A longtime Prairie Days favorite will make a much-anticipated return this year.
Attendees can kick off the three-day event in style and brush up on their dance moves Friday, June 28, during the Street Dance party, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Second Street SE next to the Yelm Community Center.
The event is sponsored by Hump Day Partner Dancing, and food vendors and a beer/wine garden will be available nearby for those of legal age.
Co-organizer Matthew McLellan said the free event will be a no pressure, fun way for community members to express themselves and enjoy the beats of modern, family-friendly dance music.
“You could get out there and dance or you could sit in the beer garden and watch people dance,” McLellan said. “There will be everyday folks, like you and I, out there.”
Being an instructor at Hump Day Partner Dancing, McLellan said it gave him leverage to spearhead the revival of the Street Dance, which he said has been in talks for years.
Nicki Foster, wife of Mayor JW Foster, and Cory Kolilis, co-founder and owner of Puget Sound Entertainment, assisted McLellan with this event. Puget Sound Entertainment is expected to provide music.
McLellan, a fourth-generation Yelmite, said he’s not exactly sure when Yelm held its last Street Dance. But he knows a couple residents who might have the answers.
“It was certainly sometime within my mother's lifetime. So sometime within the last 40-some-odd years,” he said.
According to the Nisqually Valley News archives, dances in the parks and streets during Prairie Days have been hosted in one way or another as far back as 1979, back when the event was a week long.
“Immediately following the selection of the royal ruler (Prairie Days Princesses), teenagers will remain in the park for a free dance with music supplied by Highway 101 Rock band,” a 1979 Nisqually Valley News article read.
In addition to featuring a beer and wine garden, this year’s event will also play host to Tacos Gaby and The Cattleman. It’s not recommended, but dancers can bring their own food to the dance floor.
”It’s just really excited to have the opportunity to create more vibrancy in our town and maintain the culture in the same stride,” McLellan said.
Learn more at yelmprairiedays.com.