The second annual Hawks Fan Fest and Beach Party proved to be such a success, organizers already are promising and planning to be back to Ocean Shores next year.
Organizer Terry Johnson of the Mighty 12’s Alliance, one of the most prominent groups of Seahawks fans, said there already is a date set for next August for what is hoped to be a regular preseason gathering of the 12th-Man nation of Hawks followers, superfans, former team members, and a number of family members.
More importantly, it brought thousands of people into the area.
Ocean Shores businessman and City Councilman Jon Martin was wearing a 12th Man shirt courtesy of McDonald’s. Martin manages the local McDonald’s and he and his wife Kim own Martin-Bruni Liquors.
“This is easily our second best day of the year,” Martin said, comparing the economic benefit of the Seahawks crowd to the amount of business he sees for the Fourth of July weekend.
Superfans Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk (Jeff and DeDe Schumaier of Auburn) were back for the second Fan Fest and Beach Party in full game-day regalia.
“This is awesome,” Mrs. Seahawk said. “We were here last year and just had so much fun. We will always come back.”
As much as the beach proved to be a perfect retreat from the summer heat inland, Ocean Shores also serves as a fun preseason location for Seahawks nation to gather in force outside the confines of CenturyLink Field.
“Any time you get Seahawks fans together, it’s all about showing support for your team. Any time you can get us all together, that’s a perfect time,” Mrs. Seahawk said.
Just to show up in full game gear takes the Schumaiers nearly 15 hours to get fully painted up, and they treasure the down time just to sleep in between public appearances at the beach fest.
“It’s always cool to come down here, but to bring energy to start a new season again is really, really cool,” Mr. Seahawk added. “That’s how we roll.”
“Let’s stay healthy and get into the regular season,” he added as a motto for the remaining preseason games. “Then let’s get it done!”
Johnson gave out a high-five salute to each and every participant in the parade: “Thank you all for coming out and have a great time,” he called out from atop a flatbed stage where the event was being broadcast by local KOSW 91.3 FM.
Looking at the Facebook pages for the Hawks fan groups, Johnson said, there were more than 2,000 people who said they were coming to the event, plus another 4,000 who had indicated they might attend.
“You put those two numbers together and multiply it times four for the families that come too, and we’re looking at 20,000 to 30,000 people by the end of the day,” Johnson said on Saturday for the Hawks parade.
The event included a fireworks show on Saturday that was moved to the city’s skate park because of a ban on fires or fireworks on state beaches.
Johnson thanked the city for accommodating the fan base and large number of events that came with it: “We’ve all had a great time.”
Mike Doolittle, owner of Playtime Family Fun Center in Ocean Shores, also thanked the mayor and city officials publicly during Monday’s City Council meeting for allowing the fireworks show to occur.
“I just want to pass on a huge thank you for hundreds of people that you won’t hear from because they are not in town any longer,” Doolittle said.
“The steps that were taken show the city of Ocean Shores standing behind tourism.”
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