ORANJESTAD, ARUBA — The Riverside Boys, a Union County-based Gospel singing group, normally perform for the usual church crowds in North and South Carolina. But when Team Aruba’s Bobby Hicks talked the group into a trip to Aruba, they jumped at the chance. The quartet first went to The One Happy Island back in October. Recently, they took friends — about 29 in all — and went again.
More and more people make The One Happy Island their vacation destination year after year. The ongoing efforts of Team Aruba have brought greater attention to their island. Word of mouth has spread throughout the drag racing industry and beyond, as one vacationer leads to another.
Although Hicks, who manages Team Aruba operations in the states, is a South Carolina resident, he also loves to promote Aruba, just like the rest of his Team Aruba counterparts. Throughout their travels and wherever they go, this drag race team spreads the word on the secret of Aruba’s friendly people, relaxing beaches and breathtaking scenery.
The Riverside Boys and friends were able to enjoy all of this, as well as perform twice, and all agreed that Aruba was a place they must visit again. Members of the group recounted singing for the Prime Minister as one of the highlights of the trip, but were also unanimous that the entire trip was one to remember.
“It’s a place where you can really go to relax and relieve stress because it’s just so laid back,” said Hicks. “All the people are just super fantastic. They treat you like royalty. You can really relax and enjoy yourself. You really can’t explain the feeling you have once you get on the island. No one is hassling you.”
Hicks, who has been to Aruba multiple times, said one of his favorite parts is snorkeling and seeing all the wildlife in the ocean.
“All 29 are ready to go back and we didn’t have one minute’s trouble. You can tell the Lord had His hand on it. It was just awesome and amazing.”
Pattie Parker, whose husband sings bass for the group, echoed Bobby’s sentiments on the people of Aruba.
“I’ve been to all the islands. This was absolutely the best. The people there are the sweetest. It was just awesome. I’ve done a lot of traveling, but this was top of the line for me as far as the caring people and reception we received.
“It’s kind of like going home. It was the most awesome trip. I’ve been to Germany and France, but this was the most rewarding for me.”
During their two concerts, one for the Prime Minister and officials and one at a popular mall, the Riverside Boys performed for over 2,000 people. The group also provided face painting for children and handed out Bibles and literature sharing the love of God.
While the Riverside Boys were the main performers, six others from their group joined them in singing for The One Happy Island. Luke Jenkins was one of these six. He recommends Aruba as a vacation destination for any and all, saying that the people of Aruba are the friendliest he’s ever met. He also made special mention of Aruba’s drinking water. Aruba uses a special process to make their water, purifying the ocean water for a chemical-free, delicious and refreshing result.
From the crashing waves and natural rock bridge area along the windward coast, to the pristine beaches on the west side, Aruba is truly a thing of beauty for all to behold. Team Aruba, whether at the track or simply in their day to day lives, is always quick to share their love of The One Happy Island.