Read Across Lawrence brings kids to the bar

Something you probably don’t see every day: thirty kids, in a bar, without their parents.

That was our day yesterday at the Sandbar.

Our friends at the Lawrence Public Library are hosting Read Across Lawrence, an annual community reading event, and this year’s selection for kids is “Turtle in Paradise.” The book is about a turtle who heads for Key West, and the hurricane of 1935 is featured in the book.

Read Across Lawrence includes educational events to go along with the book, so, naturally, it made sense to hold an event at the Sandbar. Where else in Lawrence can you find a little bit of Key West, and a lot of hurricanes?

So yesterday, about thirty kids got their first taste of the Sandbar as they moved between three educational stations and learned about the science behind hurricanes from UKanTeach students.

After about 45 minutes of learning, the kids got to experience the famous indoor hurricane, complete with the cheesy video and napkins flying through the air.

This might be the cutest thing ever:

Once it was over, the kids got a souvenir strand of beads to take home with them.

A funny thing that happened: as he got his beads, one kid asked Dave “can I have a mustache?”

Dave and I looked at each other in a bit of shock. “How does he know about mustaches?” we wondered.

But we just got the box of mustaches and started handing those out, too.

Thanks, Lawrence Public Library and parents, for letting us be part of Read Across Lawrence!

Our Magical Digital Portal

I have several different online notifications set up to send me an e-mail whenever there's a mention of the Sandbar online- Google alerts and are two of my favorites. Often, the alerts I get have nothing to do with our Sandbar, but every once in awhile I get something good.

Recently, I hit the jackpot with one of the strangest and funniest Sandbar mentions ever.

It appears that some teenagers in Austin who are interested in various internet and computer activites stumbled upon our webcam. They were so fascinated with this "magical digital portal" into the strange world of Kansas that they dedicated an entire page on their website to us.

Here's what they had to say:

Once upon a time, three friends stumbled upon a magical digital portal into the unknown world of Kansas. Through this portal, the friends witnessed a strange religious ritual centering around an artifact of pure crystal and shaped like a soccer ball. Fascinated by these practices, the friends captured a link to this portal and began using it every week as a cheesy segment in their semi-comedic podcast. And now the link has been placed here for all to see. Gaze in upon the Sandbar and its bizzare events if you dare…But don't expect much, it's not really that interesting.

Obviously, the strange religious ritual they are witnessing is the hurricane show and dance, and the soccer ball-shaped crystal artifact is the white Christmas light hanging in the center of the bar.

I looked around their site for the podcast that supposedly features us as a cheesy segment- I could only find one link to a podcast (click here to listen to it), and it's really long. I haven't listened to all of it yet so I don't know if they actually talk about the Sandbar or not.

We're happy that we could humor some kids in Austin with the crazy things we do in Kansas. When you turn 21, take a road trip and visit us- we think you'll find our bar a lot of fun.

Sandbar Hurricane Video #4

The fourth Sandbar hurricane video made its debut in 2005. We said farewell to the local studio and went off on our own to film this one. The studio was great, but we're not professionals (obviously) and trying to deal with teleprompters and filming segments out of order just confused us.

We experimented with a "green screen." The idea was to drop in a cool background, but we didn't know what we were doing so we just left it green. It's kind of a funny joke to us now.

This video was the first to feature Phil as King Neptune in front of our giant fish tank. If you look closely, you can see Dave in the upper left corner, reflected in the fish tank. Former mayor Marty makes his fourth appearance in the hurricane video as he rides to the Sandbar on his Harley to warn us of the imminent danger. Notice, also, the former facade of the Sandbar.

This video starred Dave and Debbi as the anchors. It was also our first experiment with the news crawl across the bottom of the screen- be sure to read those, they're funny. We made up silly stuff about our staff and some regular customers.

Patrick gave up his role as a hurricane expert, and instead traveled to Bongo Bongo to speak with a real hurricane expert. Coleen reprised her role as the local weather girl, until an unfortunate lightning incident. Former bartender Chris serves as a celebrity news reporter and interviews Fabio (aka bartender Blair).

For the first time, we filmed the Sandbar dance so customers can follow along. Bartender Heather performs the dance as the words to the song scroll along the bottom. We made a drinking game out of this: every time Heather pulls her dress down, you take a drink.

Sandbar Hurricane Video #3

In 2003, we filmed our third installment of the hurricane video series. We did a great job of creating a new video each year for the first three years of the attraction. Sorry we've been slackers the last three years!

Video #3 was also filmed at Channel 6 studios in downtown Lawrence. This one's a little blurry- it's the only video that we can't find an actual DVD copy of, but fortunately we'd uploaded the video to YouTube a long time ago. We tried downloading the video from YouTube, and we also tried filming the video directly from the computer monitor, and this is the best quality we can get.

This video stars Dave, Debbi and former Lawrence mayor Marty Kennedy as the anchors; bartender Coleen as the local weather woman; and an assortment of Sandbar staff and friends in our newly created "safety segment"- a feature with tips on what not to do during a hurricane.

A real celebrity makes an appearance in this video. When we went to Nashville to record our very own Sandbar song (also making its first appearance on this video), we bumped into Richie McDonald, lead singer of the country band Lonestar, in the recording studio. He graciously lent his face & voice to us for the video.

Watch out! Here comes the hurricane!

Love Shack, Baby

A long time ago, some of the Sandbar crew wrote revised lyrics to "Love Shack" and recorded a new song. We played it after the hurricane dance for awhile, but the song faded into obscurity and we forgot all about it.

Recently we were attempting to organize our hurricane video collection and discovered a recording of the song at the end of our 2002 hurricane video. Since you probably didn't watch all 15 minutes of that video- yes, 15 minutes!- we made a separate video with just the "Love Shack" clip just to make sure you didn't miss this glorious piece of poetry. And the bloopers- you can't miss the bloopers.

On the vocals: Scott aka "Showtime" and Peach, with help from Coleen, Debbi and Dave. Listen carefully to the lyrics; they're about the Sandbar, with some inside jokes sprinkled in for fun.