Lakes Area News: Star now marks location of original Roof Garden Stage

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (KUOO) – A star representing the site of the stage of the original Roof Garden Ballroom was unveiled during a ceremony late Wednesday afternoon.

It’s located in Preservation Plaza in Arnolds Park, Iowa right in front of the stage.

Tom Tourville, a historian of the original Roof Garden along with Rebecca Peters of Okoboji Tourism co-authored a book detailing the history of the original ballroom. Tourville said the special marker is sure to bring about a lot of nostalgia and fond memories of those who patronized the original Roof Garden.

”You can stand right there. That’s where Brian Wilson stood when he sang Surfin’ Safari here at the Roof Garden. You can stand there and that’s where The Everly Brothers shared the microphone. That’s where Jerry Lee Lewis backed his piano up to and kicked the bench halfway across the stage when it was the end of the night, show time, for him. The stories are incredible,” said Tourville. “We asked Denny Shurek if he’d play a couple of songs. He opened for The Turtles, when The Turtles came here. There wasn’t anybody bigger in America than The Turtles. I mean they were over the top, huge. This is so much fun for him because he’s the only person in this group, that I’m aware of, to actually sit on that stage and play and it’s really, really fun to have him.”

The star will also be among the three stops on the brand-new self-guided Rock and Roll Walking Tour in Arnolds Park. Other featured attractions include the Arnolds Park Amusement Park’s new rock and roll history displays from the original Roof Garden and the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s Museum and Hall of Fame.