Chapter Nine by Frank Katzenmeyer
The Sugar Palm was not just a place to go dance every weekend or from time to time; it was a way of life for a lot of us, and continues today. Barbara and Bob (the owners) were there almost every week, but most people did not know who they were, they were so laid back. Barbara and I danced frequently, but Bob did not dance. We had conversations many times and he was as nice a Gentleman as they come. Both of them never tried to be Hi-Browed.
-The Dance Floor-
A Vintage "Street Pop Corn Machine on wheels" was found and became a hit in the Martini Room. Popcorn with a drink. But I found that taking a few trays to the tables in the ballroom was a good way of meeting people and welcoming new ones. Especially the Ladies liked the individual attention.
-Roy and Carol Ann-
Even though Karaoke Machines were not around in the 1940's one was brought in by one of the guys. It too was a hit. Some more talent was found, and now we were singing in the Martini Room. Smoking in the Martini Room, not only cigarettes, but always some Ybor City cigars in a case. After all Ybor was the Cigar Capitol of the world.
Not all activity was upstairs (but most of it). Some people liked to hang out downstairs. Most evenings one of the bars was open and it was a little more quiet. A dimly lit back staircase led down to the back lounge. It was creepy but I had a lot of fun showing the ladies down the back passage.
-A Fun Night-
Christmas and New Years was going to be big at The Sugar Palm. When most businesses were closed on Christmas, the Club was open Christmas Night and drew a large crowd, and people thanked us. On Friday December 25th Dan Electro and The Silvertones played. The next night Saturday December 26 the 42nd St. band played. The dancing continued on Sunday Night with mostly the younger set.
New Years Eve, Thursday December 31, 1998 Friday January 1, 1999 and Saturday January 2, 1999 was all a huge success. " The Last of the International Playboys" from NYC was hired for all three gigs. Sam, The Bar Manager came out on New Years Eve in good spirits as the New Year Baby dressed in a diaper and a pacifier in his mouth.
-Taylor and Larry-
To be continued...