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Near Our Cabins: Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure

Tickets On Sale in March 2014

Fans of the cult-classic Dirty Dancing re-live memories of Baby's first dance at the "Dirty Dancing Festival" in the film’s original, breathtaking backdrop of Lake Lure on August 15-16, 2014. The celebratory weekend will include:

Lakeside Film Screening (Free): Guests will remember the magic of Dirty Dancing while watching the movie lakeside on Friday evening.

The Dirty Dancing Festival: This outdoor festival on Saturday, 9AM-4PM, will showcase live music, dance performances by the Dirty Dancing Review Dancers, Dirty Dancing storytellers, family-friendly games, dance lessons, lake lift contest, a dance competition & more!

Named the “#1 Most-Watched Film by Women” by the BBC News, Dirty Dancing’s impact on pop culture remains timeless.  

Tickets for the "Dirty Dancing Festival" are available in advance or at the door, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit local arts organizations.  For more information, visit www.dirtydancingfestival.com.

After your visit to Lake Lure, relax in your vacation rental cabin. Other attractions in the area include Chimney Rock, Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville.

The History of Dirty Dancing

What is the history of Dirty Dancing and Lake Lure?  Lake Lure is the iconic backdrop of the 1986 classic film Dirty Dancing. Looking for a location to mimic the Catskills of New York, writer Eleanor Bergstein discovered Lake Lure while driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway and found it reminiscent of the Catskills where her biographical accounts of dirty dancing actually took place.

Bergstein originally wanted the façade of Kellerman’s Resort to be the 1927 Lake Lure Inn. However, the Town of Lake Lure denied both Bergstein and the hotel owner’s requests. Town officials did not want the Lake Lure Inn to be the site for Kellerman's because it was too iconic and they feared the movie would be scandalous or terrible. Bad choice.

To prevent a local uprising, the script that everyone saw actually only said "Dancing" on it. The producers specifically left off the word "Dirty" because they knew they were in the Bible belt of the deep South and figured locals would definitely balk at that. Even a movie called "Dancing" in those days raised many eyebrows. 

No scenes were actually filmed at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa (confirmed by the hotel owner at the time, John Mojjis). Scenes filmed at the Chimney Rock Boys Camp in Lake Lure include ALL dancing scenes, the lake lift, dancing on the log (actually filmed on a man's yard next door in Polk County), staff cabins, Baby dancing on the stairs and carrying the watermelon. Scenes filmed in Lake Lure amount to at least 80-90% of the movie.

The crew was allowed to film all scenes in Lake Lure except for following which were filmed at Mountain Lake Hotel in VA: the exterior facade for Kellerman's and lodging for Baby and her parents, the dining scenes, and the resort games. Lake Lure officials only denied requests to film at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa.

Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure
People often wonder what sparked the desire to have a Dirty Dancing Festival after so many years.  In 2009 with the passing of Patrick Swayze, Lake Lure was flooded with media requests about the town’s plans to memorialize the film’s leading man.  With much persuasion from both fans and the media, the town and tourism officials finally organized a small candlelight service in Swayze’s honor that resulted in an attendance of nearly 750 people in the pouring rain.  With that response, locals realized fans of Dirty Dancing still exist in astounding numbers and are looking for more movie fun.  Thus, the inaugural Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure festival ensued. Learn more about the annual festival held each August at www.DirtyDancingFestival.com.

Dirty Dancing Film Scenes Recap:
Originally the Chimney Rock Camp for Boys, Firefly Cove is the original location for most of the Dirty Dancing scenes including:

  •  “The Lift” practice scene

  • Gymnasium for most dancing scenes, including the final dance scene and talent show

  • White bridge where Baby practiced her dance moves

  • Rock steps where Baby danced up the steps

  •  “I carried a watermelon” scene

  • Johnny’s Cabin and the other dancers’ cabins in the movie were originally
    counselor cabins for Chimney Rock Camp for Boys

  • Dirt road where Johnny sped off after saying good-bye to Baby was the original
    road into the Camp

  • Camp buildings burned down several years ago, and Johnny’s cabin eventually
    collapsed; its pieces were removed only a few years ago

  • Rock chimney, some of the original rock foundation of the gymnasium and the rock steps are still left on Firefly Cove property

  • Lake Lure Tours gives an overview of the Dirty Dancing film/scene locations
    including those found on the Firefly Cove property

  • Cast and crew all stayed at The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa during filming and practiced their dancing in Roosevelt Hall. The Inn has cabins for rent named after Johnny and Baby

Other locations include:

  • Rumbling Bald Resort (16th hole of Bald Mountain Golf Course is where Baby asks her dad for money)

  • The Esmeralda Inn (Lobby floor is the original wood floor from the Boys Scout Camp Gymnasium)

  • Other:  Log scene - filmed on private property in Polk County, N.C.