Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost In the 50s - a Longstanding Sandpoint Tradition!

In the world of text messaging, twitter and facebook, people often long for a taste of the simpler days. In Sandpoint from May 14th through May 17th the clocks will be turned back fifty years as baby boomers, young professionals and school kids don their poodle skirts, penny loafers and rolled up jeans; men and boys will slick back their hair and the town will be transformed into a scene from the 1950s. Vintage cars will be the norm as will the music of Elvis, Ricky Nelson, The Platters and Fats Domino. Sandpoint’s Lost in the 50s weekend, now in its 24th year, draws people from far away places and has become a favorite tradition for many.

“It’s a lot of fun for the community,” said Barb Merritt, who has been a volunteer for the event for the last several years. “And most of the people who enjoy it weren’t even around in the 50s.”

People will gather on Thursday, May 14th at the historic downtown Panida Theater to kick off the weekend with Rock ‘N Roll Heaven.

“Elvis will be back,” said Merritt, as will other highly entertaining impersonators.

On Friday, May 15th vintage cars will parade down the streets of Sandpoint revving their engines and entertaining those who line the downtown corridor. Following the parade there will be a street dance sponsored by Sandpoint radio station 106.7 The Point. It will take place downtown between Second and Third Avenues on Main Street and is often a big attraction for many, both young and old.

Both Friday and Saturday evenings there will be a dance and show at Bonner County Fairgrounds. Both nights will feature the music of the Crystals, Johnny Thunder and for the 16th year, the Florida based band Rocky and the Rollers. It is open to anyone 21 years of age and older, with tickets available at the door or at Second Avenue Pizza in Sandpoint.

Organizers say that what many don’t know is that it was The Crystals – an all female group - who recorded the original versions of It's My Party and Chapel of Love. However, the versions recorded by The Crystals were never released and instead were recorded by other female artists.

Also performing will be Johnny Thunder. Thunder grew up in Florida and left there as a young man to begin a singing career in New York. Over the years he toured with the Ink Spots and was a member of the Drifters after the departure of Ben E. King, who left to pursue a solo career.

Also performing at the Bonner County Fairgrounds is a group that has become a favorite among many who attend Lost in the 50s - Rocky and the Rollers.

Organizers say Rocky and the Rollers will visit Sandpoint for the 16th year for this event and have become part of the Lost in the 50s family, referring to them as one of the cornerstones of the Lost in the 50s weekend.
On Saturday from 9:30 to 3:30 cars will line the streets of downtown Sandpoint, vendors will barbeque and music will play as people shop and view the many vintage cars that will be on display.0

“Many of the restaurants have special menus for Lost in the 50s,” said Merritt.

But whether or not you are a fan of old cars, Merritt said many come because of the atmosphere.

“I love the old music and cars,” said Merritt. “But most important I love that this is a community event. It kicks off the summer in Sandpoint.”

Taking part in the weekend are many civic groups as well as Sandpoint High School service groups, serving food, setting up for the concert, and helping with the many needs.

Finally on Sunday morning the weekend will wrap up with the Aspirin Rally-Run. A 5K fun run, sponsored in part by the Sandpoint running club Cardio-Junkies, it will take place at 10:00 a.m. followed by the car rally at 11:20.

Merritt credits founder Carolyn Gleason with bringing such a wonderful event to Sandpoint and keeping it going all these years.

“Here you have a woman who had an idea twenty four years ago, and she and her little band of revelers just keep going,” said Merritt, who adds that volunteers are always needed.

“It talks a lot of people to put it on, but it’s very rewarding when you sit back after it’s all over and can say you really did something that helped the community,” said Merritt.

Anyone who would like to participate in the car parade on Friday night needs to be at Sandpoint High School on Highway 2 and Division no later than 5:00 p.m. for the 6:00 start time. If you would like to volunteer to help during the Lost in the 50s Weekend, contact Barb Merritt at 208-290-1323 or call 208-265-LOST.

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