DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Joe Rooney has been providing music, games and entertainment at the Dobbs Ferry Fourth of July celebration for 31 years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“I’ve made myself the promise that when this becomes a job, I’ll quit,” said Rooney, owner of Rooney Tunes Entertainment. “It’s the greatest job in the world. I work for myself and I’m always going to places where people are happy.”
Rooney, a lifelong Dobbs Ferry resident, got his start in music when he was six and learned to play guitar. He quickly picked up piano and singing and started a band, called One Way, in 1983, which rocked the local music scene for 25 years. When Rooney got into the entertainment business, most clients wanted bands, he said. As the years progressed, Rooney said he noticed a shift from rock and roll bands to dance music, laser light shows and video productions. Rooney said he now offers slide shows, video dance parties, photo booths, game shows, foam parties and dancers to accommodate people’s changing preferences.
Despite the change in entertainment preferences, Rooney said there’s one staple that always gets everyone in the room dancing – Tony Basil’s 1982 hit “Mickey.”
“Whenever I’m doing a dance set I know I can go to that song and everyone’s going to react to it,” Rooney said.
This year, Rooney will perform at the Waterfront Park celebration as Rock N Rooney, a live act that features Rooney on guitar and vocals, he said. The celebration will start with patriotic music at noon, followed by family-friendly music, games, competitions and dancing until the fireworks display at 9 p.m., which will feature a patriotic soundtrack, Rooney said.
Rooney, who is also a part-time member of the Dobbs Ferry Volunteer Ambulance Corp, said the Dobbs Ferry celebration isn’t about making money. In fact, he doesn’t even profit from the event.
“I don’t make money off it,” Rooney said. “It’s rewarding to hang out and have a good time.”