East Coast Shag Classic
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
2/17-18 • $10-$60
The second annual East Coast Shag Classic (ECSC) will take place through the weekend of the 17th, with proceeds benefitting the local nonprofit Women of Hope. All weekend bands will play as people pivot and sugarfoot in support of those fighting cancer. Elizabeth Barnes, executive chair of Women of Hope, who took part in founding the ECSC, started the organization after her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
“We have always found ways to give back to the community,” she says. “Then, when our daughter Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer we thought, Why not support others when we already know what it is like to go through this? There are lots of fund-raisers in place, but they still lack support. When you are diagnosed, you don’t know where to turn.” Kelly is still getting treated for breast cancer, but Barnes is grateful that she was raised in such a positive home and that she could always laugh. Barnes believes that Kelly’s degree in music therapy and her positive attitude will benefit her immensely. Thought the cancer is physical, overcoming it is very mental.
So, the family started Women of Hope in March 2010. Their goals are to provide support groups, programs, services, advocacy, education and financial assistance for women battling any type of cancer. So far they’ve reached out to hundreds of patients and families in their first three years. Barnes puts a great emphasis on having a support group while battling an illness. She believes there is no better way of getting through cancer than by doing so through your community. For example, Women of Hope provides childcare and meals during chemo treatment, but that’s just the beginning.
“When women join us, I sit them down, determine their support and needs, then I advocate for help with the resources available in the community. That’s what makes us different,” Barnes says. We also offer a phone service called Woman to Woman, for those too sick or who feel uncomfortable in a group setting. We often have a survivor give them a call and show the same support, just from the mouth piece of a phone.” Barnes adds.
Women of Hope has created the East Coast Shag Classic not only to help fund their cause but to allow folks to participate in a statewide dance tradition. “It is the dance of the Carolinas,” Barnes says. “It was born here. We wanted to do something that is different. Beach music is happy music. Attitude is everything.”
A coastal cocktail attire event (meaning look good and come limber), the classic will be held at the Blockade Runner Resort at Wrightsville Beach, which has been a huge sponsor and supporter. For folks wanting to stay on hotel grounds, instead of buying tickets per event, Valentine’s packages are available online for the resort.
On Thursday the Hearts for Hope event is designed to kick-off the Shag Classic with music from DJ Big Kahuna of the Big Kahuna Beach Party along with the Band of Oz. The Blockade Runner Resort will provide a dessert reception and there will also be a silent auction with items offered from Sage Spa. There will be more nightly drawings throughout the weekend. Hearts of Hope tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door.
Penny Millis, event coordinator, tells about new additions to the 2013 event, which will now exclude the shag competition and open the floor for more social dancing. “Instead of the competition, we will have the Sand Band come from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. We will also have two ballrooms simultaneously playing music. A featured DJ will be in one room during the evening and in the other room we will have a band.”
The competition has not been permanently thrown out, but due to a bigger competition in Atlanta during the same time, many of the greats couldn’t sign up. However, next year will be a different story for those looking to win the judge’s favor.
With a lineup of award-winning musicians, everyone will be up and dancing. Jim Quick (of the famed Jim Quick and Coastline) has won entertainer of the year by the Carolina Beach Music Awards-10 times, and will be preforming on Friday night. Also on Friday, DJ Joey Warren will be spinning tunes at 7 p.m. Doors will open on Saturday for the Sand Band at 10:30 a.m.; tickets are only $10. Later on, DJ Betty Brown will be playing bluesy shag music at 7 p.m. (accompanied by happy hour). Tickets for either night are $25.
For the 2012 Shag Classic the organization raised just enough to come out positive. “Last year, being our inaugural event, we were ecstatic that it didn’t cost us,” Millis continues. This year has already surpassed our expectations; we have over 20 sponsors and there will be around 300 people coming for the weekend.” Tickets are going so quickly that they are expected to “probably raise 10 times more” than the first year, Millis exaggeratedly hopes.
“Shaggers are such a great demographic of people,” Millis quips. “They tend to be so generous and life-loving.”
Already trumping last year’s donations and expecting 100 more guests than the first Shag Classic, the Valentine’s packages have brought proceeds up substantially, and the fund-raiser is still a week away.
On the final day, Joey Warren and the Big Kahuna will make another appearance to end the fund-raiser. For more information about the event or how to give back, visit www.eastcoastshagclassic.com.
Although Millis wouldn’t give any details of their next big events, Women of Hope are constantly planning and hinting that the next few months will be full of hope. She did hint at Celebrate Hope happening on September 28th, where they will be promoting awareness education. To get involved one way or another, visit http://womenofhopenc.org/