For West Orange-area golf fans, March is the month in which some of the best golfers in the world come to their backyard for the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational, which takes place March 3 to 6 at Bay Hill.
But for the Windermere High School band and its supporters, it’s more than just a chance to mingle among golfing’s greatest. For the last four years, the tournament has been the home to the band’s largest fundraiser — its concession stand — and the band once again will be serving refreshments to keep golf fans satiated.
To run a stand of this size takes a lot of work and planning every year. Beth Siegmann is in charge of making sure this mini-operation is a success every year after a successful first year in 2018.
“(The organizers) loved what we were doing and our attitude, (so) they wanted to help us out even further, so they gave us the opportunity to work the lodge, which is an amazing location next to the clubhouse,” Siegmann said. “It’s fun if you’re a golf fanatic, because you can see the pro golfers work on putting and driving.”
Siegmann is a busy woman this time of year in that she not only runs the band stand but also a second stand for the Windermere High School PTSO. Both stands are open throughout the tournament and rotate food offerings as the day progresses. In the morning, breakfast items such as coffee and breakfast burritos are served; in the afternoon, burgers and hot dogs are among the offerings for lunch. Those old enough to serve alcohol also help run a bar that the group puts on.
Running an operation like this takes about 145 volunteers — about 30 per shift. Moreover, the need is throughout the week — not only on the days of tournament play.
“There’s action going on other than just the weekend; there’s something fun happening all week,” Siegmann said.
The one event going on preceding the tournament that Siegmann enjoys is the Pro-Am, which allows professionals to play with amateurs and celebrities in a round of golf.
“If you have the workers and volunteers behind you that are willing to put in long hours, at the end of the day, they really make it fun,” Siegmann said. “If you work the morning shift, you’re able to stay afterwards and enjoy the tournament. You work hard and give them 100 percent, they are going to support you. Plus, who doesn’t love the Palmer family? It’s an iconic family, and it’s awesome to be a part of it.”