Dirty Dancing on Lake Lure
Celebrate the now iconic 1987 film at a festival in the North Carolina mountains this weekend.
Set at a resort in the Catskill Mountains, the movie “Dirty Dancing” was actually filmed in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Filming started on September 5, 1986, and since many of the resorts in the Catskills had been shut down by then, the production team chose Lake Lure, along with The Mountain Lake Hotel near Roanoke, Virginia, for their setting. The old Chimney Rock boys camp, now a residential community called Firefly Cove, served as Kellerman’s Resort in Lake Lure. All of the interior dancing scenes, Baby carrying the watermelon and practicing on the stairs, Johnny’s cabin and the unforgettable “lift” scene in the lake were filmed there.
In 2010, Lake Lure decided to celebrate the movie’s legacy with the first Dirty Dancing Festival. With the support of Lionsgate Films, blessing of Eleanor Bergstein, the film’s original writer who based the story on her own summer experiences as a child, and several members of the cast and crew, the inaugural festival drew over 1,000 fans to the lake. Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Lake Lure is just 45 minutes from Asheville and an hour and a half from Charlotte.
Kicking off August 17 with a lakeside screening of “Dirty Dancing” this year, the festival continues on Saturday with live bands and dance performances, dance lessons, games, watermelon and the infamous “Lake Lift” competition. After channeling Johnny and Baby with a lift, fans can dance the night away at the official after party. A self-guided tour of locations from the movie, including the original boys camp and Johnny’s cabin, is also available either by foot or boat. A tour of the actual rooms Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze stayed in at Lake Lure Inn & Spa, Rumbling Bald Resort golf course, where Baby asks her dad for money, and Esmeralda Inn, where interior dance scenes were filmed, are also options over the weekend.
Many choices for lodging, either right near the festival grounds or a few minutes away, are available, and Rumbling Bald Resort and The Esmeralda Inn are both open for overnight guests. The opening night lakeside screening is free, but a $5 donation is suggested and will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Saturday festival activities are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Order tickets online here.