SEBASTIAN – A couple of days ago, the employees at the Tiki Bar & Grill thought they were out of a job as Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, was approaching Indian River County.
“I’m so thankful I have a job,” bartender Leita Marie wrote on her Facebook page. Hurricane Matthew spared the bar and other businesses as it moved up the coast Friday morning.
For most people at the Tiki, it was a celebration as people danced and played Cornhole. You can hear multiple conversations from people talking about what could have happened if Matthew came on shore in Sebastian.
“We are so very grateful that the Tiki survived and we were able to get back up and running for our patrons,” John Campbell, owner of Tiki Bar & Grill, said in a statement. “It’s a great feeling to see all our regulars today and hear that no one had any serious damage from such a great threat.”
The band Nightfly was performing Saturday night, and it didn’t take long for people to hit the dance floor. It was a night to remember because no one thought they would be celebrating this night.
“I was exhausted from the stress of not knowing what to expect from a Category 4 or 5 storm, but we knew the whole town felt the same and we all needed to let off steam and celebrate our good fortune. It was probably the most fun and gratifying gig we’ve ever done,” Nightfly’s lead vocalist Dianne Moore said.
The threat of Hurricane Matthew proved that the people of Sebastian could put away their differences in politics to help the community.
Many individuals who were living here during hurricanes Frances and Jeanne talked about how devastating it was in 2004 and 2005. Florida was plagued by multiple storms during those years.
It took years for Sebastian to recover, and Jeanne was a Category 3. Matthew was a Category 4.
While Matthew didn’t make landfall, the storm brought the community closer. More importantly, Sebastian residents have more appreciation this week than last.