A birthday party for a queen.

A birthday party for a queen.

What a day! The birthday party celebration was a massive, crazy success. We had thought if we got 70 or 80 that would be amazing. Instead, we had a swarm. I haven’t heard the final count yet, but it had to be around 300 people. 

The cake was beautiful and featured the Delta Queen logo. Harry Phillips took a picture and I will post it as soon as he emails it to me. Jennifer Lemmon was cutting and serving the cake and she later laughed that as the crowd grew larger and larger, she cut the cake into tinier and tinier pieces until some visitors were only receiving a sliver of cake! Everyone was in good spirits though and a festive mood prevailed.

Laura dressed up as a flapper since the boat was built in the 1920s and I wore a riverboat gambler type outfit for some steamboaty fun. We set up an amplifier and microphone and we shared some history about the boat’s amazing career and performed Delta Queen songs for the crowd. I even gave a short calliope concert and played “Happy Birthday” on the mighty steam organ.

We were packed for the tour of the boat and despite the fact that we still have no air conditioning, they all were delighted as they quickly were dripping in sweat on the very hot and humid day. Despite the discomfort, they were charmed by the history and ambiance of the boat and I know many of  the hundreds of visitors will return for dinner, drinks, or even overnight stays. They will become great word-of-mouth advertisers for the hotel as it opens on Friday!

One goal for the event was to generate publicity. In addition to an advance article in the Times Free Press, today we had two local television stations attend and film, a reporter from the Times Free Press, and I did a call in interview to a talk radio station. This was a very successful day generating media coverage worth thousands of dollars.

It was a fun and exhausting day, especially in the heat. But we all joined together to wish this wonderful boat a very happy 82nd birthday.

Following is a gallery of photos from the event. Click on any picture to enlarge it.