What’s this Lindy Luau on Sunday?

A chat with Bill Speidel about
The Lindy Luau at the Picnic Pavilion
First Landing State Park
2500 Shore Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23451)

What is the Lindy Luau?
“It’s a day dancing, eating and hanging out with friends at the beach.”

Where’d the idea come from?
“Several years ago Patty and I discovered a shaded beachside picnic area under the live oaks at First Landing State Park. It had a smooth concrete floor that could easily fit over 100 dancers and reminded us of fun Sunday afternoon picnic dances at Albany Chill, CHEX and ATLX… except this was a great location in our own backyard.

So, last summer I rented the picnic pavilion out for a day, invited friends who’d come out to our dinner parties or lindy bombed to bands around town with us, as well as anyone else who just wanted to drop by. It was somewhat of an experiment because we didn’t know if we’d see 5 people or 25. We just called it a potluck and told people to bring whatever they wanted to eat and share.

We said the park opens around 8 a.m., music starts at 2, food around 4 and a campfire at sundown. We shared photographs of the grills and picnic area, drew maps, emailed directions, made sure people knew about the $5 parking fee and then left people free to explore, plan their own meals, and discover the park the same way we had.”

That sounds a little chaotic.
“It was um… wonderfully open ended – like a day exploring a new place with friends should be. I remember a few people showing up early and calling friends to say, “They weren’t kidding about the grills; yeah, we’ll meet you at Farm Fresh; let’s pick up some burgers and buns and stuff for smores.” Meanwhile, other people were swimming, biking, dancing or just napping on the beach. By sundown we had 60 people gathered around picnic tables full of food. We learned some friends could really cook; others could play instruments, Neve could spin fire and nobody coud resist roasting marshmallows on a stick over a campfire.”

How’s it going to be different this year?
“We’re still keeping the unstructured feel.

But this time people have a better idea of what to expect. I’m hoping we’ll see some people doing some really adventurous things on the grills. Last year I brought a large iron pot and we had baked beans going, people were grilling vegetables and roasting corn in aluminum foil. Of course there was chicken, steak and burgers. I think Patty and I are bringing tuna steaks this year, but I’m keeping the marinade recipe secret.”

What time should I get there?
We’ll start setting up and DJ’ing some swing music around 2 but I imagine most people will want to be on the beach at that point.
But don’t expect many people at the pavilion until we start firing up the grills around 4 and get closer to eating around 5. We’ll keep the grills going till about 7:30 at which point we’ll switch over to the campfire.

What about the music?
“Last year we had DJ’s Valerie Hargis, Meghan Hunter and myself start off playing jump blues and groovy swing and then opened it up to anyone. We ran through soul, blues, pop (because you can’t really have a beach party without some Katy Perry), hip hop and ended up at techno for the fire spinning.

This year’s going to be cool because Victor’s also invited lots of people to bring instruments to jam. We’ve got ukulele’s, washboards, drums, guitars, a mandolin and who knows whatever else. Basically, we’ve just added a bit more bedlam to the mix.”

What will you do if it rains?
“The good thing about Virginia Beach is if you don’t like the rain this time of year, hang out under the covered picnic pavilion dancing and eating for 20 or 30 minutes and you should be able to step back out into sunshine again.”

Anything else people should bring?
“We’ll supply the wood for the grills but there’s always a shortage of cooking utensils. Also, I recommend you think about what you’re going to eat ahead of time. The frozen Butterball last year ended up going back into someone’s trunk for another day.

Kids are welcome, there’s a neat little playground there. Pets are welcome and Ziggy will be back again.

Bring your laptop if you want to play some dance music, and your instrument, be it accordion, spoons, or trombone. I’d pay to see someone play some good didgeridoo.

Also, make sure to bring some bug spray and a flashlight to light your way back to the car. Do NOT bring alcohol as its prohibited in the public park.

Don’t forget the $5 parking fee for the carload.

Lastly, we’ll be asking for a voluntary suggested donation of $5 to tip the DJ’s and help defer the cost of the rental.



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