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Saying farewell to winter – with style

Wren Wertin
Greg Morrison, winner of the BMW local giveaway, shows his excitement at Street Beat on Wednesday night.
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Boogie Machine, a Denver-based disco band, performed to a full street of raised arms, wiggling bodies and the occasional multi-colored afro wig. Singer Cherry daBomme had the audience wrapped around her bad-couch-patterned pantsuit as she busted out with “I Will Survive,” “Celebrate” and other classics.

Nobody enjoyed the concert more than Dave Morrison, a local painter, whose key opened the door to the grand prize BMW. He was the only alternate in the group of five who had the chance to win the car.

Residents of Eagle, Lake and Summit Counties were able to register once at each Street Beat concert, 13 in all, this season. All the entries were put into a vat – the hopper – and five were chosen, all of them Eagle County residents. Amy Birdsall from Edwards, Kristen Diedrich from Minturn, Jana Brown from Vail and Greg Queen from Edwards were in the first five. When Gregory Burnett didn’t show up, Morrison became the fifth.

The contestants each chose a BMW logo from a large screen, which gave them a number corresponding to a key. Being the fifth contestant, Morrison had no choice. He simply chose the logo that was left, lucky number three.

“I knew it was going to happen,” said Morrison as he climbed out of his new car. “I felt lucky today.”

Though the crowd got excited for the new Beemer owner, when measured in terms of applause, Queen was the crowd’s favorite. A bartender at Gore Range Brewery, many in the crowd knew his name as soon as it was called.

“I’m glad he won,” said Queen about Morrison. “I mean, he’s a painter. He works harder than I do. Everybody else up there had a professional job, and probably drives a really nice car. So I was hoping one of us would get it.”

So, too, was the crowd.

They were primed by Jerry Bergeson, Boogie Machine’s band leader. With his crushed velvet pants and infectious grin, nobody could deny him. People wiggled, they giggled, they downright got down.

“I actually remember disco,” said Wildridge resident Priscilla Clark. “This is awesome.”

Edwards resident Joe Sunn had adopted a new persona – and new afro wig – midway through the concert.

“The band gave it to me. They felt like I was hair-challenged,” he said, lifting up the wig to display his less than full head of hair. “This is the best (Street Beat) concert. It’s warmer.”

“This is the best dance music,” said Mike Cacioppo, moving his hips in time to the beat. “It’s got the right beat.”

The crowd seemed to agree. Not everybody boogying down was a local ready to win the car. Plenty of visitors were there for the street party. Max Shatzen, 12, and Daniel DiChiro, 12, were both in front, moving their hips and sweeping their hands about in synchronized unison.

“Dancing is fun,” said Shatzen. “Just like snowboarding.”

The Vail Valley Foundation, the group responsible for producing the series, estimated attendance for the season at 28,000. Roughly 12,000 tickets were filled out for the grand prize giveaway.

After the BMW hoopla, Boogie Machine got back on stage, and urged the crowd to “Celebrate.”

“Disco is great,” said Mary Zelli of Fredericksburg, Va. “It reminds me of my misspent youth.”

Of course those who live in Vail have spent their time well.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.


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