Dance marathon offers $1,000 prize

By Tom Joyce

July 23, 2014

The dance marathon craze, which emerged during the 1920s and 1930s, will be rekindled during an upcoming event at Mount Airy Elks Lodge which offers a $1,000 prize to the last couple standing.

“We want everyone to wear their best poodle skirts, muscle shirts and dancing shoes and plan to dance all night,” Tammy Gravely, the chairman of the Aug. 2 event said in announcing the sock hop and dance marathon.

It is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the lodge, located at 100 Elks Drive in Mount Airy, with a midnight end time. If there are still more than one couple on the dance floor, organizers say they will have other means to determine a winner.

“This will be a blast,” predicted Gravley, a member of the Shepherd’s House Board of Directors. It is sponsoring the sock hop and dance marathon to benefit the homeless shelter in Mount Airy.

While a summertime fundraiser to support Shepherd’s House activities has become a fixture on the board’s calendar, it is breaking new ground with the upcoming effort.

“This is the first time we’ve done a sock hop and dance marathon, which I think is very cool,” said the Rev. Phil Goble Jr., executive director of the Shepherd’s House. He said the idea was devised by a committee of the governing board, and it will merge two attractions that hearken back to earlier times.

Sock hops, associated with the 1950s, were informal dances held at American high schools, typically in gyms or cafeterias. The term “sock” hop refers to dancers being required to remove their hard-soled shoes to protect the varnished floors of those facilities.

Dance marathons, meanwhile, were endurance contests that attracted people to compete for fame or monetary prizes.

In addition to the $1,000 prize for the last couple standing at the Aug. 2 marathon here, with organizers noting that the cost for entering the competition is $25, drawings will be held for two special prize packages.

The first is a $1,000 shopping spree. The second is a gun package that includes a Ruger 1022 semi-automatic long rifle, a Mossberg 500 combo 12-gauge shotgun with a 28-inch barrel and an 18.5-inch barrel with a pistol grip kit and a Kel-Tec P-3AT .380 semi-automatic pistol.

Tickets for the prize package drawings are $20 each, and participants do not have to be present to win.

Dinner for the event will cost $20.

Music is to be provided by a DJ, Blanton Youell. “There’s going to be a variety,” Goble said of the tunes spun, “But the theme is the Fifties.”

“We are looking forward to a great night,” stated Jason Pike, the chairman of the Shepherd’s House Board of Directors. “It will be a night to enjoy some great music, great dancing and great food. We hope everyone comes out for this special night.”

Goble is inviting dance enthusiasts in the area to be part of the competition. “It will be a blast from the past to see all the costumes and dance moves as people work to win that $1,000 prize.”

Tickets are available from Gravley at 336 789-8246; Traci Haynes at 336-755-8832; Farah Davis at 336-755-0770; Shannon Hardy at 336-648-9940; Dianna Cox at 336-374-9453; Lori Willis at 336-429-9877; Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies at 336-786-1537; Pike, 336-710-5083; or at the Shepherd’s House at 227 Rockford St.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.