2014-06-14 / News

Festival Highlight: Bootscooters Lead Dancing in the Streets

By Macaela Bennett


After two hours of line dancing, Island workers and children pose with Western Michigan Bootscooters president Doc Hamilton. After two hours of line dancing, Island workers and children pose with Western Michigan Bootscooters president Doc Hamilton. The Western Michigan Bootscooters, a western style dance club, led more than 250 Island residents, workers, and visitors in line dancing Saturday, June 7, as part of the Lilac Festival.

A few minutes before 7 p.m., spectators began filling up the road in front of the Stuart House on Market Street. Country music began to play and the Bootscooters, clad in purple shirts for the Lilac Festival, invited everyone to follow along in the first line dance. They handed out purple, beaded necklaces with green pins and the inscription, “Honorary Member.”

Within minutes, the street was packed with children, teens, and adults attempting to follow the steps and keep the lines straight to avoid bumping into others.

Bootscooters dancers scattered themselves throughout the lines so all participants stood nearby someone teaching the steps. After every song, Bootscooters handed dancers another beaded necklace to encourage them to continue partaking in the fun.


Western Michigan Bootscooters members dressed in shades of purple shirts led country line dances on Market Street in front of the Stuart House Saturday, June 7. Western Michigan Bootscooters members dressed in shades of purple shirts led country line dances on Market Street in front of the Stuart House Saturday, June 7. Midway through the lesson, dedicated participants were invited to take a straw cowboy hat from a rack as small children and young adults scrambled to claim one, while others watched, laughing, clapping, and taking photographs from sidewalks and nearby porches.

While the Bootscooters played many older, western-style songs, they also led dances to pop hits like, “Poker Face,” the “Cupid Shuffle,” “Blurred Lines,” “Wobble,” and the “Electric Slide.” At the sound of these familiar songs, dancers added their voices to the dance steps, some struggling to keep step and sing the lyrics at the same time.


More than 100 people participated in the Saturday evening line dancing with the Western Michigan Bootscooters on Market Street. More than 100 people participated in the Saturday evening line dancing with the Western Michigan Bootscooters on Market Street. The country dancers also entertained the crowd with several choreographed, couples dances.

Afterward, Mike Timm of the group explained that members hand out necklaces both to encourage and keep track of the number of dancers. So many participated Saturday that they ran out of necklaces, but they know at least 250 people followed along in the line dancing fun.

“This was a great year,” Mr. Timm said. “I think we had one of the highest number of participants.”

The club, based in Muskegon, has grown since last year to 122 members, two of whom joined after watching the dancing in the streets activity last year.

Club president Doc Hamilton added he likes to see strong participation, saying, “It’s more fun for us when more participate, and we want to see them having fun, too.”

Aside from leading dances at fundraisers, parades, and demonstrations throughout western Michigan, the Bootscooters dance weekly for several hours on Saturday evenings, where they invite community members to bring snacks to share and learn dances with club members.

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