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Wasted Away Again 

Buffett fans convene for a Phlocking good time.

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Early in their marriage, Dan and Pat Kaley were devoted to the music of Dan Fogelberg, Paul Simon, and all the other guitar-strumming troubadours they heard on the radio. Then, six years ago, they became something their teenage daughter never dreamed of: Parrotheads. "It was a logical progression -- that Jimmy Buffett just fit in the mode," says Pat Kaley. "I like to say it was a midlife crisis."

First, the suburban Pittsburgh couple hooked up with a local Buffett fan club, the Steel City Fins. And after reading fanzines and networking with other hard-core Parrotheads, they experienced their first Phlocking of the Phaithful, a four-day Buffett blowout in Put-in-Bay. "It is absolutely an event of Parrotheads getting together to enjoy music and combine and work together for a purpose," Kaley says (she and her husband are now organizers of the event).

The purpose -- in addition to funding Put-in-Bay's Fourth of July fireworks -- is to showcase the nation's best Buffett tribute bands. This year's Phlocking includes James "Sunny Jim" White from Florida, the Boat Drunks from Illinois, and Milwaukee sportswriter Jim Hoehn, whose new CD, Deadline Penitentiary, features such Buffett-esque songs as "Bone Island Mambo" and "Hard Liquor & Handgun Night." "All these guys have grown," Kaley says. "They have their own Buffett style, and they're every bit as good [as Buffett]."

Now in its 10th year, the Phlocking is expected to draw hundreds of Buffett buffs from the U.S. and Canada. It starts Thursday with afternoon jams by Toledo's Junkanoo and Johnny Rodriguez. Friday spotlights music by the South Carolina duo Latitude. Saturday caps off with a late-night performance by Michigan's Living Soul & the Pearl Divers.

The partying winds down Sunday with a Bloody Mary brunch and a singer-songwriter workshop. "Be ready to make some new friends and enjoy some of the best music you'll ever hear on the East Coast," says Kaley.

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