ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- The Star City Motor Madness weekend officially kicks off tonight. This year's event features the downtown car show, the Williamson Road Cruise-In and something new-- a Sock Hop.
It's been 15 years since the event began and event organizers wanted to do something special-- so they created the Sock Hop as the official kick-off event to the weekend. In this case, the party imitates real life, as people dress up in 50s-era costumes to relive the Sock Hops that really happened at Preston Park and other parks across the Star City back in the 1950's and 1960's.
The idea started several years ago, when Wendy Jones, the executive director for the Williamson Road Area Business Association, says she wanted to hold a shag dancing contest. She wanted to find a way to incorporate a party like that with an event that is already very popular.
"We went on to morph those two ideas together and get a kick-off event for Star City Motor Madness as well," says Jones. "We're celebrating the hops in the area and having another reason for people to come here."
So far, the response has been huge. Jones says she's seen people of all ages, from their early 20's to people who actually attended Roanoke's Sock Hops back in the 1950's.
Friday's Cruise-In event on Williamson Road always brings out massive crowds. Many people head out early Friday to find a spot along Williamson Road, saving it with a chair or blanket so they can come back later for the Cruise-In. It;s events like this that bring more and more people to Williamson Road, leading to big improvements over the past few decades.
"We've had businesses do facelifts and historic updates," says Jones. "New businesses move in and take down old properties or just give a bright appearance to the ones they have. There have been a lot of changes on Williamson Road and it's all for the up and up."
They're changes that city leaders expect to continue in the future.
For more on the Star City Motor Madness and the Sock Hop event, click here.