Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 6, 2012

25th anniversary: Dirty Dancing Festival has fun for all film fans

By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PEARISBURG, Va. — Fans of the hit movie “Dirty Dancing” will be able to recreate their favorite film on location in Giles County to benefit the American Cancer Society and to honor the memory of the late film star Patrick Swayze.

Much of the movie was filmed at the Mountain Lake Hotel in rural Giles County, spawning this year’s first Dirty Dancing Festival in Pearisburg, Va., to honor the 25th anniversary of the film.

Cody Oher, an organizer of the festival, said the festival will coincide with the anniversary of the film and as well as the resort where much of the film was made.

“This is the 25th anniversary of the movie in conjunction in the anniversary of Mountain Lake and using that as one of the location sites,” Oher said. “A lot of movie memorabilia is kept up there and there is a tour in the off season for people to show where the movie was filmed. The tour will be part of our festivities, so we will be taking folks up there to show them around. Giles County uses the film for a lot of advertising, particularly for Pearisburg and Mountain Lake. This is definitely a tourist destination.”

Proceeds from the festival will be going to the Giles County Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society to honor the late Swayze, who died in 2009 after battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

“Since Patrick Swayze passed away from cancer we wanted to partner up with the American Cancer Society and local Relay For Life teams to get the proceeds headed toward fighting the disease,” Oher said. “He was a big advocate for cancer research during his life. They have been coming to our committee meetings. We have been planning this festival for a year now and the American Cancer Society has sent representatives to help us with this.”

Oher said the festival will include events for all ages of film fans.

“There are a lot of activities and things going on,” Oher said. “We specifically targeted the different age groups. We have activities aimed at children like face painting, inflatables and things like that. As you move up in age groups there are talent and dance contests, and a character look-a-like contest. We are showing the movie at the theater there as well as having an outdoor night showing. There is an auction of memorabilia going on right now featuring the original lyrics to ‘I’ll Have the Time of My Life.’ One of the biggest things is the bands Sounds Express and Legacy who will be playing songs from the movie and from that era.”

With the festival coming soon, Oher said organizers are still looking for local volunteers who want in on the behind-the-scenes action.

“We are also still looking for volunteers,” Oher said. “Anyone who volunteers gets free admission, a free T-shirt, and a voucher. We are hoping as many community members can take part as possible. Anyone who is looking to volunteer can call 540-664-4139 for more information.”

Events at the festival will include karaoke, inflatables for children, a Baby and Johnny look-a-like contest, a talent show, dancing lessons and a dance competition, movie trivia contests, live musical performances, a classic car show, and a silent auction of memorabilia from the movie. There will also be an outdoor screening of the movie on the courthouse lawn beginning at 10 a.m.

The festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to 11:55 p.m. in downtown Pearisburg, Va. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at the Pearisburg Dirty Dancing Festival 2012 website.

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com