View Full Version : Festival at bay: Marines, families enjoy annual boat

08-19-05, 06:39 AM
Festival at bay: Marines, families enjoy annual boat house fun
MCRD San Diego
Story by: Pfc. Kaitlyn M. Scarboro

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif.(August 19, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. Jason L. Johnson jumped off the stage and into the moonwalk. His popping moves, gyrating hips and captivating smile prompted laughter from the crowd as he unconsciously danced to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller.' He tossed his hat to the side, flared his leg, popped his hips and stood on his toes. He smiled into the audience he didn't realize was there.

The hypnotized victims of Paul LeBlanc's demonstration were guests at the depot's annual Marine Corps Community Services-sponsored Bayfest 2005, Saturday. During the demonstration, volunteers performed dances for audience members, dressed in drag and drove their low-riders and tricycles on stage as the finale to the annual festival held at the boathouse and marina.

Performers from the Fern Street Circus juggled and danced around on stilts during the celebration. The Surf Kings performed 1950's-style surf and doo-wop songs, and the Icarus Puppet Company awed an audience of small children with bright, enthused characters and stories.

Many depot Marines attended the event with family members and friends.

"It's just great to get everybody involved. It's a chance for them to mix and mingle with some people they don't normally get to work with," said Brig. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., depot commanding general.

The party began at noon with continual events throughout the day. Children flocked to a booth where an artist painted pink and blue fairies on their shoulders, black tribal patterns on their biceps or ankles, and red devil dogs on their backs.

Aspiring singer and songwriter Cpl. Robbie A. Blowers, a depot policeman, wooed the crowd with his country songs, leaving ladies in the audience awestruck with his southern twang.

Kruisin' Kritter set up a reptile menagerie to educate guests on various creepy-crawlies. A pet psychic was also present, along with depot mascot Lance Cpl. Molly Marine.

Visitors could get free caricatures, face painting and balloon animals. Participants also gravitated toward a human gyro, a bouncy funhouse castle, an inflatable obstacle course and a waterless surfing simulator.

Thomas Scarfone, 6, won the children's watermelon-eating contest. Staff Sgt. Derrick E. Oliver, the enlisted aide to the commanding general, won the adult watermelon-eating contest despite protests by Lance Cpl. Fabiola Escobedo.

"I won. I know I won," said Escobedo. "It was hard. I thought it was going to be easy because watermelons are soft. There was so much juice ... you had to keep swallowing and swallowing. But I still know I won."

James L. Day Hall, the command museum, raffled a Marine Corps blanket and several children won prizes from the Wells Fargo ring-toss raffle.

At the end of the day, the remaining victims of hypnosis hibernated on stage, drunk with dreams. Some leaned against each other, drooling on their neighbor's shoulder, some lay across several gray folding chairs, and one got comfortable on the cold, metal floor. The hypnotist convinced the boys and men on stage they were nine months pregnant. When they awoke, they sat up, arched their backs and held their stomachs.

When questioned how he got pregnant, a confused Gunnery Sgt. James R. Biggs responded, to the enjoyment of the audience, "I was on deployment."


08-19-05, 06:41 AM
Mending Marines laugh it up in night out
MCRD San Diego
Story by Lance Cpl. Dorian Gardner

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 19, 2005) -- Marines swapped nurses and hospital food for Hooters girls and hot wings Saturday during a trip that got 29 recovering warriors out of their hospital rooms and back to sampling normal life.

Patients from Navy hospitals in San Diego and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., caravanned to Pasadena, Calif., where they were the guests of honor at a Hooters restaurant and the nearby Ice House Comedy Club.

America's Heroes of Freedom, a private veterans support organization, bought the comedy tickets and the pre-show feast for the Marines and spouses. The organization also arranged to have limousines drive the group, but after a snag in plans, the Marines instead took a convoy of vans and cars from Pendleton.

The hospitalized Marines recovering from war wounds and other illnesses - and whose service is either on hold or almost finished - participate in similar getaways once or twice a month thanks to veterans organizations, according to Capt. Paola Hayes, the Medical Holding Platoon commander in San Diego.

In Pasadena, the celebrated Hooters girls welcomed the Marines to a private room with a buffet of popular menu items.

"I wasn't thinking about the food when I walked in," said Lance Cpl. Alejandro Rodriguez, MHP, San Diego.

The veterans feasted on Buffalo wings, fries and onion rings before a short drive to the legendary Ice House Comedy Club where several famous comedians got their starts. There, the Marines enjoyed countless grown-up laughs. Saturday's showcase, "Battle of the Sexes," had comedians Steve McGrew and Shayma Tash killing the audience with their stand-up. Tash touched on lying ex-boyfriends and bikini waxing, and McGrew followed up with his redneck persona, talking about growing up on the farm. The hour-long joke fest had veterans in stitches all night.

Lance Cpl. Julio Salazar, MHP, said the best part of the night was how well the organizers, waitresses and comedians treated the Marines. "We got to spend some time with the comedians after the show, and joke with them one-on-one," he said.

After the show, McGrew and Tash stayed back to sign DVDs and free Ice House T-shirts. The laughs fizzled out and veterans went back to the hospitals, some returning with more than T-shirts and smiles.

"It was motivating for a lot of Marines here in the hospital," said Salazar. "Some of us don't get out much."

According to Hayes, the next scheduled trip for MHP is a weeklong excursion in Aspen, Colo.

"We are going to do everything from white-water rafting to hiking," said Salazar.