Drummer Tim David, guitarist and keyboardist Duncan Meiklejohn, guitarist George Penwarn and bassist Kelt Eccleston of BackBeat Entertainment. The ’60s tribute band will play at Willows Beach Park May 31. (BackBeat Entertainment Photo)

Sock Hop dance kicks off 2019 Oak Bay Tea Party

Groove to ‘50s rock at Willows Beach Park

Morgan Cross

News contributor

Get your shimmy on at Oak Bay Tea Party’s first Sock Hop.

The family-friendly dance runs Friday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Willows Beach Park main stage. Canadian ‘60s tribute band BackBeat will rock the grounds with major classic hits, including knock-your-socks-off titles by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Elvis Presley and more.

Newly appointed entertainment director for the Oak Bay Tea Party, Stephanie Greaves, said she hopes the Willows Beach dance becomes an annual event. Greaves aims to revive use of the main stage with this year’s sock hop, and to bring new life to the Oak Bay Tea Party, which has seen few additions to its cycle of events over the years.

READ MORE: Photos from the 56th annual Oak Bay Tea Party parade

“I think sometimes we can fall into a dangerous place by doing things the same old,” Greaves said. “We have a stage … we have people, why not have a dance? And what better way to bring back a little revival than to have a beachside sock hop?”

Sock hops were popularized in the mid-20th century as an informal dance for teenagers. Traditionally, sock hoppers were invited to don poodle skirts and sweater vests and remove their shoes at the door for a night of boogieing, but Greaves encourages participants to dress however they like. One street in Oak Bay has indicated they’ll arrive at the park dressed as Danny Zuko and the Pink Ladies.

“Make it as fun as you want,” Greaves said. “We welcome it, and we certainly have prizes for best costume, and if you’ve got your hand jive down to a fine art, then even better.”

The dance will be free to attend and accommodating of all members of the family, including younger members, as it will take place on the first evening of the midway. May 31 is the only day $30 wristbands will be available during the Tea Party weekend, giving wearers unlimited access to any ride between four and nine p.m. Friday is also a chance to skip longer lineups, as Saturday and Sunday often see the most midway use. On those days, ride tickets will be available in bundles of 20 or 40, for $23 and $45 respectively.

“[The sock hop] is a tremendous kick-off to the Oak Bay Tea Party,” Greaves said. “We hope that we’ll see everybody there, rain or shine.”


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