Once again we have made the trek to the Florida Panhandle for the annual opening of Crazy Season – the Canopener! For those uninitiated, this Airforums rally, in its 11th year, is a gathering of Airstream-related craziness, food and fellowship. Held on the first weekend in January at Topsail State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, this event is certain to get your year kicked off in the best way possible!
First, let’s hop into the way-back machine. Our first Canopener was in 2007, and I believe that may have been its first year! That year we relied on our GPS to lead us to our destination at Topsail State Park. Little did we know what route she would take us, but suffice it to say that the route included rain-soaked, Alabama red clay logging roads.
That year we brought a turkey fryer to make a huge batch of popcorn – to eat while we watched Raiders of the Lost Ark on a 9 x 16 foot outdoor screen in one of the vacant sites. Totally awesome!
In 2009 we had a little rain, but nothing really dampens the spirit at the Canopener.
In 2014, ever the comedians, we provided advance guidance to one “newbie” who wanted to know in advance what their site would look like. This area is a great place to do some paddling if you are so inclined, whether it be in the bays or out on the ocean. And the cornhole competition was held on one set of boards.
In 2016 the cornhole competition grew to 5 board sets! Holy cow!
Also during the Canopener in 2016 the state park had a prescribed burn, and some of the locals (like this pigmy rattler) looked for new digs. Greg and Pat have been truly giving by offering up sustenance during the Cornhole activities, and everyone seems to bring something to the party in some way big or small.
Not many people make it every year to the Canopener, but most try – barring weather, other travels, health or work.
This year (2018) was another fabulous event! While Joe Conoly could not be present in person, he was still instrumental in getting this event organized – thank you Joe! And, of course, Annette performed as MC Extraordinaire as well as Queen of the Saturday Thing!
As always, there is the beach, hiking and biking trails, bird watching and all kinds of outdoor activities to participate if you so choose.
Prior to the somewhat more organized activities for the general population, Karen organized a little “soup night” for TCPC members. While the temperatures were a bit cool, Thor: Cauldron of Death, hot apple cider and soup kept us all warm.
You cannot come to this event without the presence of pets – here are but a few.
Pets are not the only affliction Airstreamers have; they are also slightly consumed with their flamingos…
And let’s not forget the arts! The not-so-ready-for-prime-time Aluminotes entertained the crowd (pictured here in a practice session).
And food… lots of great food, like chili.
But what about the people, all those smiling faces. Do you think these folks were having a good time?
And yet, even amongst friends, there is competition. Count them – 7 sets of cornhole games! This years’ cornhole competition was fierce.
Like cream rising to the top, a new victor is chosen. Hail Dale!!!
Let’s not forget to say thanks to the fabulous people at Topsail State Park, the many volunteers that helped organize activities, cook food, clean up, and the myriad of activities that are needed to make an event like this go so well. And thanks once again to Ron and our friends at Foley RV for their tremendous support.
See you next year – I hope!