Valencia Ballroom restored to glory through Big Swing Thing weekend

York

Swing dancers are light on their feet, but certainly not their discipline. 

“I danced the entire way through my pregnancy with him,” said Randi Stauffer of her 9-week old son, Sterling. 

“We’ll be up in Williamsport about 2 and a half hours away from here tomorrow night. We could have been in New York, but we kind of chose this over that,” said Cheryl Ann Romano and Kevin Aucker, who traveled 2.5 hours to York. 

York’s famed Valencia ballroom is sort of a religious experience for swing dancers. 

Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller and Guy Lombardo all played at the venue in its prime in the 30s and 40s. 

“The Valencia ball room is one of just four ballrooms that remain in the United States that dates from the swing era,” said Tom McLaughlin, event organizer. 

Dancers made the journey for the second Big Swing Thing event. This year, the swing celebration expanded to two days of live music and dancing. 

“It’s always been one of those bucket list things to use this facility for its originally designed purpose,” McLaughlin said. 

That sole purpose? Swinging the night away.

Bands and dancers used to set aside weekends in York as they traveled around the country. 

“York’s location on the Lincoln Highway made this — really — the stop between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” McLaughlin said. 

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or not quite on your feet, visitors say hitting Valencia’s floor takes you back in time. 

“It’s one of those places that, especially as a dancer, you walk into it and even if you didn’t know it, you can just feel it,” Stauffer said. 

Here’s to partying like it’s 1939. 

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