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Clear Lake's Annual Winter Dance Party Started off with a Bang!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

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!

Clear Lake's Annual Color the Wind Event to be Covered by CBS Sunday Morning

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Clear Lake's Annual Color the Wind

North Iowa will make nation wide news again on February 18, 2017 as CBS Sunday Morning prepares to film the festival live accroding to Larry and Kay Day who are the organizers of the annual festival. The crew plans to be in Clear Lake for the entire weekend so plan to see a camera crew wandering around on the ice to capture the great kite festival, which is the Midwest's largest winter kite festival. The festival will run from 11 am to 4 pm on the 18th at the Downtown Seawall in Clear Lake, ice conditions look favorable for the event with 17-19 inches on the lake currently. 

Kite flyers from various states travel to Clear Lake annually to display their collection of unique kites and banners with some even having stunt kite teams with two or more lines choreographed dances to music. Come out and enjoy the FREE show where you can purchase hot food and beverages from the lunch wagon. 

Which North Iowa Town Will Make the RAGBRAI Route Cut?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

North Iowa RAGBRAI Route 2017

The big announcement for the RAGBRAI 2017 host towns along the route will be held on Saturday at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, many cities representatives from across the state will be in attendance to find out if their town was chosen for 2017. The Register's Great Annual Cycle Ride Across Iowa will be July 23-29th with eight cities being chosen as overnight stay hosts.

Officials from both Clear Lake and Charles City plan to be in attendance for the announcement this weekend, Charles City Administrator Steve Diers was staying hopeful that Charles City will end up as a choice for this years ride. Although Clear Lake hosted an overnight stop in Ragbrai 2010, Mayor Nelson Crabb applied to be considered for a stop along the route this year; Crabb along with Clear Lake's City Administrator and Mayor Pro-Tem will be attending Saturday's event. In 2014 Clear Lake was one of the towns that was passed through but they hope to host again this year. Mason City recently hosted an overnight of Ragbrai so although they applied to be on the route it wasn't likely they would be chosen according to Mason City Manager, Brent Trout. The committee tries to spread the hosting towns around the state but Trout stated Mason City really enjoyed hosting and would like to do it again in the upcoming years.

Barb Smith, the Forest City Administrator, said hosting Ragbrai is a good community thing that brings people to town. Smith wasn't sure if Forest City had applied to host in 2017 or not but hopes to be a part of the ride at some point in the future. Algona also applied to host although they hosted overnight in 2010, the City Administrator Curt Wiseman said they won't know until after the announcement is made whethere Algona will host again or not they're just waiting anxiously.


The Surf District Rock'n Roll Restaurant Opening in Clear Lake

by Jane Fischer and Associates

North Iowans will have a new restaurant to try out SOON! The Surf District Rock 'n Roll Grill will be opening in the next week with many pieces of music memorabilia from the Surf Ballroom itself. It's located in the former District 619 building just across the parking lot from the Surf Ballroom owned for the past 16 years by Grant Maulsby who worked intensely with the Surf to create the new restaurant idea which started back in September 2016. The idea for the new restaurant was reviewed by the organization's board over a year ago; the Surf had so many pieces of music history that wasn't able to be displayed so Maulsby thought what better way to help showcase these pieces than at the restaurant! Within the new restaurant there are over 70 pieces of Surf Ballroom memorabilia.

The restaurant will have a stage for live music and memorabilia along with seating for 134 people and standing room for 190 people. The bar and grill will offer various foods including those named after songs and music legends like La La Bamba Chicken Avocado and Big Bopper Burger. Other foods offered on the menu include sandwiches, salads, burgers, shrimp, wraps, burgers and steaks along with a full bar. 

Some of the renovations Maulsby had completed in preparation for the new place are a stage, lighting, video system to play music videos which will help create a wonderful atmosphere for those loving rock'n'roll as well as a private room for events. The artists that have performed at the Surf have a plaque with a photo and additional details put together for display at the restaurant. Maulsby stated "Every piece of memorabilia has been played at the Surf and signed at the Surf. That's what makes us more unique." Guitars line one wall of the restaurant that have been used at the Surf and autographed by artists such as B.B King, Slash, and Willie Nelson to name a few as well as drums and other musical instruments used by music artists. The executive director of the Surf Ballroom, Laurie Lietz, said "we're very excited to expand our displays, we just don't have all the wall space to display everything."

Future plans for the new place include live music on the weekends in upcoming months. The grill will be open seven days a week opening at 4 pm daily. Next time you're in the area make sure to stop by and try out the new place!

Displaying blog entries 31-34 of 34

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