‘80s nostalgia runs wild at homage to ‘87 movie
By JOHN NORTH
LAKE LURE — Despite blazing heat, the 9th Annual Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival, held Aug. 24-25, drew crowds that approximated last year’s all-time record attendance of 3,400 people.
The 2017 turnout was attributed by event organizers to the gala’s 30th anniversary celebration of the 1987 film classic “Dirty Dancing” that was shot — in part — at Lake Lure.
Given that this year’s festival held no particular distinction with the film or its top star, the late Patrick Swayze, event spokespeople expressed delight that the attendance nearly matched the all-time record.
Event spokesman Kevin Cooley, who is Lake Lure’s mayor, told the Daily Planet that the unofficial attendance for the two-day celebration was only off by 100 or 200 from last year’s gala, and that the organizers were pleased.
The festival featured a screening of the film on a huge inflatable outdoor screen on Aug. 24 evening. It concluded on Aug. 25 with dancing to three bands, performances of the film’s dance sequences by the Asheville Ballet Co. and other activities.
The event’s shag dance contest involved a number of competing couples, but Allen Roney and Cindy Foust of Burlington eventually prevailed to win the crown.
The first night’s screening of the film was preceded by a performance by the Lake Lure Cloggers, a shag social hosted by DJ Jeff Foster, a performance by the Hickory-based Extraordinaires Band and an 18-minute speech by author and special guest Sue Tabashnik.
In an interview with the Daily Planet on Aug. 25, Tabashnik, author of “Patrick Swayze: The Dreamer” (published in August 20178) as well as two other books on the actor, said, “I had the honor to meet him (Swayze) four times… Writing’s my passion.”
However, she noted that writing is a job she does in her spare time, as she her day job is as an ER psychiatric social worker.
“I was an avid movie-goer,” when she first saw Swayze in the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing… Then, in 1988, Barbara Walters interview Patrick Swayze” and she was struck by how he came across as “so sensitive, down-to-earth, a good guy” in the television interview.
“Then, I just started following his career. Then, I found his fan club.”
Tabashnik, who is from the Detroit, Mich., area, said Swayze appeared for two fundraiser benefits in Detroit for a ballet company that worked with inner city youngsters. At each, she was able to meet — and briefly chat with — Swayze. She said she was charmed by him.
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