What looked like a costume-themed family gathering was really the first-ever Surfside Beach Buggy Cannonball Run attended by a tight-knit group of locals and a few tourists.

The event on Saturday morning included several stops along the beach. Attendees gathered at the course start in front of event sponsor Surfside Beach Buggy Rental Beach Shop and drive all the way to Blue Water RV Resort and back.

Golf carts were uniquely decorated with just as uniquely costumed riders. One cart was disguised as a mosquito while another was guided by a skeleton dressed as Jack Sparrow.

“Mosquitos are the insects of Surfside,” Surfside resident Debra North said. “If we had a little bit more time we would've actually dressed up as mosquitoes…I would've arrived as a bottle of mosquito spray. If you know people from Surfside, they know all about the mosquitoes.”

Each stop along the route offered refreshments and music blasted from personal speakers above the chattering of participants enjoying their rides while the waves crashed and the ocean breeze blew.

“We call this season the local summer because it slows down and locals can go to the beach without big crowds but we also have fun events like this one put on by the community,” Surfside resident Christine Robertson. “ It's important because it keeps us connected … people are communicating, talking and exchanging positive thoughts. It’s good for us. Another fun part is that you can meet somebody from another part of the island that you would not normally get to.”

Surfside’s Tourism Specialist Michelle Booth wore a puffy cheetah print coat and a blue wig and called herself “Foxy Follett” as a tribute to Follett's Island.

“So many people came out today to support local businesses,” Booth said. “We just have fun here. It’s mostly locals that showed up and once everyone else sees all of the attention it got this year, more people will come next year. It may get bigger and bigger.”

Michelle Bernal, co-owner of Johnny B’s Backyard BBQ, was proud of the steampunk attire that she assembled for the event.

“We get into the outfits, we enjoy it, it’s become our theme,” Bernal said. “A lot of the golf cart events are really nice. Not only does it bring the Surfside people out but it brings business to the people who have golf cart rentals. It brings people from outside of Surfside to come in and enjoy the beach. Surfside is small and it brings in tourists with these events. That’s why it’s important to have them.”

Among the visitors enjoying the event was Alaskan resident Cindy Brown.

“I like being here, it’s friendly and laid back. If you break down on the side of the road here, people will pull over and help you out. In a lot of states they won’t do that,” Brown said.

The Alaskan visitors witnessed Texas hospitality during the run as they watched volunteers make sure no one was left behind as they stayed on standby if any golf carts needed assistance.

“I’m happy with the outcome, we knew we were gonna run into a couple of problems with golf carts but it’s the first time so it’s a learning experience,” said Mike Schepper, owner of the Surfside Beach Buggy Rental Shop. “When we do it next time, we’re going to run a truck and a trailer with a safety golf cart where if someone’s golf cart goes down and we don’t have what we need, we’ll just swap the golf carts real quick.”

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