They were the days of big hair, jams, half-shirts and parachute pants. "Girls Just Want(ed) to Have Fun," and boys might be found "Smokin' in the Boys Room."
And every week during the summer from the late '70s to early '90s, these girls and boys from all over the Ohio Valley descended on the Wheeling Park White Palace to "Jam on It," "Get Into the Groove," "Safety Dance" and perhaps dabble in a little "Tainted Love" with their favorite "Super Freak."
Now Generation Xers can relive those days and at the same time raise money to provide park activity wristbands to children who have family members deployed in the U.S. military.
Park Dances Revisited is scheduled for 7:30-11 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at the Wheeling Park Ice Rink.
Tim Boudreau of Wheeling organized the event by creating a Facebook page a year ago to gauge interest. Hundreds responded over the next few months, and to date, there are 1,317 members. The first planning meeting was set in February, and arrangements have progressed to include making it into a fundraiser, securing sponsors and even bringing on board former disc jockeys from WOMP-FM to help spin the tunes.
"We have 1,500 tickets available and we plan on selling out," Boudreau said. Park dance revelers from all over the country have responded and are coming in for the event, he added. It remains to be seen how many guys will sport mullet haircuts or rattails, but several women on the Facebook page are already planning to recreate their big hair.
The 21-and-over dance will include contests such as the best '80s outfit, plus a 50/50 raffle, Chinese auction and door prizes. Food, beer, pop and water will be available for purchase, as will souvenir mugs and T-shirts.
Tickets are priced so all can afford to come out and enjoy a throwback to those "Glory Days" and "Summer Nights."
Major sponsors include The Health Plan, Alcyone Consulting Inc., Paree Insurance, Extreme PC Repair and Generations Pub. Many local businesses also have donated gifts and cash to support the event, Boudreau said.
For tickets, call the Park Dances Revisited hotline, 304-231-6718, orsend an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets also are available at Generations Pub and Jeni V salons.