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Dirty Dancing gala to offer film screening, shimmying Aug. 18-19
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 11:14

From Staff Reports

LAKE LURE — The eighth annual Dirty Dancing Festival will celebrate its namesake film’s 30th anniversary with movie-inspired fun sure to move “Dirty Dancing” fans out of the corner and into the spotlight in Morse Meadow on Aug. 18 and 19. 

Special guest Stacey Widelitz, who co-wrote “She’s Like the Wind” with Patrick Swayze, will also share his experiences working on the film and his continued relationship with the Swayze family. 

“Dirty Dancing” fans will celebrate the film with movie-inspired dance lessons and performances, live music, watermelon carrying games, the Lake Lift competition, food, beer and wine garden, arts and craft vendors.

A portion of ticket sales benefits the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

 On Aug. 18, a lakeside film screening will be offered free to the public at Morse Park, where all of the festival activities will be centered. The gates will open to the public for the screening at 8 p.m.

A special pre-event celebration will be held — for festival ticketholders only — from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Special pre-event performances include the Lake Lure Cloggers, Dashboard Blue Band, and a storytelling meet and greet with Stacey Widelitz.

Then, at 8:30 p.m. the festival will honor what would have been Patrick Swayze’s 65th birthday, followed by the screening of the original “Dirty Dancing” at dusk. All food, beverage, arts and craft vendors will be open 5 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

 On Aug.19, the galas Family Dance & Music Festival will be held, as festival gates and vendors open at 8:45 a.m. with DJ Jeff Foster playing classic beach, soul and “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack hits. 

Energetic soul and beach music bands performing throughout the day include Cindy & Randy Floyd (formerly of Billy Scott and the Party Prophets) with the silky-smooth voice of Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame Inductee Gene Pharr, plus The Mighty Kicks, and The Extraordinaires. 

Attendees can have the “time of their lives” in the dance lessons tent, watching live dance performances from the film, listening to first-hand movie experiences in the Storytellers Tent, racing with watermelons to benefit PANCAN, or showing off fancy footwork in the amateur shag competition. 

Perhaps the most anticipated event is the annual Lake Lift Competition, growing from three couples in 2010 to 16 at last year’s competition.

 Following the festival, after-parties will be held at multiple locations in Lake Lure, including Rumbling Bald Resort, the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, and Geneva Riverside Motel & Tiki Bar.

 Free public parking for the festival is available along the Lake Lure Beach boardwalk and at the Arcade Building. On-site parking in Morse Park is $10 per car. Parking in two nearby shuttle lots is $5 per car and located in Lake Lure at Riverside Pavilion at 3105 Memorial Highway and the old Lake Lure School Building lot at 2556 Memorial Highway.

 Tickets are available online at 

Admission to the Aug. 18 film screening is free, starting at 8 p.m. Advanced tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children, and prices increase at the festival gates to $25 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets are non-refundable and the festival occurs rain or shine. 

Chairs and blankets are allowed, but no coolers, oversized bags or pets will be accepted.

For Dirty Dancing Festival news and updates, “Like” the event on Facebook. For additional questions, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 The Dirty Dancing Festival was founded in 2010 in Lake Lure, where much of the classic movie was filmed.

With the support of Lionsgate Films and several of the film’s cast and crew, the event was co-founded by Lake Lure resident and PR-guru Michelle McConnell Yelton of McConnell Group Public Relations and former dancer-turned-event producer Jo Beyersdorfer of JNB Events in Los Angeles. 

The festival debuted in 2009 with more than 2,000 attendees from 24 states and two foreign countries.

In 2011, JNB Events took over direction of the festival, and produced the event until 2015.

In 2016, JNB Events handed the festival over to the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge located in Lake Lure, making it truly a homegrown event.



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