Mop-tops, mini skirts and Beatlemania are making a comeback on Sept. 15 when the “British Invasion” hits the Cloverdale Exhibition Fair Grounds.
The event, hosted by the Ron Dunkley Memorial Society, will raise money for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund and feature all things British, from rock ‘n’ roll music to authentic fish & chips.
The evening begins with music by Beatles cover band The Day Trippers — complete with an old-fashioned sock-hop and dance contest for the jive, the twist, and limbo — followed by a drive-in style screening of the classic film, Eight Days A Week — The Touring Years.
“Everything I’m doing this year is all British,” said Sandy Dunkley, organizer of the event and founder of the Ron Dunkley Memorial Society. “They’re even going to put a British flag on the barbecue.”
All attendees are encouraged to dress in their best 1960’s inspired outfits, and prizes will be given out in a look-alike-contest for those dressed as Twiggy, Elton John, Princess Diana, Mick Jagger, Ringo, the Beatles and the Monkees.
There will also be a number of food vendors, including Salty’s Authentic English Style Fish & Chips, Cravings Kettle Corn, British treats from Black Pudding Imports, a BBQ hosted by the firefighters, and free coffee from McDonald’s.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a 1960s event without vintage cars on display. Dunkley has invited members of the Langley Area Mostly British Motoring Club (LAMB) to show off some of their cars, as well as the Canadian Military Museum to display some of the their British military vehicles.
She is hopeful that those who have hotrods will bring them out for the evening, and has even taken it upon herself to hand out invitations to strangers she sees driving around in beautiful old cars.
“Honest to God, I chase cars,” Dunkley said. “When I see an old car, if it’s going in that direction I think ‘Oh I’ve got to try and catch it.’ So one day, I liked the car so much I actually went up and made a U-turn, followed him, honked my horn — he looked in the review — and I (waved him over).
“He pulls over, and I say, ‘Hi, I’m sorry, but I chase cars because of our event coming up, and I love your car — we really need that.’ I tell him we have a car contest and we have people from Cruise-In judging the cars … I’ve chased, I’m going to say 60 cars. My grandkids have been with me sometimes, and they watch for them now. They love it.”
The British Invasion is the fourth large event Dunkley has organized through the Ron Dunkley Memorial Society, which was created in 2013 in memory of her son, Ron.
Ron, a Langley City firefighter, passed away in 2011 after being struck by a train in Seattle, Wash.
He was a huge fan of the TV show Happy Days and doo-wop music of the 1950s and 60s, thanks to his mother and father constantly playing it around the house when he was a child, Dunkley said. So each year, she tries to choose an event with a old-fashioned type of theme. For their upcoming fundraiser, her board decided on a Beatles night by the request of soceity director, and former Langley City firefighter, Bruce Kilby.
All of the money raised that evening will go towards helping first responders.
“This is for the firefighters. This is for the Ron Dunkley Memorial Society. This isn’t for us, we aren’t going to be making money on this,” Dunkley said.
The event is being made possible by a number of generous people who have donated their time, prizes or given discounts on rentals, Dunkley said. She would particularly like to thank Brent Lang from the Cloverdale Exhibition Fair Grounds, FreshAirCinema, Salty’s Fish and Chips, Envision Financial, Crazy Bob’s Music Emporium, Black Pudding Imports, The Tent Guys and Mopac Auto Supply.
Tickets for the British Invasion are $25 per carload and are available at the gate (6050A 176 St.) or online in advance at rd-ms.com. Gates open at 5 p.m. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own chair.
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