Phuketindex went along to savour the atmosphere at the picnic party hosted in the grounds of the new HeadStart International School, Kathu. It was open not just to Americans & Uncle Sams in red white & blue stars + stripes, but also many other residents, bringing both expats and Thais together in a relaxed communal atmosphere. The Navy League Phuket (NLP)’s first ever public & free fun event for families was held last Sunday on 4th July, partly to celebrate US Independence Day but also the NLP’s official inauguration.
There were plenty of American Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, smoky BBQ Ribs, Potato Salad, Roasted Corn, Pop Corn, Tex-Mex Tacos, S’mores (roasted marshmallows, chocolate sandwiched between two crackers), Apple Pie, Cotton Candy and of course all washed down with American Beer, specially imported & iced Slushies.
There were free play areas for children like bouncy inflatable castles & slides, Headstart’s covered play ground and even some old American jeeps on display which the kids pretended to drive in. Face painters, balloon creators and clowns were laid on, and later they were going to play some other sports Yankees like: egg tossing, Frisbee throwing; Hula Hoop contests; Barrel rolling races; Watermelon seed-spitting contest; and even Banana eating + soft drink contests.
To get everyone in the mood there was American 4th of July music & on stage a live local band called Rockin’ Angels.
The official opening was held about 2pm even though Mr Niwit Arunrat, Phuket Deputy Governor, could not attend. Denny Bowman, Secretary of NLP, acted out his opening speech instead.
Then Jimmy Madigan, President of NLP, spoke ‘briefly’ but at length about their roles and achievements since September last year including looking after 26 US Navy ships visits to Phuket, with more due soon, as it is still considered the Number 1 stopover in the region, even despite the recent tuk-tuk taxi blockades at the Deep Sea Port. The NLP help liaisons with local authorities and hope to increase Thai membership and cooperation to improve relationships & solve any minor problems.
Then the flag ceremony was held with the singing of the US national anthem.
Jimmy also stressed that the non-profit organisation helps the US sailors renovate many local schools and orphanages during their ComRel visits, so this party also raised funds for that renovation equipment. He also told Phuketindex later that they hope to arrange public tours on board visiting US ships and more sports contests with Thai clubs.
Then the U.S. Embassy’s Consul General and Counselor for Counselor Affairs, Mr. Ronald S. Robinson, delivered special proclamation remarks sent from the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for this and other July 4th parties around the world.
Finally, their important Chartering Ceremony for the Navy League Phuket’s official ‘Thailand Southern Seaboard Council’ designation was presided over by Mr Bill Waylett, Senior Director of Regional Activities, Navy League of the United States. He expressed his hope that a US navy cadet scheme could be set up in Phuket as in other countries. He presented a special charter plaque to the board members, to add their collection from ships, and a pin to the President, then conducted a swearing-in oath for the board. In return the board presented him and Mr Robinson souvenir flags from Lions Club who assist the Navy League, and each a Thai ‘pah kamah’ belt-like waist sash cloth emblazoned with Phuket Navy League Patches.
In addition to the many volunteers, The Phuket Navy League thanked the following sponsoring companies and individuals for helping make this great picnic even greater: Siam Foods, Makro Phuket, Anantara Phuket Villas, Phuket Classic Car Club, Environmental Solutions, Rabco Engineering Asia, Phuket FM Radio 91.5, LisAndi Business Development, HeadStart International Academy, Khun Woody’s Bakery, Jaspal Tailors, Karon Cliff, Steve Lantz, John Cooper and Don Constanzo.
This event was a great volunteer effort and enjoyable event for all. You can help at future events and get more info at www.navyleaguephuket.org