Rev Puts The “ Fun” in Southport Fun Tours!
STORY BY: LESLIE FOSTER
Southport was voted Happiest Seaside Town in America (Coastal Living Magazine 2015) and it’s a safe bet that Fun Tours, the electric tram tour company owned and operated by “ The Rev”, has something to do with that! Take a seat aboard this open-air tram (seat belts provided) and enjoy a 45-minute tour of historic Southport, the waterfront, movie locations, and historic homes, even a jail! Your tour guide is the one and only “Rev”, an entertaining fellow (and legit Blues musician) who enjoys his guests and their stories as much as he likes regaling them with his own.
Q. HOW DID YOU COME TO CALL SOUTHPORT HOME?
A. My wife, Deb and I lived in our boat for several years, traveling from Lake Michigan to Virginia. Eventually, we docked in Southport and the Dome came down.
Q. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN FUN TOURS?
A. Wherever I travel, I like to explore the history of the area. When we arrived in Southport, I read several books about the city and was amazed at how interesting the history and culture are. We were considering putting down roots and starting a business. There were no tours at that time except for Katie’s Ghost Tour and we realized that a guided tour would be a great activity for tourists. It’s also fun for locals and their guests. It’s a perfect fit for me– I’ve been an entertainer all of my life.
Q. PEOPLE CONTINUALLY RAVE ABOUT THE TOURS; WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?
A. I make learning fun! We cover history, culture, architecture, movies and more. But I enjoy making people laugh, and my passengers often join in with their own humor. My customers often say that our tour was the best thing they did while on vacation.
Q. DO YOU HAVE A “FAVORITE” FACT THAT YOU CARE TO SHARE?
A. Here are a few: Southport was part of the Underground Railroad; cows and chickens were allowed to roam the streets until the early 1900’s; at the height of shrimping, over 90 boats supported the industry. I am constantly learning new and surprising things about Southport.
Q. YOU HAVE A SHIP’S BELL ON YOUR CART. WHAT’S ITS PURPOSE?
A. It’s the “bad joke” bell. If a passenger heard a bad joke, he can call for a bell. If a passenger tells one, we’ll give him a bell too, because we’re all full of bells!
Q. DOES ANYONE FILL IN FOR YOU, REV?
A. I do all the tours myself, but I want to give a shout out to the wonderful volunteers at the Visitors Center who do such a great job.
Q. CAN CUSTOMERS HIRE YOU FOR A PRIVATE OR EVENING TOUR?
A. We do private events and group tours by reservation. We don’t do evening tours.
Q. YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN AND THE OWNER OF FUN TOURS; WHICH GIVES YOU THE MOST FUN?
A. I enjoy both. I’m so proud to show people around our great town & I love meeting our customers, who come from all over the world, but music is my life-long passion. I’m glad I can do both.
Q. TELL US ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE SOUTHPORT STORIES!
A. There have been so many. One day, I pulled up to the Crimes of the Heart house and 2 of my adult passengers announced that they appeared in the movie when they were children. Sometimes it’s a small world on the cart. I had some passengers from Illinois and discovered that one of them was my brother- in-law’s gold partner in Chicago! Everyday, the passengers and I enjoy interacting with the very friendly Southport locals, who are known to shout “Don’t believe a word he says!”
Q. HOW HAVE YOU SEEN SOUTHPORT CHANGE OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS?
A. We’re excited about all of the new businesses and people who are discovering our beautiful town. Yet so far, we have kept the small town feel. And Jodie got his driver’s license!
FAVORITE FOOD: Anything fresh
FAVORITE BOOK: Latest edition of Coastal Waterways Guide
FAVORITE MUSIC: Anything that makes my foot tap
FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL: Intracoastal Waterway
FAVORITE THING ABOUT SOUTHPORT: The water and the people