Liberty County love birds celebrated Valentine’s Day early by cutting a rug Friday night beneath the new tin roof of the Dorchester Village Civic Center in Midway.
The dance, a fundraiser to help maintain the recently restored school-turned-gathering place, featured a live band, red and pink decorations, hors d’oeuvres and a festive atmosphere.
Partygoers, who paid $25 per couple or $15 for singles, could bring their own alcoholic beverages.
Couples swayed to the sounds of the Boomerangs of Savannah, who covered several oldies and classic rock hits such as Van Morrison’s "Brown Eyed Girl," Otis Redding’s "The Dock of the Bay" and The Penguins’ "Earth Angel."
Julie Martin, secretary of the center’s board of directors, said the dance came together easily thanks to the coordinators’ advanced planning and dedication.
"We worked a little bit on Monday and then about an hour and a half earlier today," Martin said of her group’s set-up efforts.
Board president Barbara Martin, vice president Rebecca Brigdon, treasurer Dennis Christiansen and members Ann Ramsey, Danny Creasy and Jim Cooler all helped spread the word to ensure a good turnout. They sent e-mails, posted announcements on Facebook, invited friends and family, Martin said.
Susan Hamilton, Martin’s cousin, booked the band.
"The drummer is in my water aerobics class in Savannah," she said. When she heard the civic center board needed a band for the dance, Hamilton used her connections and recruited the Boomerangs.
Martin, like the other guests who whirled around the dance floor and paused occasionally for refreshments, said she was happy to be able to enjoy a night with friends.
"It’s great to be able to have a good time in a very old building that has been restored while surrounded by family and good friends," she said. "One of the main things we want to do here is to have a gathering place — a meeting place — that when people come, they know they’re going to have a good time."
Martin and the board accomplished their mission, according to Bob Mathews.
"We always enjoy coming to Dorchester because you get to see people you don’t see all the time," he said. "It’s just good to be here with friends and to get together and enjoy ourselves."
Attendees decked out in semi-formal attire milled around the old schoolhouse, greeting friends and making acquaintances. When the band took a break, many couples sauntered away from the dance floor into an adjoining classroom where they snacked on finger food.
Makayla Morris, 13, and Kyle Hagler, 16, helped themselves to chips and salsa. Easily the youngest guests, the teens appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Morris said some of her older family members helped plan the party, and she was happy to make an appearance. "It’s fun," she said.