A St. Pete Shuffleboard Glow Up
If a person playing the game when St. Pete’s shuffleboard club first opened 99 years ago encountered glow-in-the-dark courts, they wouldn’t believe their eyes. But don’t worry, purists – the look is only temporary.
In March, St. Pete Shuffle, at 559 Mirror Lake Drive North, lit up downtown after volunteers and staff painted eight of the courts with glow-in-the-dark paint and blasted the area with UV lights. “It looked really cool, I have to admit,” said club member and volunteer Doug Dozark. “Like cosmic bowling, but outside, for shuffleboard.”
Dozark’s such a fan of the club, he and his wife had their wedding there. And it was Dozark and fellow shuffler Josh Dulabaum who hatched the idea to give a temporary glow to the soon-to-be-repainted courts pro bono – just for fun. The club was up for a scheduled maintenance painting anyway, so trying out the neon look wasn’t a huge deal. With the permission from staff, they took a crack at it before a tournament.
“We’re not artists,” Dozark said with a laugh. “And we ordered the lights off Amazon … people loved it though, there was a great reaction. The paint didn’t affect how people played at all, and we had a lot of people in town who just thought it was so cool.”
The glow-in-the-dark paint formula was covered with a much-needed fresh coat of regular paint shortly after its moment in the limelight. However, the concept may be repeated next fall. “It’s something fun for us to do, and I think people really liked it,” said St. Pete Shuffle staff member Lela Gonzalez. “We would be open to doing it again.”
In recent years, St. Pete’s historic shuffleboard club has seen a revival, and a huge jump in members. Mixing it up with lights and paint might also help bring in younger players and introduce them to the classic sport once considered a senior pastime.
“I think the real serious shuffleboard members wanted to make sure the paint didn’t mess with the game, and it didn’t,” Dozark said. “I think the younger population thought it was cool. I know we did.”
There’s no date yet for the next glowing shuffle, but fans of the club can keep an eye out for events and more at stpeteshuffle.com.