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MINI Maniacs experience Beach Blanket Babylon, for the last time?

Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco’s famous musical revue and highlight of SCMM’s Babylon Run, will hold its final two shows this New Year’s Eve.

“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity see the show before it ends,” say SCMM member Kit Walsh. “The icing for me was seeing it with the MINI gang. Oh my God, the show and the costumes were hilarious. It was the most fun excursion that I have been a part of yet.”

Walsh was among 14 MINI Maniacs that participated in the club’s four-day adventure to the Bay Area, dubbed the Babylon Run, and attended what likely will be the final rendition of the long-running musical.

News broke in April that the show’s final performances will be held on New Year’s Eve. Fans and cast members alike were shocked and saddened by the news.

Entertaining audiences for 45 years, the show is set to close at the end of 2019.

“Audiences have embraced Beach Blanket Babylon since the day it opened on June 7, 1974,” producer Jo Schuman Silver said in a news release. “Originally scheduled to run for only six weeks, the show became an international phenomenon and the quintessential San Francisco experience. I am thankful to our fans from around the world who have supported us from the very beginning. Our hats are off to each and every one of you!”

Schuman Silver who is the widow of Steve Silver, the original creator of the show, did not give a reason for closing the show, which has been running for 45 years and considered as much a San Francisco landmark as Lombard Street.

Following the performance seen by the MINI Maniacs, cast members mingled in the lobby as adoring fans exited the theater. One of the leading cast members, Curt Branom, posed for photos and suggested fans write letters to the box office, urging them to keep the show going.

While the show is the focal point of SCMM’s Babylon Run, the two days leading up to it were also filled with great roads and good times. Starting on Thursday with a drive along the coast, lunch at the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay, then north on Highway 1 through Big Sur and ending in Monterey Bay for dinner on the wharf. The next day was just as scenic as the caravan of MINIs drove through the dense lush forest of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and had lunch at the famous Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside.

We got everything we wanted at Alice’s Restaurant.

Dea, our server at Alice’s, was so nice. It was quite chilly, and even though they had heaters on the patio, she led us around to the back of the restaurant and opened the doors to a private inside dining room and bar that was very cozy. It’s true, you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

Our drive through Big Basin Redwoods State Park included a deer sighting and wild turkeys on the road. Photo by Fran Baker

After a great meal and souvenir shopping at Alice’s, the MINIs left the redwood forest behind and headed to Corte Madera where they stayed for two nights. On the way they crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, explored some of the Marin Headlands, snapped some photos of San Francisco, and cruised through downtown Sausalito.

A rain shower on Saturday didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit as there were no driving runs planned that day. Instead it was time to get sea legs on for a 40-minute ferry ride across San Francisco Bay, a late lunch in the City, and then a short walk to Club Fugazi for the 6 p.m. performance of Beach Blanket Babylon.

“The drive along the coast and through the redwoods was amazing, but the show on Saturday night was the topper for this club event,” said George Marsh. “This was our third time seeing Beach Blanket Babylon, and by far the best performance yet.”

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