Surf Ballroom Winter Dance Party

The 1950s themed sock hop kicked off the winter dance party yesterday at the Surf Ballroom with kids of all ages dawned in saddle shoes, Buddy Holly style glasse and poodle skirts which is the start of the annual three day tribute event. It has been 58 years since the plane carrying Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper", Buddy Holly and Roger Peterson the pilot crashed in the night. The first memorial event was held on February 3, 1979 which marked the 20th anniversary of the last performance at the Surf Ballroom prior to the plan crash, the event was entitled "The Tribute to Buddy Holly Concert" and has since grown into a large music celebration of 50's and 60s music. 

The executive director of the Surf Ballroom, Laurie Lietz said "We're exciited to mix new events and activities for our visitors with the many great traditions that have been around since 1979 when the event first began." Austin Allsup will be doing a tribute to his father Tommy Allsup  who was one of the original guitarists for the 1959 Winter Dance Party and played at the Surf on Feb 2, 1959. Tommy was scheduled to play today at the event but sadly passed away just weeks prior to the big event. The Killer Vees: Rmembering Bobby Vee will be performing a tribute on Saturday to Bobby Vee who was a supporter and performer of the annual Winter Dance Party event. Bobby Vee died in October 2016.

The Surf executive director has already started preparation for next year's event because of the large undertaking, even with the help of volunteers and countless hours of planning they stay ahead of the event each year to ensure the line up ofperformers are booked and to avoid scheduling conflicts. On average the event will take 12 to 14 months of planning ahead of time in order to secure all the performers outside of the 3,000+ hours dedicated to scheduling out the events. The community is very supportive of the event that draws thousands of people who fill up all the local hotels and restaurants for a good week; some people travel from as far as the UK to attend the annual event which includes the 28th annual British Buddy Holly Society luncheon at the Best Western on Friday this year. 

Lietz said, "Our event is like no other in the country. In addition to the four evenings of live entertainment here at the Surf, visitors will enjoy everything from dance lessons and wedding vow renewals to luncheons, movies at the local theater and record/memorabilia shows." The event will run through Sunday so make sure to get out and enjoy all the Winter Dance Party has to offer!