Dancing the night away on New Year’s Eve

Among the many islanders dancing in the new year will be Sukima Hampton and Rich Horton (above)

Every year, a group of Orcas Islanders ring in the new year with style – out on the dance floor.

“Let’s Dance” is this year’s theme for the annual New Year’s Eve ball, sponsored by the Orcas Dance Club. It will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 31 in Orcas Center’s Madrona Room. The doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the music starts at 9 p.m. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be available throughout the evening and champagne will be served at midnight.

Now in its 11th year, the New Year’s Eve Ball averages between 80 and 100 dancers each year. Organizer Lynn Richards says you can “wear your best Levis or you can wear a tux,” adding that quite a few men wear their finest threads. The room will be decorated beautifully, complete with lots of balloons, and the crowd usually puts the noisemakers to good use when the new year arrives.

The Orcas Dance Club was started in 1991 by five couples who were interested in dancing. Richards and his wife Glenna were one of those original couples. The club holds four dances a year: one on New Year’s, one in the spring and fall, and an extra dance sometime in between. The number of members has grown to 150 from its original 10. The dances are not exclusive to members – the entire community is invited.

The music will be provided by the Steve Alboucq band from Seattle. Alboucq is the son-in-law of Josie and Wally Barrow, who are also two of the founding members of the Orcas Dance Club. The band plays everything from swing to rock to mambas. Richards calls it “great dance music.”

Richards says “everyone is in a festive mood and ready to have a good time. We’ll be welcoming in 2009!”

Tickets are $40 per person (down from $60 last year) and they may be purchased at Kay’s Antiques in Eastsound.