What’s better than dancing at an outdoor summer concert? How about swimming and dancing at an outdoor summer concert?
Last Wednesday, in the name of journalism, I took my little assistants to the free Summer Concert Series at Dundee Park in Windham. This popular concert series is now in its fourth year, and last week’s perfect temperatures and fabulous band drew quite a crowd. Many of the audience members also enjoyed Dundee Park’s beautiful beach and the warm, calm waters of the Presumpscot River during the concert, turning the outdoor event into a combination swim and dance party.
As the sun began to sink toward the trees on the far side of the river and a few kayaks and fishing boats meandered downstream, the 80s tribute band, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, took the stage. Wearing fabulous 80s-themed costumes, including rainbow wigs and denim jean jackets, this band rocked the night with a wide array of female-fronted 80s hits.
For those of us who remembered hits like “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “867-5309 (Jenny)”, dancing and singing along to lyrics we memorized many years ago was a blast. However, the band made sure to also include those audience members who missed the 80s by several decades.
“Do we have any kids out there?” Andrea Delan Parker, lead singer of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, asked the crowd. “Do we have any kids who like candy?”
As a crowd of screaming, mostly swimsuit-clad children rushed the stage, Parker tossed Ring Pops to her young fans before launching into her next song. Later, Parker threw red balloons into the air and challenged the dancing children to keep those balloons aloft while the band played “99 Red Balloons.”
“I didn’t hear any of the balloons pop,” Parker said, after the song finished. “That’s a good sign!”
In addition to the band, the American Legion of Windham cooked and served a wide array of refreshments and Gorham Savings Bank handed out swag, including temporary glitter tattoos and cloth frisbees which served as great tools to keep the red balloons afloat.
“We love coming here,” said Pam Whynot of the American Legion. She explained that different nonprofits volunteer to serve food at each of the four summer concerts, and the American Legion has been participating in the Summer Concert Series since its inception.
When a few of the younger audience members wandered onto the stage, lead singer Parker asked if they would like to join the band. She then produced maracas, microphones, and an inflatable saxophone for the children, who danced onstage with the band as they “played” their instruments.
“Those are our future band members,” Parker said, offering up a round of applause for the young musicians.
Not knowing what to expect from the concert series, I’d foolishly neglected to bring swimsuits or towels for my little assistants. After several rounds of enthusiastic dancing on the hot sand, my five-year-old son Ian asked, “Can I get my shoes wet?”
I looked at his sandals, at his wide eyes, and at all the other kids frolicking in the swimming area of the Presumpscot River.
“Sure,” I said.
Two minutes later a slightly wetter Ian came up to me and asked, “Can I get my shirt wet?”
By the end of the concert, both of my assistants were happily exhausted, and Ian was drenched from head to toe after an hour and a half of what he described as fully clothed “swim dancing.”
It was a perfect night in Vacationland!
The next concert at Dundee Park will be held on August 14 and it will feature The Carmine Band and on August 21st, American Ride will perform. The shows begin at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Admission to the park is free after 5 p.m. on concert nights, and I recommend arriving early. Also, be sure to bring swimsuits and towels!