Hugh Weltz is hoping that the third time really is the charm. Weltz is the chairman of the dance committee for this weekend’s street dance that will finish off the three-day sidewalk sale in Elmira put on by the BIA. For the past two years he has spent weeks organizing musicians, getting sound equipment and acquiring permits to close Arthur Street, only to have the event cancelled at the last minute due to rain.
“We are lucky this year. We have a place to hold the dance in case of rain,” said Weltz with a laugh. In case of a downpour, the committee will quickly move the 500-600 people expected to attend the festivities indoors to the Dan Snyder arena at the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
“But we are crossing our fingers that the weather will hold out for us this year – there is something really special about being able to listen to music outdoors.”
This year the event will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight (Saturday) with King Roller, a five-piece band from Kitchener-Waterloo. They began playing together in 2005 and have taken musical influences from country artists like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, the southern style of the Allman Brothers Band and even the free spirited jams of the Grateful Dead and Phish.
Following King Roller on stage is the headliner for the night, Gavin Knight & the Rhythm Resurgence, a nine-piece, soul-influenced outfit.
“I am really interested to see their performance,” said Weltz, who has chaired the dance committee for the past 20 years. “They do a whole range of things, and I have heard lots of good things about them.”
The event is supported by a number of community organizations including the Kiwanis Club of Elmira, the Elmira Legion, the Knights of Columbus and the Elmira Scouting group. The profits from raffle tickets, as well as food and drink sales will go directly back to the clubs and the community projects they support.
“It’s just a nice evening of entertainment for the community,” said Weltz. “There will be something for everyone – even for kids and families. Being out on the street with your neighbours and friends is something that is unique to this event – it’s a great time to get reacquainted and even meet some new people in town, make some new friends.”