- Associated Press - Sunday, March 1, 2015

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Dancin’ Dave doesn’t get out as much as he once did, but if he’s feeling up to it, he’ll still shake a leg for friends.

“I’ll form a motion for them,” he said.

Dave Whatley, better known as Dancin’ Dave, will soon turn 88. Generations of Wiregrass residents have seen Dave, always wearing a white sailor suit, walking local highways or showing up at festivals and events. For a little change, Dave would dance for passersby.

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Dave’s wandering days are now over. A few months ago he fell and experienced other health problems. He now resides full-time with his sister, Lillian Bond, in Dothan.

“I just sit around and do what an old person do,” he said.

Often described as an eccentric icon or a throwback to an older era, Dave is beloved by many throughout the Wiregrass.

“I’ve known him since I was a little girl and my grandfather introduced us,” Laurie Barefield said. “He was everywhere you went. You’d see him in Dothan, Slocomb, Headland - it was magical.”

Local residents may soon have a chance to thank Dave for being part of what makes the Wiregrass unique. Friends of Dave are hoping to erect a peanut statue reminiscent of the Peanuts Around Town statues.

Debbie Yurevich, a local professional organizer, spends time with Dave and runs his Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Dancin-Dave/390739154434226). Yurevich said she’s hoping to raise funds and hire an artist to create a Dancin’ Dave peanut. The Headland City Council has already authorized placing the peanut at the Headland town square.

Yurevich said she will soon set up a GoFundMe account for the peanut, which will be available from Dave’s Facebook page.

Yurevich said Dave’s friends have been very supportive of the idea, and she hopes the peanut will be complete in April.

Dave was born in Headland. He is one of 15 children - 13 boys and two girls. His father died when he was 12 and he was sent to live with relatives in Georgia. Dave has spent most of his life on the roads of the Wiregrass, doing odd jobs to support himself.


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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