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June 10, 2009 > Summertime and the livin' is beachy

Summertime and the livin' is beachy

Erin Fritz is passionate about the beach. "I love the beach; I love Santa Cruz, the boardwalk, funnel cakes, corn dogs and cotton candy." She adds, "On a bad day it soothes me and on a good day it pleases me." The insignificant fact that she was born in Kansas and lives in Fremont, miles from sandy, ocean shores was just a minor deterrent to a beach bash for her 50th birthday. She and her husband Walt were determined to make this milestone a memorable occasion even if it took hauling nine tons of sand into her house to do it.

A planned remodel of their house was the germ of an idea. "I thought it would be a great surprise for my husband to bring sand into the house but on a drive to see my sister in Stockton, we began to discuss my birthday. I wanted a 'beachy' theme and he mused that since we were planning to redo the floors anyway, maybe bringing the beach into our house would be fun. "At that moment, he was the smartest man anywhere!"

The result was a sandy beach throughout the first floor of the house spilling into the backyard. Bright colors and pictures of surfboards decorated the walls as guests began to arrive and the musical duo of Michael McNevin, who initially protested that he is a folk singer but finally succumbed to the enthusiasm of Erin, and Patrick McClellan were ready with Beach Boy songs. Household cats were temporarily restricted to the second floor and the dogs were watched carefully. "If we didn't have our cats, I could live like this forever," says Erin. Friends sent bags of sand from various locations such as Honolulu and Florida to add variety to the affair. True to its origins, this beach party was planned to last until the wee hours and revelers arriving from long distances were assured that there would be plenty of sand on which to rest their weary heads.

Erin reflected on all the work and expense of the beach bash and said, "It's all about 50 years of family and friends. With all of them coming for the party, my birthday has become a side issue."

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