by Bernie Lewis
The excitement began to build among the small number of people who had heard that the Village People would be making an appearance at the Apple Blossom. They would be together for only a short period of time and attend only one event.
That Thursday evening finally arrived. They were to gather at my house to put on their costumes and makeup. A couple arrived already in their garb. The others took to separate rooms to prepare. After a half-hour or so they all came together in my living room.
The Indian wore a feathered headset and war paint. The construction worker had a tee-shirt with an American flag on the front, sleeves rolled up to show off his muscles. The cowboy sported six-shooters in twin holsters and a ten-gallon hat. The policeman had a bright shiny badge. The sailor had a traditional navy suit and hat. The biker wore polished leather.
Pictures were taken of the group and members in various combinations. When the time finally came everyone loaded into two SUVs for the trip to the tent.
It was one of those years when rain dampened much of the Apple Blossom Festival, but the events in the tent went forward. Steady drips from the canvas roof and muddy floors could not keep the people from coming out and enjoying. Nothing could stop the Disco Dance Party.
There was a small buzz as a few in the crowd saw the group enter together. Flashes went off as pictures were taken with cameras and phones. The Village People dispersed to enjoy the music, drinks, conversation, and people watching while awaiting the main event. The crowd danced, sang, and talked through the night.
Finally, toward the end of the second set, the lead singer of “The Right-On Band” encouraged all in attendance to make their way to the dance floor. He said everyone was going to want to be a part of this. The crowd responded.
As the opening bars of “YMCA” hit the speakers, the Village People gathered together on the floor. Despite the crowded condition, the revelers made way for the group to stand side-by-side.
The crowd was in a frenzy. Everyone knew the routine and joined in. Choreographed arms moved in unison. The tent walls seemed to vibrate with the music and the shouts of “Y-M-C-A.” The atmosphere was electric. The 70s were back and everyone loved it.
The euphoria ended all too soon. The crowd’s applause was deafening. As the band struck up the next song, the Village People dispersed. Over the next few minutes, they left the tent. They had done what they came together to do.
I’d like to thank Debbie, Rian, Sarah, Angela, and Mike for making this event, and the cherished memory, possible.