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    May 11
    Dark. No dance.

    May 25
    Terry Halley, caller
    Ken Prattt, cuer

    The Checkerboard Squares dance at the Rockwood Grange, located at 183rd and Southeast Stark Street between the Taco Time restaurant and the Motel 6 in Gresham, Ore. Admission: $5 for non-members.

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Plans Surge Forward for 2011 Summer Festival

The sign outside a small meeting room at Spooky’s Pizza in The Dalles read “Square Dancers: 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.” More than 20 square dancers jammed the little room for more than three hours. Most attendees were from Portland. Why would square dancers be munching pizza on a Monday night more than 100 miles from home? Because they were part of the 2011 summer festival committee and were giving Dalles committee members a break from driving all the way to Portland.

2011 summer festival members sport their outfits made to advertise the festival. The photo was taken at the 2010 summer festival in Pendleton.

The main agenda was discussing the 2011 program book. Who would write the various portions of the book? Who would write about the quilt and dinner cruise raffle? Who would write about the specially priced tour to OMSI and its submarine? Who would write about the youth dance?

Tony Haskins, committee chair, assigned every portion of the book to someone. Someone will write about the showcase of rounds. Someone will write about the more than 18 vendors who have already signed up. Someone will write about the photographer who will be available to take group and individual photos.

Someone will write about national caller Deborah Carroll-Jones. Someone will write about the Parkers, national cuers for the festival. Someone will write about the USO Show entertainment on Saturday night.

Already enough ads have been sold to pay for the book. It will have a full-color cover. Inside will be all the information dancers need to make the most of the summer festival. Places, times, events.

Hundreds of hours go into planning a summer festival. The meeting at Spooky’s Pizza reminded me again of the quality of people involved in square dancing. They’re hard-working, dedicated and creative. It’s great to be a part of such a community.

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Quilt to be Raffled at 2011 Summer Festival

This blue square dance quilt is being raffled for $1 a ticket; the drawing will occur at the 2011 summer festival.

A drawing for a queen-size blue quilt featuring embroidered square dancers will take place at the 2011 summer festival. Tickets cost $1 each and will be sold throughout the coming year.

The quilt has been displayed at various events such as the 2010 summer festival in Pendleton and the summer Fifth Friday dance. Watch for additional showings!

Checkerboard Square member Dixie Read designed and made the quilt; Keith Miles created the embroidery for the quilt. Dixie regularly makes quilts for charity. Keith has an embroidery business that particularly caters to the square dance community.

Preview the 2011 Summer Festival Site

This is the entrance to Reynolds High School, home of the 2011 summer festival.

A number of the 2011 summer festival committee members toured Reynolds High School on Aug. 20. They were investigating things such as the placement of plugins for vendors, the location of a hospitality room for callers and cuers, and the best venue for the Saturday night USO show.

The group toured the three halls for dancing. Mainstream dancing will take place in an airy room with a high ceiling and skylights.

In the mainstream hall, the chairs in this photo will be placed around the perimeter of the room along with round tables during summer festival.

Chairs and round tables will be placed around the perimeter of the room so dancers can rest, chat and sip on ice water. This hall is close to the food court and vendor area. A stage in one corner will hold the callers.

The largest of two gyms is reserved for plus dancing. This room holds two sets of bleachers.

The immense plus hall is Reynolds High School's largest gymnasium.

At least one set of bleachers will be extended so dancers can watch or rest between tips.

A smaller gym will house round dancing. A small set of bleachers lines one wall. Here festival-goers will sit to watch the showcase of rounds that the committee is planning for the weekend.

The round dance hall is Reynolds High School's smaller gymnasium.

Summer Festival 2011 to Offer a Shoppers’ Paradise

I was eating breakfast at Shari’s in Pendleton, Ore., with square dance friends when I caught a bit of the conversation taking place at a table near our booth. A woman excitedly was saying that she had heard that Summer Festival 2011 was going to have many vendors. The other women at her table smiled and nodded enthusiastically.

What the woman had heard is true. Like to shop? You’ll love the 2011 summer festival. Already 19 vendors are signed up to exhibit at the festival. Shopping will be plentiful even if you never leave the festival grounds. Old favorites will be there such SqDini badges and Carrie B’s dance clothing. But a few surprises are in store–at least two booths will feature hand-made giftware and home decor.

At least 19 vendors will fill this multi-level area adjacent to the food court.

Dancers who choose to venture off the festival grounds will appreciate that Reynolds High School, the festival location, is just minutes away from the Troutdale outlet mall with its company stores. And the school is minutes away from old Troutdale. This long street that runs east and west above the outlet mall sports quaint shops and restaurants. Colorful awnings, flower baskets and shade trees make walking pleasant even on hot days.

If you drive a little further, you can shop historic downtown Gresham, which lies between Division and Powell. Equally charming as old Troutdale, Gresham offers old-fashioned architecture, flower baskets and unique restaurants and shops–even a movie theater. A farmer’s market sprouts up on Saturday. Musicians as well as vendors entertain shoppers.

Just blocks away on Division Street are two malls. Gresham Town Fair, a strip mall with more than 30 stores, contains a sporting goods store, pet store, coffee shop, dress shop,  import store and two large fabric/craft stores, to name a few.

Gresham Station, the second mall, was built to look like a little old-fashioned village with streets and sidewalks. It features more than 50 stores–including chain clothing stores, a Best Buy, restaurants and more.

Plan on dancing at Summer Festival 2011. But save some time for shopping. The variety will impress you.

2011 Summer Festival Is Coming; Click on Image to Learn More

The 2011 summer festival will be at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore. This beautiful complex of buildings will provide space for mainstream, plus and round dancing. In addition, a food court and vendor shopping area–both indoors and outdoors–will be available.

Club Goes Dark for Summer Festival

While researching the Sunset Promenaders’ dancing this weekend at the L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, I made a noteworthy discovery. On the home page of the club’s Web site appeared the announcement that the club was going dark for the July 15-18 2010 summer festival in Pendleton.

Good for the Promenaders! This is what clubs should do to support the big festivals and specialty dances such as Fifth Friday dances, Tri-Council dances, and Memorial Day Star-Spangled dance, to name a few.

If more clubs would throw in their support for these multi-club events, the attendance would be fantastic. The dances would be more exciting than usual (see my post on the need for critical mass to make dances successful). And clubs’ support for these events would ensure that attendance would bring in the revenue necessary to hold a large event. Thus, square dancers could continue to enjoy major festivals rather than just small club dances with two or three squares.

Mid-winter is the end of January. Summer festival 2011 is July 8-10. Clubs should plan now to go dark for these major dance events.

Checkerboard Squares to Celebrate Their 50th Anniversary

You’re invited to a party!

It’s going to be big.

It’s going to be fun.

It’s going to be a dance!

We want you to celebrate with us at the Rockwood Grange.

Save the date: Nov. 13, 2010.

More details to come!