LIMA — Gary and Shirley Adams take the dance floor at the Lincoln Park Pavilion. The Friday night dances bring back memories of a simpler time.
They’ve been coming to the dances for as long as they can remember.
“Seems like forever,” said Gary Adams. “We came here right after we got married for a short time so it would be a long, long, time ago. We’ve been married 66 years. My wife’s parents danced here and that would have been in the ‘30s and ‘40s,” he said.
Seeing them arm in arm, they have an obvious love for each other and the Friday night dances.
“It’s a chance to get with friends, and we like to dance,” he said.
Dances like these are a rarity.
“It’s just the fact that we don’t have many dancers anymore. After our generation, I’m afraid there won’t be any dances,” he said.
He especially enjoys the music from the ‘40s through the ‘50s. “We can dance to that. It keeps us young,” he added.
“I like the music that they have and they always have good bands,” Shirley Adams said.
The Al Best Band will be featured four times this summer at the Friday night dances.
They play a variety of songs that the older folks like and even tried to sneak in a polka version of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Richard Zunkiewicz plays trumpet in the band named after Al Best, who died a few years ago.
“We saw him the day before he died and he said, ‘Guys, keep the band going because people really enjoy the music we play,’” Zunkiewicz said.
He’s been playing with the Al Best Band for around 20 years and enjoys playing the Friday night dances.
“The camaraderie, the people, they like our music. We play, what I call the old timer stuff, ‘40s and ‘50s music, ballads, some rock, some square dancing, some line dancing, some polkas, some waltzes, just the kind of music they like to hear and dance to,” he said.
But, slowly the audience for music from the ‘40s and ‘50s is dwindling.
“We’ve noticed the crowds have gotten smaller. It’s unfortunate because we think we play good music,” he said.
But the regulars keep coming back and for part of an evening, they can feel young again.
“It’s music they remember. They recognize the melodies and they sing along and they remember the good times they had when they come over here,” Zunkiewicz said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.