Southern Summer Night
Southern Summer Night is an event that Southeast Texans have become accustomed to each year — enjoying delicious food, hearing fabulous music and just having a great time. The event, scheduled for Saturday, July 19, at the Carl Parker Multipurpose Center in Port Arthur, is formerly known as Cayman Night and is in its third year with its new name and theme. Proceeds benefit the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center.
Tickets are $30 a person and can be purchased by visiting www.southernsummernight.net. Food is included in the ticket price, and menu items include Buffalo Chicken Salad Sliders, Beef Teriyaki Satays with Honey Sriracha Dipping Sauce, Crab Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers with Ranch Cream Cheese, Cheddar Bacon Potato Cake with Chive Sour Cream, Spinach Dip with Pretzel Crostinis, and Chile Con Queso with Spicy Tortilla Chips. Golden Triangle Chefs association and Christus will prepare food for the event. Cash bars will be available as well, and a ticket system will be used for drink purchases (Each beer is 4 tickets; wine and mixed drinks are 5 each and soft drinks and water are 1 ticket each).
There will be a live auction from 9 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. featuring a myriad of exciting merchandise including a guitar signed by country music singer, songwriter and guitarist Steve Wariner. Other auction items include two tickets for the Cattle Baron Ball — John Anderson is scheduled to headline the Nov. 8 event; a Weber Four Burner Gas Grill donated by Ritter Lumber; and a Yeti cooler donated by First Financial Bank; as well as 25 general admission tickets to any Lamar State College-Port Arthur Seahawks game for the 2014-15 season.
Bands take the stage at 8 p.m. and play through midnight.
This year’s event will feature music by Longneck Road, a “Texas Rock” band that has performed at clubs, concerts, fairs, festivals, motorcycle rallies and other events throughout the area since its formation in 2008. The band, which includes singer/songwriter/guitarist Dick LeMasters, bassist Ron Arceneaux, and drummer Adam King, has in its short history opened for Chuck Berry, The Charlie Daniels Band, John Anderson, Ronnie Milsap, and Paul Thorn. Longneck Road also opened the 24th Annual Gulf Coast Hall of Fame Concert featuring Wayne Toups, and has performed at many clubs, festivals and events in Southeast Texas. Attendees can expect to hear blues-infused rock similar to early era ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“It has a lot of influences from other artists,” said Longneck Road bassist and Port Arthur native Ron Arceneaux. “We do some covers that are familiar to everyone, and we also throw in some of our own original music, primarily written by Dick LeMasters. The writing style that Dick has gives me some freedom on the bass to kind of embellish the way that I am feeling at the time. He plays a killer lead and rhythm guitar, and he’s got an excellent voice. His stories are really, really good. Adam King is a solid drummer and a good harmony vocalist. The chemistry is just really good between the three of us.”
“The Way You Walk,” which is featured on the band’s 2009 release Texas Rock, made it all the way to No. 1 on the Radio Free Texas charts.
Arceneaux said his band enjoys playing concerts like Southern Summer Night because they help raise money for a good cause.
“It’s always important to try to promote things that benefit the community, to help those worthy causes,” he said. “It’s always good to give back.”
Following Longneck Road’s performance, guests will be treated to local favorite J.A.G., a four-piece band that plays groove-oriented dance music and a wide variety of other musical styles including rhythm & blues, Zydeco and country, allowing attendees to dance the night away.
J.A.G. performed at Southern Summer Night for the first time in 2013. Singer Dietrick Boykin called it a night to remember.
“From the first song, the crowd got on the dance floor,” Boykin said. “They responded well from the first all the way to the last song that we played. They actually didn’t want us to stop playing.”
Boykin, who was born and raised in Kountze, said he always enjoys playing in Port Arthur.
“For some reason, Mid-County and Port Arthur people are very supportive,” said Boykin, who is fresh off a July 5 performance at Jasper’s Independence Day Celebration. “They just seem to like our music. We gain other (fans) as we go though.”
Boykin said when the Southern Summer Night planning committee asked J.A.G. to return this year, he didn’t hesitate to accept.
“I feel like it was an honor for them to ask me back,” he said. “And it is for a good cause.”
Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce membership director and event coordinator Paige Snyder said half of the funds raised from Southern Summer Night, which raises thousands annually, benefit the Chamber’s various campaigns and help pay the organization’s overall operation expenses.
The remainder of funds benefits the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center, a home away from home for visiting mariners to the Port of Port Arthur.
“For us it really assists us primarily with transportation costs. For us to get the guys where they need to go,” said Doreen Badeaux, president of the Board of Directors for the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center and member of the Southern Summer Night planning committee. “For the most part we are assisting (mariners) to get their basic needs — if they need some things while they are in town or if they want to be able to communicate back home, they’ll come here to the Seafarers’ Center and make phone calls or use our computers to Skype home to their wife and kids.”
Transporting the seafarers to Port Arthur businesses not only helps the mariners purchase much needed supplies, it also helps boosts the local economy, Badeaux said.
“It’s something that is positive in our downtown Port Arthur area,” Badeaux said, estimating that the mariners bring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales to local businesses.
Badeaux said the organization is sometimes called out to do some extra special things, however.
“We do a lot of social justice assistance,” she said. “We had a ship in port … that did not have enough drinking water onboard. The guys were being rationed drinking water at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. simply because the company didn’t want to pay for water. They thought it was too expensive to buy water here. The captain and chief engineer were given bottled mineral water, but the rest of the crew had to be rationed water. We step in when there are issues like that. The seafarers know that at any seafarer center if you talk to the port chaplain, that is somebody who is not going to (divulge information) to the officers, the captain or the company. They can talk to us and we will quietly and discretely find the appropriate powers that be to handle the situation.”
Southern Summer Night guests can rest assured the money they spend for the event will help their local economy, also aiding visiting mariners as well.
“This is a big deal,” said Southern Summer Night chairperson Travis Woods, who also plays guitar for The Classics Recovered Band, which performed at last year’s event but decided to allow another band to step in and play this year. “For good music, fabulous food, and a good time 8-12 (p.m.) July 19, you just need to come on out and enjoy the event.”
“It’s a great way to stay in town … and enjoy some good music,” Arceneaux added. “It’s just a nice way to cool down and relax on a warm summer evening.”
If you have any questions regarding sponsorship packages or about the event itself, please call the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce at (409) 963-1107 or visit www.SouthernSummerNight.net
For more information on the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center, visit sites.google.com/site/paseafarerscenter.
The Carl Parker Multipurpose Center is at 1800 Lakeshore Drive in Port Arthur.