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Parrott Heads Wrapped in Charities and Buffett

Amanda Daigle's "Land Shark" bike didn't turn a head at the monthly Parrot Heads meeting, a social and community volunteer club that revolves around the Jimmy Buffett motif of Hawaiian shirts and Margaritaville.

The bicycle, a mountain bike modeled into a shark, will be a novelty for Daigle's ride from North Carolina to Northern Virginia for the 330-mile AIDS Awareness ride, "Tour de Friends" 2003. She got the idea from the Buffett song "Land Shark." Daigle's an architect from McLean and has been a member of the Parrot Heads for just over one year.

"That's where I get the idea, 'Land to the left, land to the right,' you know," she said, reciting lyrics. "We're all kind of crazy."

The Washington Area Parrot Heads Club is a sanctioned member of Parrot Heads in Paradise, a national organization. The group meets at Kilroy's in Springfield once a month and once a month in Alexandria. Its mission statement says that it "was created to promote friendships and organize social activities for people of similar interests, including the enjoyment of the tropical spirit of Jimmy Buffett's music." In addition to the fun and camaraderie, the group, according to the statement, is "a nonprofit organization which provides a variety of volunteer efforts in the local, regional and national community for social and environmental causes."

Two of the main charities that the Washington club does fund-raisers for include the Alzheimer's Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, according to club president Mike Lindsay of Fairfax.

"That's part of being a Parrot Head, being friendly," Lindsay said. "We're usually doing one or two [fund-raisers] a month."

On Wednesday, April 16, the Parrot Heads conducted a clothing drive at Kilroy's in addition to jamming to Buffett, donning Hawaiian shirts and recreating a tropical paradise, just outside the Beltway.

Rock Kulisch from Lorton is one of the founding members of the group. "The beach theme is very strong, gives people a chance to lay back," he said. "We do at least one collection a week. Usually we come up with ideas, and then we decide which charity."

Other charities the group raises funds for include the National Kidney Foundation, Race for the Cure, Red Cross, Toys for Tots, the Save the Manatee Club and the Potomac River Watershed. Club members participated in the Potomac Watershed Cleanup earlier in April. The Alzheimer's Foundation and the Manatee Foundation are two organizations that Jimmy Buffett himself is involved with. Buffett's father has Alzheimer's, according to Lindsay.

"Jimmy Buffett is very active in both of them. He'll do fund-raisers all over the county for the Alzheimer's Foundation," Lindsay said.

SPRINGFIELD RESIDENT Ernst Stott, namesake of Ernst & Co., a hair salon in Springfield, heard about the group from one of his clients. Being a Buffett fan in general qualifies him for the "Parrot Head" distinction. He's only been in the club for two years.

"Parrot Heads is a feeling, it's not just a club," Stott said.

Burke resident Ray Roberts senses that as well with the Parrot Heads.

"We got neon palm trees, everything has that theme, just a laid back, happy attitude," Roberts said. "It's that Jimmy Buffett state of mind. No matter how bad it is, tomorrow will be better."

The Parrott Heads have become synonymous with the back deck behind Kilroy's. Manager Ty Allison is glad to have them.

"They're constantly trying to give back," he said. "They've been coming here since Day 1. They've kind of grown with the deck," he said.