Leila Dycus staff writer
Nothing says summer has arrived like a night of dancing under the stars in Town Park even a chilly forecast couldn’t keep Morgan County residents out of the park. On Friday, May 16 people poured into Town Park for the annual Downtown Dance. This year’s event featured the band Grains of Sands, a beachy Motown group hailing from Athens. Attendees brought their lawn chairs and claimed their spots in the grass adorned with their picnics and drinks of choice they bared the chilly night for some fun.
Ann Huff said that this year nearly 400 people came to dance beneath the lanterns. Although this is a little less than in years past, Huff contributes the lower numbers to many other events that fell on the same night. Graduation parties and other area events may have kept people from the night of dancing but the enthusiasm still radiated from the park. Huff continued by saying that Colleen Hall headed up the team who planned the event. Hall and her group of volunteers handled the lanterns that adorned the lights. The lanterns provided the night with it’s extra fun feel.
Cindy Samagalsky was one of those who braved the cold to experience the music and dancing. Samagalsky said that while it was chilly the Grains of Sand music warmed her friends and her up. The location of the event couldn’t have been a more perfect place for friends to gather and listen to music and just unwind. Huff said that the event originated around the time of Madison’s Bicentennial. At this time Town Park was more of a street, which led to the naming of the event as Street Dance. Since the street has been transformed into the park the name also changed to Downtown Dance. Just as the name has changed so has the time that the event happens.
Originally Street Dance happened in June but the weather was typically too hot. The planners moved the dance to mid-May in an effort to find cooler temperatures. This year’s dance happened to land on one of Georgia’s cold spurts. One thing that has stayed the same over the years is the type of music played. Grains of Sand Band kept with the tradition of Motown inspired music playing songs like Aint to Proud to Beg and Dancing in the Streets. Downtown Dance had people of all ages making their way to the dance floor to sport their best moves.
Slow songs allowed couples the chance to groove together, while the band also played line dance songs that got everyone to their feet. Overall the night was a huge success- Huff received multiple calls following the event talking about how well it was. Grains of Sand had their own following, which brought many people to Madison for a visit. If you missed this year’s dance be sure to come out next year, as the event is a summer staple.