Twisting the night away

By Keith Strange

August 2, 2014

Visitors to the Mount Airy Elks Lodge Saturday night could be forgiven for thinking they’d traveled back in time for an evening.

The sounds of the likes of Elvis, Jan and Dean and Chuck Berry filled the air. Poodle skirts, leather jackets and slicked-back hair abounded.

And stockinged feet tapped out the beat of the music on the dance floor.

The event, a Sock Hop and dance marathon to benefit the Shepherd’s House, drew a standing-room-only crowd as couples danced the night away hoping to be the last couple standing and win $1,000.

Organizers of the event said they rely on fundraisers to help keep the doors of the local homeless shelter open.

While a summertime fundraiser to support Shepherd’s House activities has become a fixture on the board’s calendar, it is breaking new ground with the weekend effort.

“This is the first time we’ve done a sock hop and dance marathon, which I think is very cool,” said the Rev. Phil Goble Jr., executive director of the Shepherd’s House. He said the idea was devised by a committee of the governing board, and it will merge two attractions that hearken back to earlier times.

“We’re trying to raise money for the Shepherd’s House, and thought we would try something different,” said Tammy Gravley, chairman of the home’s board of directors. “We’ve done a lot of fundraisers in the past and we thought this would be a fun thing to do.”

Looking over the packed dance floor, Gravley said she believed the night would be a success.

“This is going great,” she said. “There is a lot of participation, and people seem to be enjoying themselves.”

In addition to the $1,000 prize for the last couple standing, drawings were held for two special prize packages.

The first is a $1,000 shopping spree. The second is a gun package that includes a Ruger 1022 semi-automatic long rifle, a Mossberg 500 combo 12-gauge shotgun with a 28-inch barrel and an 18.5-inch barrel with a pistol grip kit and a Kel-Tec P-3AT .380 semi-automatic pistol.

Gravley said the door prizes had proven to be a hit with the crowd.

“I can’t tell you how many tickets we’ve sold, but it’s a lot,” she said.

As for the competitors, the evening simply seemed like something fun and different to do while benefiting a worthy cause.

“This is the first time we’ve come out to something like this,” said Luke Dohn, who came to the event with Amanda Crutchley. “It sounded like fun and since I love the 1950s, I wanted to come out and be a part of the contest.”

As for Goble, the event was about more than having a good time.

“We don’t survive without fundraisers like this,” he said. “We have a great support base in the community with groups like churches and civic organizations, but fundraisers like this really do help us keep the doors open.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.