Originally created 07/13/06

Bids for Buffett plates rolling



COLUMBIA - Jimmy Buffett fans have months to wait until South Carolina's Parrothead license plates are available.

But through Saturday, the rights to the first 10 are being auctioned.

The high bid for license plate "JB 1" - aka, the No. 1 Jimmy Buffett fan - is $1,000.

Other plates range from $50 to $175.

Proceeds will benefit the Palmetto and Upstate chapters of the Alzheimer's Association.

Rep. Skipper Perry, R-Aiken, who sponsored the legislation to get the Parrothead license plates approved, said it was a silly idea that turned into something nice.

Jackie Rivers, the director of development for the Alzheimer's Association Palmetto Chapter, noted that Parrotheads have a longstanding relationship with Alzheimer's groups.

The pop music star's father, J.D. Buffett, suffered from Alzheimer's.

Ms. Rivers expects the plates to generate at least $10,000 for programs and research - and bring much-needed attention to the cause.

"People learn about what we're doing to give people hope when they're faced with this disease," she said.

The plates themselves are still being designed.

A representative from Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville company has drawn three designs, which are still being tweaked.

After a final design is chosen, there must be 400 orders for the license plates for the Department of Motor Vehicles to produce them.

"I think the first 350 are going to go like hotcakes," said Venning Morrison, the president of the Palmetto Parrothead Club. "And then we might actually have to advertise."

"Most people are like me - I've got three vehicles and I'm probably going to end up getting three plates," Mr. Morrison said.

Buyers don't have to be members of a Parrothead club, as Mr. Buffett's fan clubs are known, to participate. To place a bid, visit www.scphlp.org.

The auction ends at 8 p.m. Saturday.

"It's all good fun," Mr. Morrison said. "And it's all for a good cause."

Reach Kirsten Singleton at (803) 414-6611 or kirsten.singleton@morris.com.

WHAT'S A PARROTHEAD?


According to Esther Lewis, a receptionist at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Key West, Fla., the term Parrothead originated during a 1976 show.

Jimmy Buffett was playing a concert in Cincinnati when he looked out in the crowd and saw a group of fans wearing parrots on their heads.

"He said, 'Look, we've got parrotheads,'" said Ms. Lewis.


- Amy Allyn Swann, staff writer



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