We had a 4-H tent, craft tent, rides; it’s been a very good thing, and I’m pleased to have been associated with it from the time it started.”

The 2013 Jubilee crowds weren’t quite as big as in the past. There was a lot going on in the area that weekend with various festivals and concerts to choose from, and the weather didn’t cooperate the entire time, with intermittent showers. Those who did attend were glad they did, especially Saturday night to see the $50,000 fireworks display.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but it was probably the best show we’ve had in 30 years,” Bagley insists. “It had stopped raining, the wind died down for us, and we had a beautiful show. From the sound of the crowd everyone really enjoyed it, and we had a lot of nice comments afterwards.”

The Zambelli Fireworks not only put on the display but were also a major sponsor.

Jerry Ivory, Chairman of this years Chesapeake Jubilee, addresses the crowd.

Jerry Ivory, Chairman of this year’s Chesapeake Jubilee, addresses the crowd.

“They’ve been lighting up our skies for 28 years now, and they do an amazing job,” says Bagley. “There wasn’t a dark spot in the sky for 28 minutes that Saturday night, I can tell you that, and it was all choreographed to music. There were backyard parties surrounding the park just to watch the fireworks. Down the street, Greenbrier Country Club rents out all their golf carts to their members so they can go out on one of the fairways of the golf course where they can watch also. They sell out every year.”

Bagley points out that the Jubilee is profitable for many organizations and businesses. The nearby churches and businesses get to charge fees for their parking spaces. Business people in general in the area benefit from all the carnival people coming into town and the money they spend while staying here.

“It’s really a win-win situation in every way,” he says, “but we couldn’t do the Jubilee if the people of Chesapeake didn’t support it. The city’s funds can only take care of so much. The business community is tremendous and very generous in helping us out. I also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who help to make it all possible.”

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