By Mike Pound
The first time I attended Blast From the Past, I was young and single, and the music was neat if slightly aged.
On Oct. 19, when Blast From the Past returns after a four-year hiatus, I will be old and married, and the music will be neat but way more than slightly aged.
It’s your basic circle of life.
Cemma Hurn tells me that longtime Blast From the Past attendees have been almost giddy when purchasing tickets for the lip-sync/dance party that the Joplin office of the Muscular Dystrophy Association opted to revive with help from the Mercy Health Foundation.
“So many people have come in and said, ‘We’re so happy you’re bringing this back. It was the one night my husband and I knew we could go out and dance and have a really good time,’” she said.
For 24 years, the annual Blast From the Past drew thousands of people and raised thousands of dollars for St. John’s Regional Medical Center before the event was discontinued in early 2009. Officials at the time said the tough economic environment forced the decision to discontinue the event. But even then, foundation officials said they hoped, at some point, to be able to revive the fundraiser.
Cemma said the Joplin MDA office has a close relationship with the Mercy Health Foundation in part because the MDA clinic is affiliated with Mercy Hospital. When talk of bringing back the event for MDA first surfaced, the idea was quickly embraced, she said.
“It fit with the MDA because we needed a fundraiser and we were looking for something that had strong ties to Joplin,” she said.
I don’t know how old Cemma is, but I’m pretty sure she’s much younger than I am. One reason I think that is because of what she said: “I remember when I was little and my parents would get dressed up as hippies and go to the Blast.”
But the thing is, Blast From the Past was a great, uniquely Joplin event. Sure, there were and are events like it all over the country, but folks in the Joplin area just embraced Blast From the Past. It was, for many, the social event of the year — if three or four hours of folks dressing like crazy people and gladly making fools of themselves can be considered a social event.
Years ago, when I worked in TV, I was part of a crew that videotaped the event. I have some firsthand knowledge as to just how crazy (in a good way) things would get. It really was one of those neat events where folks were pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.
Now it’s back.
The MDA/Mercy Health Foundation Blast From the Past gets under way at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday Oct. 20, at the Joplin Holiday Inn Convention Center, 3615 S. Range Line Road. The lip-sync floor show will get under way around 8:30 p.m., and things will start winding down sometime after 11 p.m.
Tickets are $20, and tables for 10 are available for $200. Tickets may be purchased at the MDA office, 825 S. Range Line Road; at Matt and Terry Auto Sales, 1515 E. Seventh St.; and at Cycle Connection Harley-Davidson, 5014 S. Hearnes Blvd.
To purchase tickets by phone, people may call the MDA office at 417-781-8600. Tickets also will be sold at the door.
Cemma said the 2012 version of Blast From the Past will be a passing of the torch. If the event is successful, the MDA hopes to take it over completely in 2013 and once again make Blast From the Past an annual event.