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Atlanta Parrot Head Club celebrating 30 years at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
A pirate (club) looks at 30
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Patrons enjoy the beach and lake at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands on Thursday, May 23, 2019. This will be the second year the complex has been open. - photo by Austin Steele

It’ll be five o’clock somewhere all weekend with the Atlanta Parrot Head Club as it celebrates its 30th anniversary July 12-14 at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.

The Jimmy Buffett-inspired club was the first of its kind in 1989 and has since encouraged a couple of hundred other clubs to sprout up across the world. 

And it all started with Scott Nickerson.

Atlanta Parrot Head Club 30th Anniversary

When: July 12-14

Where: Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford

How much: Member registration is $85; General registration is $90

More info: www.atlantaparrotheadclub.org

“It started off as an ad in the local paper for a bunch of people to meet up at a local bar,” said Brent Jones, the director for the anniversary celebration. “Scott would meet people at Jimmy Buffett concerts every year in Atlanta and it was lots of fun and they would have a good time together, but he wouldn't see those people again for another year, so I think his thinking was ‘Why not get these people together more regularly?’”

So that’s what he did. After getting the go-ahead from Buffett’s “people,” Nickerson started the club as a way to gather people with similar interests to hang out and do community service.

In honor of the original club’s 30th anniversary, the weekend-long party at Margaritaville will offer live music, a cookout, a slow boat cruise around Lake Lanier and plenty of people to hang out with during the jubilee. 

“It’s to really just have a good time, to sort of have some fellowship and have some fun,” Jones said.

Come Monday, the club will have raised some money for a good cause, which is another large part of why the Parrot Head Clubs exist. Part of the proceeds will go to Swim Across America, an organization that helps fund cancer research.

“The goal is to have a weekend-long event with a few different local musicians playing music, all sort of in the trop-rock style and hang out in the sun,” Jones said. “Sort of like a family reunion of sorts.”

Jones said he’s expecting around 200 people, boat drinks in hand, to be a part of the celebration with some coming from other Parrot Head Clubs out of state.

“Parrot Heads, in general, serve an interesting niche,” Jones said. “It's good escapism … We have jobs and lives, but the Parrot Head thing makes all of that irrelevant and everybody gets to get together, have some fun, do some good for others. It's a very social event.”

That’s the reason Jones joined the club in the first place years ago. He was looking for a way to socialize with people who had his same interests after his change in latitude when he moved to Atlanta. He was single and didn’t know anybody, so he showed up to one of the club’s meetings.

“I grew up in Florida where listening to Jimmy Bufett music is kind of required reading,” Jones said, laughing. “I was new to the town and so just in terms of what aligned with my interests, I became aware of the Atlanta Parrot Head Club … I met a cool group of people, we had a lot of fun together, and they had a big party coming up the following weekend with a band playing and the rest is history.”

Now, Jones is helping organize a big party for the club and inviting anyone and everyone to join him. He hopes to see the Atlanta Parrot Head Club grow through this event, or even see more clubs start in other areas.

“I don’t know what the magic is,” Jones said. “I imagine some of it's luck and some of it is chance and providence and some of it is, in retrospect, it all just sort of seems like it was destined. It just happened. And that's probably true for Jimmy Buffett's whole career.”

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