It all began in 1946, as the story goes. The townspeople who lived in Coronado wanted a dance club. The Officer’s Club on base hosted parties and dances, but many of the locals could not attend. So, the villagers put their heads and hearts together, and came up with an idea: they would start their own dinner and dance club.
They called it the Coronado Crown Club. It’s now on its 75th year.
“This tradition is so meaningful because we live in a village,” says Glory Palecek, who serves as club’s co-president, along with her husband, Jim, who have lived on the island since 1999. “This is something that villagers do. They dance and they have parties.”
But this year, things are changing a bit. First off, there’s the name: it’s now Dine and Dance Coronado. Secondly, the club isn’t exclusive to married couples.
“We’ve joined the 21st century, and it’s now a couples club, and we don’t discriminate against any couples. All are welcome,” says Jim. “It can be anybody that wants to dance together, eat and have fun.”
After a long hiatus during the global pandemic (the last dance was in March 2020), the club plans to open up the dance floor on Saturday, December 11th. The five planned dances this year will all be held at the Nautilus Room at the Coronado Community Center, an ideal location for space, views and access to lots of fresh air.
Jim and Glory say the club is excited to welcome new members and invite a fresh, modern energy.
“We really want new people and we really want younger people to keep this tradition going,” says Glory.
Although some things are different, the overall format is the same. At 6:30, the room opens for a cocktail hour and at 7:30, the guests sit down to dine. After dinner, the 16-piece band strikes up a chord and the guests dance, mingle, and enjoy the music. The best part? You don’t have to be an amazing dancer.
“Sure, we do the Foxtrot and swing, we do all of it,” says Jim. “We have waltzes and salsa and line dancing. Even the YMCA. Some people really know how to dance! And some don’t at all. And that’s fine.”
The December 11th dance is open first to members, couples who pay the required $250 a year to get first dibs on dances. If the dance doesn’t fill up, other community members are invited to join in the fun. You can join as a couple (by the way, you can be an individual yet join as a couple, inviting whom you choose to each dance) or you can sign up as a guest to try it out. Simply sign up on the organization’s website, www.dineanddancecoronado.com. Community members are allowed to try up to two dances; after that, they must enroll as a member, provided there is space.
The December and February dances will celebrate the holidays and Valentine’s Day, respectively, but the other dances will likely feature a theme. According to Glory, the club’s “Downton Abbey” theme was memorable and festive. The October 2022 dance will most likely be an “Arts Ball,” in conjunction with the Coronado Art Association.
“$160 a couple for dinner, a dance with a live band, and booze…that’s a pretty good deal,” says Glory. “But that’s why we have a membership, because the fee for the dances hardly covers the cost.”
Jim and Glory, who first attended a dance about five years ago, said they were hooked from the start.
“We loved the people. It’s just fun,” says Jim. “You just buzz around an hour before you sit down, and get to know everybody … this day in age, people are on their phones and computers so much, relying on them for entertainment. What’s missing is the personal interaction, and you get this here.”
The organization, which functions as a non-profit, is run by community members with the specific goal of providing a festive, personal experience. And it’s one that club members never want to lose.
“It’s unique,” says Glory. “There used to be lots of dance clubs but there just aren’t anymore. It’s kind of a tradition that has value in itself. Dancing is such a communal activity. Even if people don’t dance, they enjoy the experience, they like being there.”
Jim and Glory say that Dine and Dance Coronado is just one of the many traditions—like the Fourth of July Parade or the Coronado Flower Show—that make the island a special place to live.
“Joy is an important part of life,” says Glory. “But if you don’t have community, you can’t have joy. And that’s the bottom line.”
Ready to strap on your dancing shoes? Visit DineandDanceCoronado.com to learn more.