"Last year I met the girl of my dreams at the event and we fell in love and we got married and we had three kids and we got a house and we got a dog and a new car and I got the job of a lifetime working on the psychic hotline with Dionne Warwick and everything is just so perfect now and I bet if you came the same thing would happen to you too. I really bet it would happen to you too," rambles the monotone male voice, providing his testimonial for the wonders of the Lumpy Sue Acoustic Musicfest.
The zany message can be heard on the Lumpy Sue hotline, promoting the quirky annual post-Thanksgiving Day concert. In its eighteenth or maybe its eighth year (no one is really sure which), the show, held at bucolic Greynolds Park, is famed for its mellow hippie vibe and for the apocryphal legend behind its mysterious founder. It is said that Lumpy Sue is a real woman, owner of a soup kitchen and health food store in Fort Myers. Supposedly back in the Sixties she hung with folkie Arlo Guthrie and helped him haul garbage at the behest of Officer Obie, as recounted in "Alice's Restaurant," Guthrie's classic tune about draft dodging via littering.
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Whatever the truth, Lumpy Sue has become as much of a tradition as holiday gluttony. Folks who, unlike some of us, have the day after Thanksgiving off and shy away from the frenzy of their local mall can enjoy sets by Graham Wood Drout of Iko-Iko, Sixo, Diane Ward, Alex Diaz, Over the Counter Culture (Magda Hiller and Chris Chandler), Amy Carol Webb, Legacy, and Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra. They can also help support Habitat for Humanity by purchasing raffle tickets. Aside from a blanket and sunscreen, audience members are urged to pack a picnic basket full of condiments and leftover turkey. Lumpy organizers will conspire to make listeners even lumpier by providing free bread, courtesy of the Belle Baking Company, while supplies last, of course.