CLEARWATER — What do Sarah Palin, the Village People and Tony Bennett all have in common? They're all appearing for free at Coachman Park in one crazy 11-day stretch.
Yes, the park is getting all kinds of action these days. Next weekend is the big event, Clearwater Jazz Holiday. But this weekend offers a lengthy lineup of oldies acts, culminating with performances of Y.M.C.A. and Macho Man.
Radio station Q105 is hosting a daylong concert Saturday in the park along with a kickoff party tonight along Cleveland Street downtown, featuring a classic car show and a performance by the cast of Beatlemania.
Tonight's street festival is welcome news for downtown businesses hungry for customers.
"We don't have a lot of traffic on Cleveland Street after a certain hour," said Tammy Kirby of the Annie Rose Deli, which normally closes at 3 p.m. but will stay open late tonight.
To mark its 35th anniversary, the oldies station is bringing in acts like Grand Funk Railroad — huge in the early '70s and now appearing at events like St. Petersburg's RibFest.
In many ways, this free concert is a bargain. The last time the Village People performed in this area, it cost a whopping $65.95 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson to see the construction worker, the cowboy, the Indian, the G.I. and the biker do their thing.
Still, the audience at that Hudson show learned some crucial, potentially life-changing information.
The construction worker (who, along with the military man, is an original member of the group) informed the crowd that for three decades, most people have been doing the "YMCA" dance all wrong.
They get the Y, C and A right, he said. It's the "M" that's the big problem. People put their fingertips on top of their head. Instead, the "M" should be the fingertips touching at the top of the breastbone, the backs of the hands facing each other but not touching, elbows up and out.
So now you know. Consider yourself forewarned.
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.