By Mel Beasley
With its roots steeped in local history, dancers from across the South are encouraged to come out and shag for local charity as Wrightville Beach Parks and Recreation plans to continue hosting its annual shag lessons starting in early March, according to an official press release earlier this month.
The announcement came during the popular annual East Coast Shag Classic event which ran from Feb. 8 to 11, and included live music from bands such as Black Water Rhythm and Blues Band, the Band of Oz, Smokin Hot, and Steve Owens and Summertime. Ken and Sandy Jones were the weekend’s emcees and dance instructors, leading a group of about 30 people from all age groups and dance levels. The event served as a fundraiser for Hope Abounds, Inc. which has dedicated itself to enhancing the lives of women, children and teen cancer patients along with their families. Hope Abounds provides support services for educational opportunities, patient advocacy and financial assistance for those affected by cancer.
Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation will host the 4-week shag lesson series starting on Thursday, March 8. Ken and Sandy Jones will instruct the lessons, which will cost $50 per person, and $40 for Wrightsville Beach residents. Dancers at all levels and ages are encouraged to participate; beginner lessons start at 6:30 p.m. and advanced at 7:30 p.m. at Fran Russ Recreation Center at 1 Bob Sawyer Dr.
Event director Penny Millis said that attendance was strong again at this year’s main event, with shaggers coming from as far as Maryland, Georgia and Tennessee.
“It’s great to bring it back to where it all started,” said Millis, noting the dance’s local roots to New Hanover County.
Hope Abounds has hosted the East Coast Shag Classic Fundraising Events for nearly 10 years, and utilizes all profits from the event to fund programs within their organization to help newly diagnosed cancer patients navigate their journey to healing.
Women of Hope and A Kids Hope are both programs of Hope Abounds, Inc. which has dedicated itself to enhancing the lives of women, children and teen cancer patients along with their families. Hope Abounds provides support services for educational opportunities, patient advocacy and financial assistance.
Millis said the shagging community enjoys the annual events because of the opportunity it offers to give back.
“The shagging community is all about helping others,” Millis said.