Dancin’ Dave

20' Long by 12' High

October 2016

Charly Palmer


  • Dave Whatley was born near Headland in 1927 and was dubbed “Dancin’ Dave” for his smooth moves and kind spirit.
  • Dancin’ Dave was presented in on the the “Peanuts Around Town” on July 18, 2015.
  • He was one of 15 children – 13 boys and 2 girls.
  • The mural was painted in three days by artist Charly Palmer.

Most cities have at least one. That character that everyone recognizes and waves to on occasion, but who almost always remains a complete enigma. Many in Dothan knew Dancin’ Dave as an uplifting individual that graced downtown dressed in all white, walked everywhere he went and would stop and dance for a few quarters when he met someone.

Dave had a demeanor that was totally superior to the public image he portrayed. He was soft-spoken and very articulate when he spoke as well as his mannerisms. He would often be seen sitting on a bench outside the northside K-Mart, which held a special meaning to him. His family had lived on a farm in that area over 60 years ago and going there gave him a special feeling of inner peace.

Dancin’ Dave Whatley was born near Headland in 1927. The story goes that his parents bought him a radio when he was young and he spent hours moving his feet to the rhythm of the music. As a teen, Dave attended a dance in Florida with friends and got introduced to a new kind of dancing. Although it was unfamiliar to him, Dave made his way onto the floor and let his feet go. Soon, everyone gave way and he had the dance floor to himself.

He was often seen walking and wearing his traditional gleaming white shirt, apron and trousers, or doing his happy dance on the northside of Dothan were the Ross Clark Circle connects with U.S. Highway 431. With a few recently purchased items in his modest shopping bag laying at his feet, he periodically stopped and waved a greeting at the local town folk of Dothan and those just passing through. He became the de facto mascot of Dothan’s Annual Peanut Festival Parade and Fair.

On April 14, 2016 the Murals of the Wiregrass Foundation executed a call for proposals to design and create a mural to show and tell the story of one of the Wiregrass’ legends: Dancin’ Dave. The goal of this mural was to create a mural in downtown Dothan, Alabama that tells the story and reflects the life and story of Dancin’ Dave through compelling visuals and exciting design.

All who drive by this mural are reminded of the legend that touched our hearts and reminded us how to love unconditionally.