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Big Swing Thing returns for second year in York City
After its successful 2017 debut, The Big Swing Thing will be returning for its second year with an entire weekend of events.
The Big Swing Thing II, which will be held Friday through Sunday, April 27-29, is a tribute to the swing era and the prominent role York played in it, according to Tom McLaughlin, member of the Unforgettable Big Band and one of the event organizers.
The organizers came up with the idea as a way of using York City's Valencia Ballroom, 142 N. George St., which is one of four remaining original ballrooms from the swing era in the U.S., McLaughlin said.
In its heyday, the ballroom hosted the biggest names in the music industry, including Glenn Miller, Les Brown, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra.
"We felt we had to do something with the ballroom to restore its glory," McLaughlin said.
Last year's event, which drew hundreds of participants from several states, cemented its status as one of the largest big band and swing music festivals in the area, McLaughlin said.
This year, they are planning for an even larger crowd and have extended the event to three days, featuring eight bands as well as swing dance lessons and performances that will be held throughout the weekend.
Friday, April 27: There will be a welcome dance Friday evening. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the event will be held from 7 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. The Hepcats and Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five will perform, and the event also will feature the Ladybirds from the Victrola Dance Hall, 324 W. Market St.
Saturday, April 28: Saturday's performances will begin at 9:30 a.m. and last until midnight. They will feature the bands Riverside Rhythm, Gettysburg Big Band, M&J Big Band, Reisterstown Jazz Ensemble, Powerhouse Big Band and the Unforgettable Big Band.
Sunday, April 29: A special send-off brunch will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the White Rose Bar and Grill, 48 N. Beaver St. Afterward, there will be a walking tour of downtown York focusing on the highlights of the swing era and World War II.
For more information, visit www.york365.com and the Facebook event page “The Big Swing Thing II.”