International Dance Party

International Party in Rutland

I sat down with Craig Hahn this week to talk about his pet project, The International Party in Rutland, Vermont.  About 11 years ago, while Craig was a DJ on Killington, he noticed there were a lot of young international ski area workers – many from South America.  He wanted to give them a night where they could hear and dance to their own music from back home, so he created a weekly 18+ dance party that featured Latin dance music.  His audience was 18-24-year-olds, an age group that often suffers from lack of recreation and entertainment opportunities.  Most of the the young people who come to the International Party now are students who came here via the Universal Student Exchange (USE), a company that runs a popular “Work and Travel” program in resort locations.

International Party

The International Party happens during ski season from mid-December through mid-March and moved around Killington for many years in search of venues to support its ever-growing popularity.  Last year, Craig moved it to Rutland because many of the participants lived there.

This weekly event, that currently happens on Wednesdays, draws international visitors to downtown Rutland, Vermont – something that I thought needed celebrating.  They come each week from Killington, Okemo, Stratton and as far away as Stowe for 2-3 hours of dancing.  Craig’s dance nights are so popular that many international workers coming to the ski areas for the first time already know about the events in advance.

DJ Craig

Back in 2012, the Mountain Times quoted one of the students as saying, “When we go back home we talk about our experiences here and look forward to coming back.  Every time I hear someone talk about doing an exchange I always tell them to go to Vermont. It’s beautiful and everyone is friendly.”  You can’t buy that kind of PR!

Imagine if some of those “well-behaved, well-cultured, responsible” (Craig’s words, not mine) young people liked Rutland enough to put down stakes there?  What a benefit that would be to our little city!

These kids pay real money to attend The International Party; some of them have to get together and rent a van just to get to Rutland.  The Local, their current venue, also has their own shuttle to take party-goers back up to Killington at the end of the night.  Chip Greeno, owner of The Local, considers the safety of his patrons of the utmost importance.   He runs a tight ship with plenty of security.

Locals are always welcome at The International Party, but Craig won’t be playing a lot of American tunes.  He caters to his mostly South American audience and sticks to Latin dance music, adding just a splash of Top 40 Hip Hop and House.

If you’re looking for a new experience, Craig encourages EVERYONE to come at least once to his International Party.  He told me the excitement is contagious, and I believe him.

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