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Residents dancing in the street

A street dance kicked off Williamsport Days Friday.

A street dance kicked off Williamsport Days Friday.

August 26, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

WILLIAMSPORT - Charmain Summers made her son reschedule his wedding's dress rehearsal when she learned Williamsport once again was holding one of her favorite hometown events - a "street dance."

When the dance began, about 6 p.m., as others began unfolding their lawn chairs, setting up wallflower spots along the curbs of East Salisbury Street, Summers already had claimed her spot on the dance macadam.

"We used to come to this when we was teenagers," Summers, 53, said and smiled, all the while shifting her hips to the music. Summers was one of the first - next to 17-month-old Emily Tucker - to venture into the cordoned area to dance.

The Town of Williamsport brought back the street dance for Williamsport Days, a new incarnation of C&O Canal Days, the town's former annual festival, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said.

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"People wanna feel that hometown, homecoming feeling," McCleaf said. "We wanted to let them know, 'We're gonna do some of the things you did as a kid.' It's our homecoming. We're hoping we can make it a bigger homecoming."

It had been "a long time" since an actual street dance was held in Williamsport, McCleaf said. As part of C&O Canal Days, organizers held dances at the Springfield Farm barn, but had to cancel a dance there last year after bat droppings were discovered on the site.

T&T Rockin' Entertainment, which donated its DJ services for the event, set up its speakers on East Salisbury Street, next to Tony's Pizza Time Cafe, which sits at the street's intersection with Conococheague Street.

Tara Tucker, 32, an employee at Tony's, took a break from work to watch her daughter, Emily Tucker, who was with a friend and baby sitter, dance.

"She knew she was going to come dance and she knows the word dance," Tucker said while watching Emily, who "raised the roof" with her hands when "Strokin'" began playing on the loudspeakers.

"Everybody's in there watching her through the windows," Tara Tucker said.

There were a lot of spectators early on, but McCleaf predicted that by the end of the night, the dance area would be packed.

Sherri Taylor, 61, set up her lawn chair across the street in front of Hair Reflections, alongside her friend, Susan Mongan.

"We're just spectators," Taylor said. Taylor already had run into a Williamsport High School class of 1963 classmate, and said hello to a family she knew as she spoke.

"You see a lot of people," she said.

Williamsport Days continues through Sunday with events throughout town, including a craft fair today at Byron Memorial Park.




If you go



What: Williamsport Days

When: Today, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Byron Memorial Park and Cushwa Basin, Williamsport

Call 301-223-7711, ext. 212.

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