Dance party benefits UPAWS

MARQUETTE – A Hillbilly Dance Party for all ages is planned for Sunday, with the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter to benefit.


“Traditionally, country, rockabilly and folk has been referred to as ‘hillbilly’ music because of its roots in the rural south,” said Jesse DeCaire, one of the show’s organizers. “And normally when you think of ‘hillbilly’ you think of someone uneducated and ignorant so I wanted to take that term and use it instead to celebrate this music that I love so much.”

The musical groups performing at this UPAWS benefit have ties to the “hillbilly” vibe.

“Mike Waite of course is playing his brand of soulful jazzy folk with his velvety voice,” DeCaire said. “Trailer Hitch will be doing a set of classic country by the likes of Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels.

“And the Bad Luck Lullabies, my band, pays homage to both rockabilly country and 50s rock and roll, with songs by more well-known 50s and 60s icons like Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, to lesser known names like Wanda Jackson, Ronnie Allen and Lavern Baker, to some more modern rockers like Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats,” he said.

The music starts at 6 p.m. and continues until 10 at the Ore Dock Brewery in Marquette. Dia de Los Tacos will have items for sale during the event.

Suggested admission is $5, with proceeds going to UPAWS.

“The show will be fun for people of all ages,” DeCaire said. “People have that cliche view of country that it’s all ‘my wife left me and my dog died’ which of course is part of it, but there’s also this infectious energy that’s present in that music, especially at the rockabilly end of things that is undeniable and makes people want to dance.

“There’s something for younger folks who can respond to that energy in the music,” he said. “And it’s great for older folks who will recognize a lot of these songs from when they were younger.”

For Lareina Van Strien, UPAWS manager, the event is just further proof of how the local area backs the shelter.

“UPAWS is a non-profit facility that runs entirely on donations to care for over 1,600 animals each year and provide community services,” she said. “Fundraising events are a key way for UPAWS to continue to support the animals.

“The community that supports UPAWS is truly exceptional and we feel very blessed. Our ability to provide care, medical attention and a new home for animals is because of our wonderful community. Asking for funding is never easy, but by creating a fun event, such as the Hillbilly Dance Party at the Ore Dock Brewery, we are offering a fantastic way for UPAWS supporters to have an entertaining night in the process of helping UPAWS.

“These type of fundraisers also provide a great way for local businesses and community members to help each other and create opportunities for business,” Van Strien said.

Van Strien said she herself is excited to attend the event.

“We are looking forward to a fun-filled evening with food, music, locally crafted brews and great people,” she said. “We are asking for a small donation at the door but also bring your smiles and be ready to dance. This event is for all ages and it promises to be a great time for everyone.

“We appreciate the Ore Dock for opening this venue for a UPAWS-supporting event and the bands for offering their services. It is amazing to see the community come together to support UPAWS and the animals in our care.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is