Rockabilly and Hot Rod Blastoff on LI

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys will make

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys will make their first Long Island appearance in 10 years when they attend the Rockabilly and Hot Rod Blastoff. (Credit: Handout)

The good times are sure to roll at Saturday's Fourth Annual Rockabilly and Hot Rod Blastoff at the Huntington Moose Lodge, where you can get into the nostalgic swing of things by entering a 1950s-style pinup contest, checking out classic hot rods or learning how to use a Hula-Hoop. But mostly it's about the music, that energetic early '50s proto-rock and roll sound known as rockabilly.

Roots of rock

Even if you've never heard of rockabilly, you probably have heard the music, says event organizer Frank Azzaretto, 51, of Massapequa. Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley were both associated with rockabilly, a sped-up country music style that eventually "faded into rock and roll," he says.

"It's hillbilly rock and roll," says Irene DiGennaro, 51, of Farmingdale, a car club member and pinup contest winner.

Rockabilly 'round the clock

Six bands, including Southern California-based Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys and Azzaretto's Long Island-based Big Daddy Deluxe, will be alternating between rockabilly and their own compositions. Each band covers a different rockabilly artist including Azzaretto's, whose vocalist is Elvis tribute artist Don Caffey of North Babylon. "We're not an Elvis band, but we do a lot of '50s Elvis," Azzaretto says.

That '50s look

Many of the 300 or so expected revelers will be wearing hairstyles and clothing reminiscent of the early '50s. "The rockabilly scene is the greaser look; I've got plenty of grease in my hair when I play," Azzaretto says. Rockabilly guys wear leather jackets and jeans with cuffs, and gals wear their hair in retro styles, such as the bangs popularized by famous 1950s pinup girl Bettie Paige.

"I have done everything from beehive to bubble flip," says DiGennaro, who plans to wear Hawaiian-style duds this time around. Dress for the era, and you might be invited to enter the pinup contest. The event also features a swing dance lesson and contest and a car show of 1950s hot rods.

And You Can Dance to It

Maria Urbat of Smithtown, and her husband and dancing partner, Edwin, will be there to get the crowd on its feet. Instructors and members of the not-for-profit Swing Dance Long Island, the couple learned about rockabilly four years ago and now teach the steps. They'll demonstrate dances such as the Lindy Hop and get guests up and on the dance floor.

Says Maria Urbat, "You have a good time, you forget about everything, you go home a little more tired, but it's a good feeling."

WHAT The Fourth Annual Rockabilly and Hot Rod Blastoff

WHEN | WHERE Saturday at 4 p.m., Huntington Moose Lodge, 631 Pulaski Rd., Greenlawn

INFO $20; 516-298-4589

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