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Music fans raise money for charity

Oklahoma City-area fans of musician Jimmy Buffett are turning their partying ways into fundraisers for charity.
BY SANDI DAVIS, For The Oklahoman Modified: April 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm •  Published: April 15, 2013

Jimmy Buffett's music tells tales of sun-soaked beaches, umbrella drinks, parties, pirates and all things Caribbean.

His fans, called Parrot Heads, have made his music into a lifestyle and their tailgate parties are renowned.

You can find Parrot Heads in every city, and Oklahoma City's has turned their partying ways into fundraising events that benefit several city charities.

Trina Greer, president of the Central Oklahoma Parrot Head Association (COPA), says her group is a social club with a charity problem and they “party with a purpose.”

In 2012, COPA members worked 1,856 volunteer hours and raised $40,722.

Buffett is a believer in “think globally, act locally” and all Parrot Head groups must have four charitable events a year in their area to be a member in good standing of the national group, Parrot Heads in Paradise.

In the past 10 years, Parrot Heads in Paradise have raised over $26 million and worked nearly three million volunteer hours.

Geer and Leanna Olsen founded their Jimmy Buffett fan club in 1993, when it had 20 members. In the 20 years since, membership has grown to more than 300 members who have monthly meetings, regular events and plan special trips, all with charity involved. A 501(c)3 non-profit is a part of the organization, called COPA Cares.

“The club motto is ‘We never met a Parrot Head we didn't like,'“ Geer said in a phone interview from her Oklahoma City home. “We welcome families and plan a lot of activities for our younger members, who we call ‘Parakeets.'“

One of their fundraisers dovetails with the Jimmy Buffett concert May 4 in Frisco, Texas, at the FC Dallas Stadium.

The “Frisco Phiasco” is a ticketed tailgate party in the venue parking lot. While part of the $20 entry fee goes to charity, the rest goes to catered food, portable toilets and plenty of shade.

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