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Swingin’ in the rain: Downpour fails to derail fun of Dirty Dancing Festival
Friday, 16 September 2022 21:28
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LAKE LURE — After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 13th annual Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival — announced in advance as “sold-out” of its 2,500-ticket limit —  returned Sept. 10 amid a steady rain that let up only occasionally, while still drawing an enthused turnout of dedicated — and predominately female — fans of the 1987 film that was partially filmed at Lake Lure. The event was held on Keeter Field, next to the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa.

Festival organizer-spokeswoman Laura Doster told the Daily Planet early Sept. 12 that “we estimate approximately 2,000 (people) attended, even with the rain.” (Doster is the director of the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge, which hosted this year’s one-day event that was billed as a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer.)


“Everyone ranted about Asheville Ballet and how great a job they did,” Doster said. “Also, having Frankie Privette, Lisa Sherman and Stacy Widelitz perform was a highlight.”

Further, the festival spokeswoman told the Daily Planet, “The Dirty Dancing fans were awesome. They did not give a flip about the rain .They came out, danced in the rain and had a fabulous time. 

“The really nice thing was they were ALL so nice. We only had one story of a fan being difficult. They (the fans) were so happy and thankful to be there. All the volunteers talked about how kind everyone was. Such a nice story, especially with all the negative press in the world today.”

In a follow-up text sent to the newspaper just before this edition’s mid-morning Sept. 12 press deadline, Doster wrote: 

“The winners of the (lake) lift were Amanda Jones and Rainey Ashcraft. They were just featured in the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) 9/1 cover story about the DDF lift and what goes into it. She’s won before in the past.” (Further insider details on the festival from Doster will be included in a follow-ip story in the next edition of the Daily Planet.)

As usual, the talented Asheville Ballet members led group dance lessons under large tents. And during band breaks, the ballet performed on center stage — in slick conditions and with only a little visible slippage — dance scenes from the film, as well as dance routines inspired by “Dirty Dancing.”

The ballet later performed a series of elaborate dance routines from — and/or inspired by — the Talent Show scene in the film.

Among the most popular features were posing with a life-size playwood cutout of the late actor Patrck Swayze.

In addition, a new twist this year was the presence of a giant wall hanging of Swayze alone, without his co-star. The giant print drew a long line of Swayze’s legion of female fans who kneeled on hands and knees, while others obligingly shot photos — at the correct angle — seemingly to replicate a famous scene between Swayze as Johnny and co-star Jennifer Grey as Baby.



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