16th annual Pier Dance

What began as a simple tribute to a sliver of Beaches history has evolved into a holiday tradition all its own. For 16 years, the members of the BayStreet band have come together to host the annual Pier Dance to benefit families in the Beaches communities.
The 16th annual Pier Dance, sponsored by Rock Solid Business Law, PLLC, will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16 at the historic Casa Marina Hotel. Admission is the donation of at least one new, unwrapped toy and a minimum of one non-perishable food item to benefit the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. The Casa Marina Hotel is located at 691 1st Street North in Jacksonville Beach. For reservations, call 270-0025. Seating and menu is limited. A special children’s menu will be available.
BayStreet will perform a family-friendly set followed by an all-request set. Once again, Atlantic Beach Elementary students from Laurie Stucki’s fourth grade class will help close out the first set as they have for years to sing the BayStreet songs “Peace” and “Follow Your Gleam” as well as the holiday classic, “Run, Run Rudolph.”
Frontman, event founder and sponsor John Miller said many of the past students are now old enough to bring their families to the benefit concert. He hopes that some of the alumni will attend the holiday event as part of their own family traditions. “It’s local people having fun and doing something nice to help people,” he said. “It is important to lend a hand all year round and especially at the Beaches, we need to reinforce our sense of community and acknowledge our social contract.”
Miller said he created the inaugural event after a chance meeting with an older gentleman who promoted the big band-style dances once held at the old Shad’s Pier. The first Jacksonville Beach Pier Dance was a revival of that timeless image of couples dancing above the breaking surf as well as an ideal opportunity to lend a hand. “It was Christmas time so it was the perfect time to make it a charity event,” he said. “We looked for a local to local charity and we found BEAM.”
Years later, Miller is elated that spirit of the Pier Dance continues to ripple throughout the community as other organizations host similar events for BEAM and other worthwhile recipients. “It was like a pebble dropped in still water. At the time we started the Pier Dance, there were no similar events,” he said. “We are delighted to have helped BEAM’s good work. They do all the hard work.”
Miller is grateful for the chance to etch his name in the annals of Beaches history and hopes to keep the Pier Dance tradition alive for years to come. Long after the band stops playing and all of the donations are distributed, Miller knows that the magic of season is not far away. “It is very gratifying to me,” Miller said. “It’s always a special moment for me on Christmas morning to sit back and enjoy that warm glow, knowing that these kids can have a better Christmas.”
BEAM reaches over 600 children each holiday season through the toy donations and gift cards for children from 1 to 14. BEAM requests that the gifts be approximately $5 to $30 as well as gift cards with values of up to $30 for older children. Gifts should be delivered unwrapped to allow the parents to view the gifts and distribute them to their children within the traditions of their own families. To donate to BEAM or adopt a family for the holidays, call 241-7447 or visit www.jaxbeam.org.