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Summer waterfront concert series brings visitors to Alton Bay

  • Nancy Greer (left) and Linda PoireŽ dance to the music of City Limits on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. The two women met earlier in the evening after realizing that they were some of the few dancing to the music. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Nancy Greer (left) and Linda PoireŽ dance to the music of City Limits on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. The two women met earlier in the evening after realizing that they were some of the few dancing to the music.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • The band City Limits plays on the Alton Bay Bandstand as a part of their Summer Music Series on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    The band City Limits plays on the Alton Bay Bandstand as a part of their Summer Music Series on Saturday night, July 12, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Kerrie Milani sits with her son Andrew, 7, on her lap while listening to the band City Limits play at the Alton Bay Bandstand on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. Milani, who was raised in Alton but lives in Massachusetts now, came back to town to enjoy the summer by the lake. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Kerrie Milani sits with her son Andrew, 7, on her lap while listening to the band City Limits play at the Alton Bay Bandstand on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. Milani, who was raised in Alton but lives in Massachusetts now, came back to town to enjoy the summer by the lake.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Nancy Greer (left) and Linda PoireŽ dance to the music of City Limits on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. The two women met earlier in the evening after realizing that they were some of the few dancing to the music. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • The band City Limits plays on the Alton Bay Bandstand as a part of their Summer Music Series on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Kerrie Milani sits with her son Andrew, 7, on her lap while listening to the band City Limits play at the Alton Bay Bandstand on Saturday night, July 12, 2014. Milani, who was raised in Alton but lives in Massachusetts now, came back to town to enjoy the summer by the lake. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Friendship with a soundtrack of oldies rock was born on the docks behind the Alton Bay bandstand Saturday night.

Linda Poire was dancing in her docked boat when she saw Nancy Greer grooving a few feet away. Recognizing a kindred spirit when she saw one, Poire waved her over.

“We just met,” said Poire, of Gilford.

“Maybe it’s a gal thing,” said Greer, of Wolfeboro, with a shrug. “But you have to get with the music, get with the beat. What else are you here for?”

Their husbands, Tom Greer and Roger Poire, chatted nearby, but none could actually see the band members from City Limits from their lakefront spot behind the bandstand.

“Doesn’t matter that I can’t see them. I feel it,” Poire said. “It’s a good dance night.”

The population of Alton Bay swelled Saturday evening, with visitors streaming in for an afternoon craft show, the outdoor concert and the rescheduled July Fourth fireworks after dark. The event marked the fourth of 10 free outdoor concerts in the summer series at the bandstand between June 28 and Aug. 23.

Alton Bay refers to the southernmost part of Lake Winnipesaukee, but it is also the name of the community on the shore, which is technically considered part of the town of Alton. Parks and Recreation Director Kellie Troendle said the town tries to host the summer concerts rain or shine each week but reschedules if thunder or lightning crops up.

“We think if people are willing to watch and bands are willing to play, we’re not going to stop that,” she said.

The summer series was already well-established when she took over as director 22 years ago, and some locals remember it as a fixture of the town’s summer scene for far longer.

“I’m 58, and I remember as a kid coming down here for music,” said Terri Noyes of Alton. “It’s a wonderful little town. But this is the best time for it; it’s so touristy that it’s dead all winter after the visitors leave.”

In the past, bands could play from a historic “floating” bandstand that still sits in the middle of the bay, roped with decorative lights and surrounded by boats in the busy marina. However, electrical issues and logistical difficulties have moved concerts to the shore-front bandstand for years now, Troendle said.

Saturday evening, Noyes and her husband, Gary, sat in lawn chairs in the grass, set back from the most crowded area directly in front of the stage.

“It’s a great atmosphere, so we come pretty often,” she said. “We don’t like to miss out. It’s something to do on a Saturday night.”

To the left of the bandstand, in front of the water, Mary Butka rocked one of her children in a stroller while the other four danced nearby. She said they love the music and the fireworks, especially her daughter Emmaline.

“We got out of the car, and she was dancing right away,” Butka said. “It was pretty funny.”

Behind her in the parking lot, people set up chairs tailgate-style with the trunks of their cars open, and many perched their children on the car roofs for better views. Some parents kept one eye on the stage and one on the water as their kids splashed and swam just off-shore.

“We really work to make it completely family friendly,” Troendle said.

Butka lives in Alton and said she appreciates the “small-town vibe” in the area.

“As far as the Lakes Region goes, this place is great,” she said. “You’ve got some smaller restaurants that are nicer; it’s not just all chains.”

For nearby dining options, Shibley’s was the key word.

“We eat at Shibley’s a lot,” said Marie VonDohlen of Alton.

“We came down just to have dinner at Shibley’s,” Greer said.

“We always order out from Shibley’s and eat on the boat,” Poire said.

Across the street from the shore-front bandstand, Shibley’s Soft and Hard Ice Cream maintained a constant line of customers who ordered seafood, burgers and ice cream from the window. On the water side of the street, Shibley’s at the Pier provided more formal options for sitting down indoors or outside on the deck.

The Poires enjoy pulling their boat into one of the boat parking spots behind Shibley’s, Linda said, calling it “the best place to relax.” They took their boat down Lake Winnipesaukee from Gilford for the evening of music on the water.

“Some people come here and say, ‘Oh, what a wonderful place for a vacation.’ Well, we’re gifted to be able to live here year-round,” Poire said. “We’re very grateful.”

After an intermission, City Limits began to play a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” and Poire and Greer immediately began dancing on the dock again.

“Better get out of the way,” Poire said with a grin.

(Ann Marie Jakubowski can be reached at 369-3302 or ajakubowski@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @AMJakubowski.)

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