Celebrating 42 Years of Zionsville Street Dance
Writer // Janelle Morrison
Photography // Courtesy of Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and Submitted
In the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce (ZCC) office sits a collection of “Zionsville Street Dance” buttons dating back to the mid-1970s that were generously donated by a local resident. Attendees were given these buttons at the admissions tables in lieu of wristbands. More than four decades later, the residents of Zionsville and members of the ZCC continue to celebrate the town’s tradition. Zionsville Street Dance has evolved into one of the most celebrated annual events attracting approximately 7,500 residents and visitors to dance the night away upon the historic brick street.
As the years unfurled, Zionsville Street Dance would follow the current trends of food and entertainment while maintaining its purpose of bringing folks together in fellowship and “showing off” one of the town’s most treasured amenities, Main Street.
Thousands of feet have tapped, danced, skipped and stood on these bricks over the decades, and even more memories have been created among friends and families at this annual gathering, which fills the evening with summer lightheartedness just before the new school year approaches.
When the ZCC first booked the popular greater metro area band, PolkaBoy, for Street Dance just a couple years ago, the town saw an unprecedented crowd of nearly 5,000. The word had spread throughout Boone, Hamilton and surrounding counties that this [Street Dance] was the place to be. Last year’s estimated attendance by Zionsville Police Department was at 7,500.
“What is so appealing about bringing PolkaBoy to Street Dance are really two things,” said Tracy Phillips, ZCC executive director. “First of all, they are a fun, good time band, and if you are going to have a street dance, you want people dancing on the brick street. Street Dance is about gathering on the bricks, dancing and being together. The other aspect that is so appealing about bringing in PolkaBoy is that they bring their fans. We have so many visitors from outside of Zionsville who come and join us who feel that they can bring their entire family, from little ones in strollers to their teenagers.”
Local residents may not realize that Zionsville Street Dance is the ZCC’s primary annual fundraiser.
“Much like other nonprofits, memberships sustain us,” Phillips said. “But we need fundraisers in order to give superior customer service and provide member services and other free events for the community like Christmas in the Village.”
The Chamber also relies heavily on the support and sponsorships of local businesses and organizations, such as Fanimation and the Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau (BooneCVB).
BooneCVB is responsible for booking PolkaBoy this year. Phillips expressed the Chamber’s deep appreciation for BooneCVB as the entertainment and stage sponsor. Phillips also acknowledged and thanked the presenting sponsor for this year’s Zionsville Street Dance, Fanimation.
While it is a street “dance,” there is truly something for every age at Zionsville Street Dance. ZCC member Celebration City will have inflatables and obstacle courses for kids of all ages, and Zionsville Fire Department will have games and activities as well.
Chamber members will have some booths set up along Main Street just north of the ticket booths along with local food trucks and local restaurants to help supplement the food and beverage demands.
“We make a concerted effort to bring in local food trucks and supplement with booths from local restaurants,” Phillips said. “We try to mix it up, so that we’re not duplicating services that are already available on Main Street. For our Chamber members that are interested in having a vendor or food booth on Main Street, this is an exclusive opportunity for our members to be seen by approximately 7,500 people.”
Once again, the ZCC is pleased to have Kristi Lee, Zionsville resident and radio/podcast host, emcee the Zionsville Street Dance.
“Kristi is constantly supportive of the Chamber and of our efforts not only for economic development but for also historic integrity,” Phillips said.
Lee recalled attending her first Zionsville Street Dance after moving to the town when her children were quite young.
“I remember when I first moved here, and I didn’t know very many people. My kids wanted to go [to Street Dance] because all their friends were going,” Lee said. “I propped my chair up in the middle of the street, and by the end of the night, I had made 10-20 new friends and have never looked back. My kids always enjoyed going when they were younger because all their friends were there, and they could dance and have fun.”
Lee stated that having PolkaBoy return as the entertainment draws in an immense crowd from all over the greater metro area because the group has such a vast and dedicated following.
“PolkaBoy is always a huge draw for Street Dance,” she said. “Having them back really helps to promote our town. I think what makes this festival special to me is the fact that I live here, and I get to highlight my town, my village. It is a family-friendly event that you can let your kids go have a good time without worrying about them because everybody is watching out for each other. It definitely has a small town feel but offers big town amenities like the great bands, great food and great atmosphere. For the last few years, I have been fortunate to work closely with the Chamber, and I not only help with Street Dance but also with Christmas in the Village, another wonderful event. Our town has such great businesses that are willing to get involved and help to make our town even more special.”
For ticket information, visit Zionsvillechamber.org.