Seniors, oldies fans can get their groove on at new Riverfront Park dances

When Ron Steiner asked around, he learned that a lot of older people, including himself, don’t have places they can dance to music they enjoy and grew up with.

“They said, ‘I used to dance, but I don’t get a chance to dance now,” Steiner said.

Now, thanks to Steiner, there will be a place they can dance all summer long.

The family friendly event “Let’s Dance” kicks off June 11 at the Gerry Frank | Salem Rotary Amphitheater at Riverfront Park, and will be the second Sunday of every month through September. Dancers will groove to The Beatles, Elvis and other greats of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, all for charity.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and the dance is from 7–9 p.m.

When planning the event, Steiner said he knew he wanted to do something different that would bring people together.

He said a few years ago, he tried to get the event together with dance parties on top of the city’s parking garages, which didn’t work out. They settled on the Gerry Frank Amphitheater, at 200 Water St. N.E.

Tickets are $10 each, with proceeds going to the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and the Center for Hope and Safety, which all support local youth.

Food carts will also be there, including Curbside Bacon, Lucy’s Tropical Juice and Rolling Bridgeway Cafe, according to the event website. DJ Freddy Ruiz will play the music.

Steiner, who had a 40-year career in television sales and marketing, has used his expertise to get the word out about the event in local TV stations on the radio, over 100 posters and with trips to local restaurants and retirement centers.

The stage and grass in front of the amphitheater can hold up to 1,000 people, and Steiner is hoping to sell all the dances out.

“We hope the community of Salem and Keizer will come out,” he said. “Some good weather, and a lot of fun. People having a great time and then supporting the non-profits as we’re doing it.”

Steiner, who’s old enough to remember when The Beatles came to America in 1964, said he’s too old to dance now. He’s looking forward to attending to watch people of all ages come together and enjoy the music.

At 9 p.m. there will be one last dance of the night: a conga line out of the arena.

The dances are June 11, July 9, August 13 and September 10. Tickets are available in advance online, or for cash only at the gate starting 6 p.m. the day of the dance.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

SUBSCRIBE TO GET SALEM NEWS – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more. Click I want to subscribe!

Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.