By MADDY VITALE
A memorial tribute to music legend Jerry Blavat, who gained celebrity status with his dance parties and DJ-ing, will be held in Sea Isle City, a place where he performed many times over the years.
Blavat died Friday at age 82.
Dave Virgilio, 34, of Hammonton, a videographer and producer, worked side by side with Blavat while DJ-ing at the Oar House Pub in Sea Isle, where he entertained crowds with his electric energy dance parties.
Blavat, the famed “Geator With the Heater” and “Boss With the Hot Sauce,” was also a fan favorite for years at the old LaCosta Lounge in Sea Isle.
Virgilio and Oar House Pub owner Jimmy Bennett, both of whom called Blavat a mentor, are hosting a celebration of life Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oar House Pub. There will be a slideshow with lots of photos of Blavat and his family and friends, live DJ music as well as live music from the band “Just In Time.”
“This is a night to remember and celebrate his life, share memories, and dance the night away. Above all, we will always try to keep his memory alive,” Virgilio said in an interview Sunday night.
In addition to Wednesday’s celebration for fans, there will be a “Family and Friends” celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 1, also from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oar House Pub.
Blavat, who grew up in South Philadelphia, was also a music promoter and nightclub owner. He owned the Memories in Margate club, which is still a popular spot in the resort. On Friday, his fans placed flowers and cards at the front entrance of the club in honor of him.
Even in his 80s, the Geator continued to perform in a career that spanned decades.
On a Facebook page called “Geator After Hours,” fans are pictured with Blavat at many different shore clubs and other locations having a great time. Some of the photos date to the 1980s.
On Sunday night, Frank Quinn shared a photo on the Facebook page of a brightly colored billboard honoring Blavat: It reads: “Jerry Blavat, 1940-2023: The Geator With the Heater,” and even features a fedora, like the one he wore.
Virgilio said he and Bennett are hopeful that a big crowd comes out to remember Blavat on Wednesday night.
They invited past and present DJs who worked with Blavat over the years to join in the celebration.
“Hopefully it will be a great turnout. I’ve been collecting all of the photos the bands have been posting and a huge assortment of photos of his career,” Virgilio said. “I am putting together a video intro that will include some of Jerry’s comedy skits.”
Virgilio noted that he never worked as a DJ prior to doing it alongside Blavat, which was since September of 2021. But they worked closely together and formed a friendship years before that, when Virgilio broadcast some of Blavat’s live segments.
“He did appearances on live TV and he had me broadcast them. We worked together a lot and I am glad he thought of me,” he said. “I tried to watch him as much as I could. I am grateful and honored to have worked with him. I just wish we had more time.”
Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to show that there will be two tributes to Jerry Blavat instead of one as originally planned.
For those who can’t attend the tributes, there will be a live stream on https://www.mixcloud.com/live/.