Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Winter sock hop set for Fort Museum Jan. 13

FORT DODGE – Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson — the Big Bopper — were on what would become known as their final tour when their plane crashed on Feb. 3, 1959, causing their deaths.

That moment in history has become known as the day music died.

At the time, Holly and his band, The Crickets, were playing on the Winter Dance Party tour across the Midwest.

Rising artists Valens and Richardson had joined the tour as well.

The live concert performance included two hours of unbridled, high-voltage entertainment featuring hit songs of the ’50s era.

They even performed in Fort Dodge — at the Laramar Ballroom — only three days before their deaths in the wreck of a Beechcraft Bonanza near Clear Lake.

To recreate the best of the the Winter Dance Party, the Fort Museum and Frontier Village will be holding its first Baby It’s Cold Outside! Sock Hop.

“Considering the Winter Dance Party did come through Fort Dodge, I thought that holding a Sock Hop would be appropriate during January as a way to show off some of the museum’s ’50’s artifacts and memorabilia,” Cheryl Sherry, Fort Museum director said.

The Sock Hop will showcase Richie Lee and the Fabulous ’50s. Lee, who is in his early 20s, is from Des Moines. He was singing almost before he could talk. Lee has made a name for himself by performing tribute shows with his own band, delivering hits from the ’50s songbook.

When Lee first heard Holly’s music, he was instantly inspired, he said.

Lee has played with many Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame bands, and one year he even played with 14 members of Valens’ family members.

“Richie Lee does a fantastic job of impersonating Buddy Holly. He has a wonderful voice that lends itself so well to the ’50’s sound,” Sherry said. “Guests will not be disappointed.”

The Baby It’s Cold Outside! Sock Hop will be on Jan. 13 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village, 1 Museum Road. Guests are encouraged to dress in vintage or reproduction ’50s clothing.

There will be food and a cash bar. Credit and debit cards will be accepted.

“This is an all-ages show,” Sherry said. “It’s great for friends and family, including grandparents and kids.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show. Corporate sponsorships are also available. Call 573-4231 for more information on the event or to become a sponsor.

In 1964, the Fort was created to commemorate the rich history of Fort Dodge and Webster County to give visitors a view into the life on the American frontier. Presently, there are nearly 20 exhibits on site with many diverse, rare and interesting artifacts.

The Fort Museum and Frontier Village is supported by the community, museum admissions and private donations. If you would like to become involved with the museum or volunteer, call 573-4321.