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Get set for full weekend of fun

The July 3-4 festivities offer live music and a grand parade.

“We’re havin’ a party, and everybody’s swinging/dancing to the music.”

When the Original Fenderskirts – Dianne Trani, Kaetche Miller and Ginni Hawkins – belt out the Sam Cook tune, they’ll be singing to bring the lyrics to life.

The group headlines the July 3 Street Dance and Barbecue, part of a weekend-long holiday celebration, with Saturday’s festivities presented by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association and the Grand Old Fourth celebration sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce.

(For a complete schedule of weekend events, see page A2.)

The ‘Skirts have had a knack for getting people on their feet for more than two decades. The band kicked off the first Street Dance, held in Winslow in 1982.

“We were the first band to be involved,” Hawkins said. “Now, every time we sing for the dance, it brings back such great memories.”

For many old-time islanders, the group became associated with the dance. When the Fenderskirts took an extended sabbatical from the venue in the late 1980s, the songsters were missed.

“I’ve known Ginni since we moved to the island in 1987,” said Cris Beattie, BIDA executive director. “They (Fenderskirts) were the ones who pretty much started the street dance back in the late 1980s...They have quite a fan base.”

The group continued to sing at other Kitsap events and in Seattle venues that include Trani’s restaurant, Gaspares. Then, two years ago, another group slated to play the July 3 event invited the Fenderskirts onstage to do a set.

“So we played for an hour, and by popular demand we were asked to come back last year,” Hawkins said.

Now the harmonizing trio that has become an island institution is back in full swing for the July celebration.

“People do seem to love the music,” Hawkins said. “People have been asking me all week, ‘are you playing?’”

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