Winter Dance Party approaching

Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Businesses in Clear Lake are getting ready for the highlight of an otherwise cold and slow winter - the annual celebration of the lives of Buddy Holly and two other musicians who died in a plane crash.

"Business-wise I probably make as much in that three- to-four-day period as I do in the whole month of January," said Randy Looper, owner of the Lake Country Inn.

The Winter Dance Party started in 1979 as a time for fans to gather at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and remember and honor the music of Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens

The musicians, along with their pilot, were killed in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, in a field just north of town.

Pat Galasso, owner of Ge-Jo's by the Lake Italian restaurant, puts on additional staff and changes the restaurant's winter schedule to accommodate the influx of thousands of rock 'n' roll fans.

"It means a lot to Clear Lake and it means a lot to our business," she said.

The 2001 Winter Dance Party is scheduled for Feb. 1-3.