Danc­ing is back in Beebe

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Music and dance, loud and lively, have al­ways been an im­por­tant part of East­ern Town­ships cul­ture and now, thanks to a cou­ple of Stanstead re­tirees, it has found a home, once again, in Beebe.

Gail and Peter Weileder, who re­tired to Stanstead about ten years ago after liv­ing in Kitchener for many years, bought the old Beebe Town Hall, in May, and have turned it into an al­ready pop­u­lar dance hall. “We would go to lots of dances when we were young. Mom and Dad would take us to Nick Dean’s barn dances, just out­side of Len­noxville,” ex­plained Gail who grew up in Beebe, the daugh­ter of Lil­ian and Clarence Flanders. “We still en­joy danc­ing and have been go­ing to lots of dances since we came back. We’ve met so many peo­ple through danc­ing,” she added. “Since we moved back here, we’ve al­ways had to travel to towns like Ives Hill, Cowansville, some­times into the States, to go danc­ing,” said Peter.

The idea to open their own dance hall came un­ex­pect­edly and on the cou­ple’s 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary. “Last year, we rented the Beebe Town Hall to hold a cel­e­bra­tion for our wed­ding an­niver­sary. I was look­ing around at the full hall and at all of the peo­ple danc­ing; I think the seed was sown right there,” said Gail. The cou­ple bought the build­ing from the town of Stanstead, and agreed that they would con­tinue to al­low the Cui­sine Col­lec­tif pro­gram to op­er­ate there as well as the food bank. Some day soon, the cou­ple plans to have a cof­fee room ready for se­niors to come and so­cial­ize, play cards and board games.

The Weiled­ers have al­ready hosted two dances in their new hall and they have three more com­ing up in June. “We had Leo Wil­son and his Boys play­ing the music at both of the dances and they’ll be play­ing at the dances com­ing up. They’re well­known around the neigh­bour­hood and used to play in Austin reg­u­larly in the af­ter­noons,” said Peter about the mu­si­cians who pro­vide the lively music for the Western/polka style danc­ing that is so pop­u­lar with Town­ship­pers.

“There were over eighty peo­ple for our first dance, and we had over ninety for our sec­ond dance,” men­tioned Gail. Peter added: “They come from as far away as Sawyerville, Cole­brook, Rich­mond, Water­ville, Ayer’s Cliff, Tomi­fo­bia, Derby, and lots of peo­ple come from Beebe, Rock Is­land and Stanstead. Now they’re the ones who are trav­el­ling to do danc­ing in­stead of us!”

The build­ing, though quite old, is re­port­edly in good con­di­tion and cer­tainly has char­ac­ter. “The Beebe Town Hall is in very good shape. When there were ninety peo­ple here danc­ing, the floor didn’t even move!” said Peter em­phat­i­cally. The Weiled­ers have ren­o­vated sev­eral homes, in­clud­ing their home in Stanstead. Mrs. Weileder com­mented: “All of our friends thought that we were crazy when we bought

Gail and Peter Weileder have brought some ac­tion to town, open­ing up a dance hall in the for­mer Beebe Town Hall.

The beau­ti­ful hall, seen here be­hind Gail and Peter Weileder, has been re­ferred to as an ar­chi­tec­tural gem and is still in great shape. The cou­ple haven’t yet worked out how they will change the light­bulbs in the hall’s ceil­ing lights, just one of the chal­lenges in­cluded in the ad­ven­ture. photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

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