Prince Day celebration in Cleveland features air guitar, plenty of dancing

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Fans of Prince got to “Party like it’s 1999” outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening at the second annual Prince Day celebration.

The event featured a “Soul Train” style dance competition, Prince trivia and air guitar contests.

About 400 people showed up in purple and Cleveland Cavaliers gear to dance to Prince classics such as “Little Red Corvette” and “When Doves Cry.”

“Prince’s music, it doesn’t discriminate. It brings all people together,” John Goehrke, the director of public programs at the Rock Hall, said.

The dance competition was “Soul Train” style in which people danced down the middle of two rows of people. Everyone took turns showing off their moves for a chance to win a Prince poster.

DeAndrick Smith-Taylor was the winner, but he was just glad to be downtown celebrating Prince, who died in 2016.

“It’s all about just having fun and being able to celebrate Prince and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Smith-Taylor said.

There were two rounds of the air guitar contest each with about 6 to 8 people of various ages jamming out to “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” Marjorie Preston, a Cleveland resident, was the winner of the second heat and has been a Prince fan since she was 11 years old.

“He was a genius and I say that about very few people,” Preston said. “It was really great to come downtown. We haven’t stepped foot in (the Rock Hall) in years.”

The celebration fell on the anniversary of Prince’s birth, but it was not referred to as a birthday party in respect to Prince’s Jehovah’s Witness faith.

Many people came out to the event because they connected with Prince’s music that transcends generations.

“There are certain cultural icons that mean so much more to everybody than others and I think Prince is one of them,” Kathryn Metz, the Rock Hall’s manager of community and family programs, said.

Metz added that she saw several Prince tattoos in the crowd as well as plenty of purple.

“In a city like Cleveland that has a really long rich music history, there is a tremendous music knowledge in this town more so than other towns,” Metz said. “I’m so grateful for everyone coming down and dancing their pants off.”

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