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Pawleys nights: Pavilion Reunion builds on memories

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Beach music will float on the sultry air and shaggers will dance the night away at Pawleys Creek this weekend as the Pawleys Pavilion Reunion celebrates its 13th year.

The annual event, “steeped in tradition and nostalgia,” returns on Saturday, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Pawleys Island Nature Park at the east end of the North Causeway. It’s the second year the reunion has taken place as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Georgetown County.

“It’s something we undertook with a great deal of respect last year. We listened carefully to the past organizers and what their experiences were, and were able to work off their experience and advice,” said Annette Perreault, Habitat’s executive director.

The event was a huge success, raising a lot of money for a good cause and attracting more than 1,000 people who gathered to relive old times and make new memories with generations who will never know the old dance halls on the island that the reunion was created to honor.

“It’s an event that’s a lot of fun. There was just so much joy that evening — being outside, and the music,” Perreault said, remembering last year’s reunion. “It’s a real celebration. It’s a lot of work too, but we’re super excited to being doing it again, and we’re thrilled because we just heard the weather forecast and it’s supposed to be a perfect evening.”

That should go a long way in helping Habitat build on last year’s success. They’ve already doubled the number of sponsorships for the upcoming event over last year.

Money raised from the 2012 reunion will go toward building a home for Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Simmons and their three young sons.

“They are living in dire conditions and all those attending will help to build them a home without lifting a hammer,” Perreault said.

Habitat does not give away homes, but raises money for materials, trains volunteers to build and provides a 25-year, no interest, no-profit mortgage on each home. The families must complete 400 sweat equity hours, including a six-week financial responsibility course, and be able to repay the mortgage.

Taking the stage for this year’s reunion are The Catalinas, a group sure to have shaggers of all ages tearing up the dance floor. DJ Paul Craver will also provide music.

Habitat teamed up with three local restaurants — Pawleys Island Tavern, Island Bar and Grill, and Land’s End — to offer a series of shag lessons in recent weeks to make sure folks are ready to showcase their moves this weekend.

Food for the reunion will be provided by Hanser House and Hog Heaven, and “they have a wonderful menu planned,” Perreault said.

Tickets for the reunion are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate. They can be purchased at Georgetown Kraft Credit Union in Pawleys Island and Georgetown, Pawleys Island Supplies and the Habitat office, 1907 Hampton Ct., Georgetown.

Reunion T-shirts are also on sale at Pawleys Island Supplies and the Habitat office. The shirts feature a rendering of the last Pavilion by April Bensch.

Shuttle service will be offered to the reunion from Pawleys Island Plaza, where there is ample parking. No cups or coolers are allowed through the gate, but “bring a chair and come enjoy a great evening,” Perreault said.

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