Gary Busey starred as Buddy Holly in "The Buddy Holly Story" and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Submitted photo

CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake’s winter homage to the music of the 1950s and the life and times of three of the decades’ well-known entertainers starts next week.

The Winter Dance Party celebrates the music of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. “Big Bopper” Richardson, who died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, after an appearance at the Surf.

The 2013 Winter Dance Party runs from Thursday, Jan. 31, through Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

Tickets are still available at $110 each for the three nights. The booths are sold out.

For a separate ticket, the Winter Dance Party Family Sock Hop is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30, featuring entertainment by Denny & The DC Drifters of Austin, Minn. Advance tickets are $7.

The celebration kicks off Thursday, Jan. 31, with the sons of musical legend Ricky Nelson.

“Ricky Nelson Remembered” featuring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson and Gary U.S. Bonds with special guests Denny & the DC Drifters will take the stage.

Marvelous Marvin Short and His Winter Dance Party Sock Hop will headline a second sock hop on Friday, Feb. 1.

Marvelous Marvin Short and the band will play tributes to Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison.

Saturday night’s big show includes Gary Busey and the 35th Anniversary Tribute of “The Buddy Holly Story” with special guest Tommy Allsup.

Also performing in “A British Invasion” will be Eric Burdon & The Animals, Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon, Denny Laine of the Moody Blues and Wings, and Terry Sylvester, formerly of The Hollies.

“The Buddy Holly Story,” a 1978 Columbia Pictures release starring Busey as Holly, chronicles Holly’s life and musical career — from the days when “Peggy Sue” was “Cindy Lou,” a song about his first girlfriend, to the swift run of “That’ll Be The Day” as the hit climbed the charts, to his marriage, breakup and reunion with the Crickets, and untimely death.

Tickets for a special 35th anniversary showing of “The Buddy Holly Story,” featuring a special guest appearance by Busey, are on sale at the Surf Ballroom.

The screening will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Lake Theater in downtown Clear Lake as part of the Winter Dance Party.

Tickets are $30, which includes admission to the screening, where Busey will introduce the film and hold a brief question-and-answer session, as well as a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception immediately afterward at the Clear Lake Arts Center.

In addition to the entertainment, the weekend includes record shows, a kid’s show at the Surf, an art show at the MacNider Art Museum in Mason City, a lecture on the music of 1958 and 1959 at the Clear Lake Public Library, and a symposium on the birth of rock ’n’ roll at E.B. Stillman Auditorium.


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