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‘Where the Boys Are’

The South Florida Museum was turned into a surfin’ safari on Friday night. Good vibrations filled the courtyard, and the crowd had fun, fun, fun at the annual “Where the Boys Are” party.

Palm trees, seashells and paper lanterns added to the beachy atmosphere, and the lounge area was complete with a tiki bar. Event chair Laura Baden even borrowed surfboards from her husband, Chris, and son, Cory, to add to an authentic note to the decorations.

Experienced museum partiers know to glance at the statue of Hernando de Soto that stands in the middle of the fountain. He always dresses for the occasion and he was decked out with a flower lei Friday night.

Adventurous guests could try their hand at some virtual beach volleyball, courtesy of a Nintendo Wii. Museum education director Jeff Rodgers, museum board member Jim Fraley and Bright House’s Amy Van Dell gave it a try, although most people chose to watch from the sidelines.

Almost a dozen restaurants provided a delicious feast, ranging from “Cheeseburger in Paradise” sliders to grilled salmon to Key lime cake and a disc jockey spun some surfin’ sounds.

Board president Bill Blalock and his wife, Pam, were joined by executive director Brynne Anne Besio and her husband, Pete, made up the welcoming committee. The VIP guests included Mary Parker, Jeff and Juanita Ragan and Ruth Bartley with her kids, David Bartley and Linda McKinney.

Moon Doggies and Gidgets in the crowd included John and Alison Nash, Dale and Eileen Hoffner, Jim and Lori Toomey and Ron and Rose Carlson.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.