Live summertime entertainment, some of it taking place outdoors, is coming to the South End.
Although the Langley Main Street Association announced that it will not be putting on the annual Langley Street Dance this year, the dancing will continue.
Business owner Callahan McVay, with the help of former mayor Tim Callison, is organizing and funding the joyous event, which will look and feel similar to years past.
McVay, who is also the president of the Langley Main Street Association, said the organization made the decision not to host the popular event. Some members of the association were concerned it would be inconsiderate to have what may be a widely attended event so close to a pandemic.
But McVay decided to host the event on his own, pointing to the lifting of Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 restrictions and a way for the community to come together after a long time apart as valid reasons to break out those dancing shoes.
“I didn’t want to let it die on the vine,” McVay said.
The annual tradition started out as part of the Choochokam Arts festival, which dates back 45 years. The Langley Main Street Association and the city of Langley worked together to adopt the Langley Street Dance when the arts festival stopped hosting it, starting in 2016.
“I panicked because I didn’t want to be the mayor that lost the street dance,” said Callison, who was mayor at the time.
He and McVay, who worked together on the first Langley Street Dance hosted by the city and the association, have joined forces on their own to hold the event this year.
In recent years, the dance has taken place in the Second Street plaza outside of McVay’s glass-blowing business and studio, Callahan’s Firehouse.
That’s where it will be this year. Second Street will be partially closed the day of the event, which runs 6-8 p.m. Saturday, July 10. Janie Cribbs and the T.Rust Band will be performing two sets.
McVay said he anticipates that there may be some pushback against the event. Just last month, the city council made the decision to rescind a mask mandate that applied to people outdoors in downtown Langley.
For those with concerns, McVay said people can either listen to the music far away from a different street, or don’t come at all.
The event has always been free of charge, although donations are welcome. This year, McVay and Callison took on the fundraising themselves.
The dancing will also continue this summer outside the Cash Store, at a series of free street dance events starting July 14. Every other Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., people will be able to listen to live entertainment from Whidbey performers, including Rubatano Marimba, PETE the BAND, Western Heroes and more.
Although not outdoors, the Machine Shop in Langley is also cranking up the sound with some rock band performances.
Tim Leonard, the owner of the arcade, said there are three family-friendly concerts planned so far for this summer and fall.
The first show will be July 17, which is also the sixth anniversary of the Machine Shop. Starting at noon, all of the machines will be free to play on that day. Bands Eva and Partial Sun will be playing that night, 6-10 p.m.
Another show on July 30 will be led by Dr. Chef and guests. A third show, planned for Oct. 2, will feature Oak Harbor punk rock band Potbelly.
All shows are free, with donations directly supporting the musical talent.