What rolls into the town of Panama City Beach, Florida, once a year and makes such a commotion that the locals go running for their condos? No, it's not Spring Break - it's Spring Fling, sucka. This past March was once again the time for Vital Signs Street Designs to pull out all the stops and give the public Spring Fling 2004 - and what a job it did!
As we rolled into town Friday evening after a whoppin' 45 minute ride, we checked into our hotel and found we weren't the only folks in town ready for the show. The parking lot was almost filled to capacity with custom rides old and new, and everyone was ready to have a good time. Spring Fling began the next morning under some of the greatest weather Florida had seen in months. A steady flow of rides was cruising in as we arrived at Frank Brown Park, and the entries didn't stop rolling in until well after noon. No matter where you looked, you were sure to find a clean mini of every shape and style. Although there were plenty of past favorites that have graced the pages of this magazine, even more on hand were well on their way to having their time in the spotlight. A few rides, fresh from their buildups, were ready to be put on film.
After walking the park a number of times and getting event coverage, we headed over to vendor alley to check out what was up for grabs. Vendors such as Drop 'Em Wear? and Godfather Customs made sure everyone walked away with the trick goods they were looking for. After acting like a kid in a candy store, it was time to head off to do some feature shoots. Although we had to leave, Vital Signs kept the show rolling into the night with the crowd-favorite neon glow-off competition.
Once the feature shoots were recorded onto film and everyone was packed up, we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower. It was then off to grab some grub and enjoy Panama City's nightlife. Our plans were quickly scrapped, though, once we arrived at our restaurant and had a taste of the Spring Break traffic. After filling our bellies, we headed back to the hotel and just took it easy for a while. The activity at the hotel proved to be more entertaining than what any nightclub would've offered. The wall-to-wall minis, plenty of dragging, and parking-lot shenanigans continued all night long.
Sunday's weather proved to be even better than the day before, and Vital Signs was sure to take advantage of this by scheduling some of the best club games we've seen. The bungee run, inflatable obstacle course, and sumo-suit wrestling kept everyone laughing. The next order of business was the much-anticipated Miss Spring Fling bikini contest. Twelve lovely ladies took the stage to compete for $1,500 in cash. The contest was so close that three ladies actually took the First Place prize of $500 each. The awards ceremony followed soon after, with Vital Signs handing out some of the best-looking trophies around. Congrats are in order for this year's Best of Show winners Ed Stewart and Matthew Key, along with Platinum Dreams, which took home the Club Participation award.
Vital Signs would like to thank all this year's participants and the thousands of spectators who visited the show. If you'd like to be part of next year's show, contact: www.vitalsigns.org.