When Fat City Swingâ€™s summer dances in the Douglas Park were discontinued, it left a void, said Pat Weibelzahl.
Thatâ€™s when the folks at Youâ€™ve Gotta Have Friends â€“ a group Weibelzahl founded â€“ stepped up and moved their community dances from St. Josephâ€™s church to the bandshell in the City park.
Since that move four years ago, the annual Boppinâ€™ In The Park event has been growing.
Now, this Friday, literally hundreds of people are expected to bop and boogie to the musical stylings of lesismoremusic.com, Weibelzahl said.
â€œWe give local musicians a venue to perform and each dance focuses on different genres, i.e. rock, country, Dixieland, etc.â€ she explained.
Youâ€™ve Gotta Have Friends aims to facilitate community connections and one way to do this is through free family-friendly events, including this dance.
â€œBoppinâ€™ In The Park has a festive atmosphere and we provide opportunities for people to mix and get to know one another. And, children add a fun element as they play with bubbles and games,â€ Weibelzahl said, already gearing up for this weekâ€™s event.
The free dance runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 18 at Douglas Park. And, the event is free thanks to the fundraising efforts of YGHF members who recycle bottles and host concessions through the year, she explained.
Participants are encouraged to wear purple and yellow to celebrate the YGHFâ€™s kindness connects initiative.