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Location: 35 Ocean Road, Narragansett, R.I. (50 minutes from downtown Mystic)
One of the most unique dancing venues on the East Coast, the historic Towers offers sweeping views of Narragansett Bay from its seaside location. The stone towers straddle Ocean Road, and the iconic structure is lined with windows, giving dancers breathtaking views from every place on the dance floor. There are restaurants and ice cream within walking distance, and the Narragansett sea wall is a great spot for sunning and people-watching.
Ongoing dance lessons are offered on Wednesday nights starting at 6, including cha cha, West Coast swing, and tango.
The summer "Music and Dancing" series runs Thursday nights from 7-10 p.m. from June until Labor Day. Admission ranges from $10-$20, and kids younger than 9 are admitted free.
The Revelers play swamp-pop, Cajun, country, blues and zydeco on June 20. Local doo-wop favorites Reminisce appear July 11, and Aug. 1 features Honky Tonk Knights. Check the website for updates on the rest of the lineup , which includes the Coastline Swing Band, Superchief Trio, Roger Ceresi and the All Starz, Slippery Sneakers, and Sarah and the Tall Boys.
The series ends every year with a much-anticipated performance by Cajun superstars Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys on Aug. 29. (To area dancers, this concert is known as the "unofficial start" of the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charlestown — see entry below.)
36th Annual Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival
Location: Strawberry Park Campground, 42 Pierce Road, Preston
When: Thursday-Sunday, May 30-June 2
Cost: Adult festival pass, before May 27 $120 / After $130 ; teens (13-17), $60/ $65, under 12, free; Thursday, adult $15/$20, teen $7.50/$10; Friday, adult $45/$50, teen $22.50/ $25; Saturday, adult $50/$60, teen $25/$30; Sunday, adult, $25/$30, teen, $12.50/$15. Cash only for gate purchases.
Paper/Plastic: All major to purchase advance tickets. Bring cash to the festival
Pets? Yes, but with caveats. Pitbulls, rottweilers and Doberman pinschers are not allowed. It would be best to visit the campground website or call ahead with specific questions about pets.
Amenities: Strawberry Park has bathrooms with hot showers, three swimming pools, a whirlpool and snack bar. Call ahead to reserve a campsite.
Good to Know: The lineup includes The Gibson Brothers, The Steeldrivers, The Greencards, The Seldom Scene, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, The Kruger Brothers, Dale Ann Bradley, The Dry Branch Fire Squad, The Hillbenders, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Grasstowne, The Stray Birds, Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters and more.
Strawberry Park Blast from the Bayou Cajun and Zydeco Festival
When: Thursday-Sunday, June 6-9
Cost: Adult festival pass until June 2, $115/ after June 2 $125, teen (13-17) festival pass $57.50/ $62.50; under 12, free; Thursday, adult $15/20, teen $7.50/ $10; Friday adult $40/50, teen $20/ $25; Saturday adult $50/ $60, teen $25/$30; Sunday adult $25/$30, teen $12.50/ $15. Cash only for sales at the gate.
Good to Know: Performers for 2013 include: Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, The Pine Leaf Boys, Lil Wayne & Same Ol 2 Step, The Savoy Family Cajun Band, Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew, Li'l Anne & Hot Cayenne, Planet Zydeco, Jimmy Jo and The Jumbol'ayuhs, C'est Bon, Johnny Ace & Sidewalk Zydeco.
The Hot Steamed Jazz Festival
When: Friday-Sunday, June 21-23
Location: Essex Steam Train grounds, from Route 95 north or south, take Route 9 North to Essex. At the end of the ramp, take a left, the station is 1/8 mile up on the left.
Cost: Single session on Friday, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, or Sunday, $35; Saturday All-Day Pass, $60; full weekend pass, $100 ($90 if purchased before June 8); Children younger than 12, $8.
Amenities: Held under tents, rain or shine. Food vendors will be on site, guests may bring beer or wine but leave hard liquor (and pets) at home.
Good to know: Started in 1992, a weekend celebration of traditional jazz, swing and blues; proceeds benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp founded by Paul Newman, a camp for children with cancer or serious blood diseases. This year's lineup includes Dan Levinson's New Millennium All Stars, Galvanized Jazz Band, Heartbeat Jazz Band, Riverboat Ramblers, Midiri Brothers, Wolverine Jazz Band, Jeff Barnhart, Bob Seeley, Jazz Jesters, Ben Mauger's Speakeasy 6, Sugarfoot Youth Jazz Band, Funky Butt Jazz Band, and Festival All Stars.
Rhythm & Roots Festival
When: Friday-Sunday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1
Location: Ninigret Park, Charlestown, R.I. (off Route 1)
Cost: Full festival with camping, $170 per person; full festival non-camping, $135 per person. Single day tickets: Friday, $35; Saturday, $55; Sunday, $55. Kids 12 and younger admitted free with ticketed adult. Senior discount of $5 is offered on single day tickets only.
Amenities: Tented dancing and dance classes are offered. For kids: storytelling, art activities and a playground. For campers: Portable toilets, hand washing stations drinking water and daily trash pick-up provided free of charge. Showers are a nominal fee. There are trails, tennis courts and a freshwater swimming pond. Pets are not allowed. Alcohol is not permitted, but will be sold by vendors in the concert area.
Good to know: This year's lineup features Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole; Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band's 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour with the Barbeque Orchestra; Marcia Ball; Carolina Chocolate Drops; Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys; Texas Guitar Women; Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie; Los Texmaniacs; Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band; Red Stick Ramblers; Yvette Landry; Bill Kirchen & Texicali; Della Mae; Phoebe Hunt; Roddie Romero & the Hub City AllStars; Ed Poullard & Preston Frank; Golden Triangle Swamp Blues.
Location: 86 Boston Post Road, Waterford (behind Jiffy Lube)
Open ballroom dances are held every Saturday night at 7. $15 admission includes a free group lesson and refreshments.
An introductory private lesson for individuals or couples is offered free of charge, Tuesday through Saturday from 3-11 p.m. Social and competitive dance lessons also offered in fox trot, swing, rhumba, tango, salsa, samba, cha cha, mambo, waltz and hustle.
No partner or experience necessary.
Vinnie's Jump and Jive
www.vinniesjumpandjive.com; 860.347.6971, ext. 3777
Location: 424 Main St., Middletown
Community dance hall offering ongoing social events and classes, including waltz, tango, belly-dancing, salsa, swing, blues, ballroom, country line dancing, and tap and more. Yoga, special movement programs for kids and special pre-wedding dance classes are also offered. No partner or experience necessary.
Cost: Varies, but usually between $5 and $12 per class/social event.
Location: Various sites along the CT shore.
Volunteer group organizes classes, monthly dances and workshops. Swing, blues hustle, waltz, fox trot, tango, rumba, salsa and more. No partner necessary.