Flash mob erupts at Porter County Fair
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 25, 2012 9:32PM
Performer, Scott Epperson of Benson, North Carolina joins in the flash mob at the Porter County Fair Wednesday evening in Valparaiso. Epperson who is performing as Barney of Mayberry at the fair through Saturday had heard about the impromptu dance and decided to join. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
To join the flash mob, email email@example.com.
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:16AM
VALPARAISO — The music and the clapping started simultaneously, right there at the entrance to the midway.
“Dancing in the Street” blared over the Porter County Fairgrounds sound system Wednesday evening, as a growing crowd joined in to dance and sway to music.
Then it was “Jailhouse Rock,” complete with air guitar, as onlookers brought out cell phones to record the moment.
It was a flash mob, Porter County Fair-style, organized by Al Zahn and his girlfriend, Barb Smich. The Valparaiso couple organized their first flash mob almost a year ago in Chicago.
“We had such a great time, we said we were going to do them here,” Zahn said, adding he’s done five or six since then, including at a Railcats game and during Relay for Life fundraisers in Lake and Porter counties.
Zahn and Smich contact folks through emails, which are forwarded, and word of mouth. About 50 people took part in the flash mob at the fair.
The pair contacted fair officials in May about having a flash mob there, and also had the music preapproved. Oldies worked for the fair, but pop tunes and disco also get the mob moving.
“We always ask permission. We don’t just come out and do it,” Smich said.
They put together the choreography and an instructional video, which they email out to participants. The couple also post the information on Facebook, but don’t give the location away.
“It’s fun to see the crowd’s reaction, and it’s unexpected,” said Sandra Woods of Valparaiso, who’s done several flash mobs with Zahn and Smich.
There will be more flash mobs in the region in the coming months — sometime, somewhere.
“We’re hoping to have one in August and one in September,” Smich said.
“But we’re not going to tell you where,” Zahn added with a smile.