Twistin’ the night away

(Above) Winter Dance Party headliner Chubby Checker sang and danced his way into the hearts of Saturday audience members. -Reporter photos by Chris Barragy.

by Marianne Gasaway

The 60th anniversary of the Winter Dance Party was celebrated in Clear Lake in the most fitting of ways— with a gathering of all ages of people singing, dancing and reliving great music.

The Surf Ballroom was a sell-out for its annual event and thousands enjoyed not only performances from a record-number of groups, but events throughout the community.

The focus of the celebration is always the lives and legacies of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, but for those making their annual February trek to Clear Lake, or stepping onto the wooden dance floor for the first time, it is also about the feeling they get just being here.

Mary Lynn Jartz and her husband have been coming to Clear Lake for 21 years to enjoy the Winter Dance Party and each year they continue to be amazed.  “Jay and The Americans might be one of the best acts we have ever seen at the Surf.  They were so true to the music,” said Mary Lynn.

Others couldn’t get enough of this year’s headliner, Chubby Checker.  Checker himself seemed

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