Sunday, May 29, 2011

If it's Memorial Day Weekend, We Must Be in Magnolia Springs

The Grotto
One of the longest-running events on the South Alabama British Car Club activities calendar is the Memorial Day weekend annual Lawn Party at St.John's Catholic Church in beautiful Magnolia Springs, Alabama. This fundraiser for the church, now in its 86th year, is a pleasurable outing for the club membership. The organizers invite the club to bring our classic British cars to display in a grotto area near the main church building.

Most of those making the trek to Magnolia Springs met at the Daphne Starbucks Coffee for a quick jolt of caffeine prior to the start of the drive. We had a nice caravan of four cars consisting of Jack & Linda Ross (Jaguar E-Type), Keith and Donna Jarvis (Triumph TR3), Alan McDonald (MGB) and yours truly in the trusty Mini. Club President, Noel Eagleson reported that his MGB was having clutch issues and came in his "grown-up" car. Ron Wolverton and Club Secretary, Becky Kramer came in their small SUV to carry coolers, the popup tent, chairs and other necessities of the day.

British Iron on Display
We took the long way there taking advantage of the scenic drive down county road 98 along the bayfront all the way to Mary Ann Beach Road where we rejoined US highway 98 into Magnolia Springs. The cloudless morning and constant breeze off the bay made for a wonderful drive, the Sunday morning traffic being mostly runners and cyclers. More than a few waved or tossed us a thumbs up as our caravan drove by. 

Our arrival at St. John's was welcomed by the volunteer workers and our own SABCC'er Elaine Coll, widow of Jaguar enthusiast and SABCC charter member Vinc Coll. It was certainly good to see her again. We parked under an ancient live oak that shades the grotto and we were treated to the fragrance of the many gardenias in bloom on the property. 
Antique Agricultural Engine Display

The sound of antique agricultural machinery running drew us over for a look at the "hit and miss" engines on display. We were also taken with an extensive antique tool collection on display and were pleased to see a number of Abingdon and Joseph Lucas tools in the collection, adding another British angle to  the day. 

Once the popup tent was popped up, we each claimed our share of the shade and relaxed and chatted with the many folks who dropped by to check out the cars on display. The group was joined shortly by Richard Cunningham in his Jaguar XJ-S who also had his nieces and nephew on board for the morning. Alan's wife, Debbie and their daughter Kelley also dropped by for a visit to the sale tables and take in the scenery.

SABCC Headquarters
It wasn't long before the gang decided that the great smell of the barbeque was too much to ignore so we duly bought our meal tickets and chowed down. I will say that it was quite good and the portions were generous indeed. A few of the members wandered through the plant sale tents for a green souvenir of the day. The hydrangeas were particularly nice.

We were met shortly after lunch by our Club Secretary-Emeritus Sandy Walter and her better half Sam who came by after their church services were over. 

Around 2:30, Richard and I saddled up for the trip back to points north. The rest of the gang relaxed in the afternoon breeze in Magnolia Springs a little longer before they made their way back home as well.

As always, the club would like to thank the volunteers at St. John's Catholic for inviting us to be part of their day. We eagerly look forward to visiting again next year.


  1. A really fine day and another great recap. Thanks Rodney.

  2. Yep, we had a fine day. Perfect weather, companionship and food. Thanks to Rodney we had a scenic drive over and a shorter trip home. Keep up the good work Rodney. Can't wait until our next adventure. Becky


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