Author: George Voorhis

Philly Freedom Fly In–Silver Belles & Beaus–25 Years Remembering the Dance

Dancing A2 with Sandie on Saturday Night at the Costume Ball

WILMINGTON DE, MARCH 31-APRIL 2, 2017. Attending the Fly In – that 3-day dance party – put on by Independence Squares was a wonderful reminder of how much fun Square Dancing can be. The intensity of a concentrated, energetic three-day dance marathon, especially in the context of the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs (“IAGSDC”), can be exhilarating, and is a synthesis of everything we’ve come to revere as square dancers, in this great recreational and social network. Independence Squares did a terrific job of reminding just what a Fly In does, and can be, because it did all those things and with aplomb!

A Fly In reinforces your skills and standing as a square dancer in relation to the greater Community with others who share your enthusiasm, and with some of the greatest Callers in the Land. It’s payback for all those hours of study, memorization of definitions, and hours of practice you’ve dedicated. It justifies through dancing well, the dollars invested in countless classes, workshops, travel to events, and Conventions over the years of honing your craft.

A Fly In provides opportunities for socializing with old friends, and making new ones, especially nowadays, in this impersonal, app-driven world, and most important, it gets you out of your rut and into a state of renewal at a festival. It’s a re-affirmation that one of the most rewarding things we can do in this world is to get out and square dance! For me at least, a Fly In does all those things. And the Independence Squares knows how to put on a Fly In!

The festivities for the Philadelphia Freedom Fly-In, 25th Anniversary Celebration “Silver Belles and Beaus” began for us on Friday, March 31st at the Doubletree Hotel in Wilmington DE. The world-class trio of the weekend’s callers. Sandie Bryant, Chris Phillips and Jet Roberts, with cameo appearances by Gay Callers Association (“GCA”) callers started the 38 hours of dancing at 7 PM with programs spanning Mainstream through Challenge 2.

The Doubletree has been the host hotel for many years. It’s accessible by Light Rail, Bus, Amtrak, and centrally located between New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and other East Coast cities and countrysides. It’s within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and a Mall. It also boasts a decent affordable restaurant and bar within the hotel, so no one ever actually has to leave. And if only that bar could talk – it’s been privy to many laughs, heart-to-hearts, and tales out-of-school winding down after the last All Skate Tip of the evening for both callers and dancers alike.

The layout of ballrooms was very conducive for hopping between dance programs, having one central hallway with contiguous rooms which also served as a registration and basket raffle area. Regrettably, I understand that this venue will not be available for the 2018 Fly In, plans for which are already underway and a new venue is on the horizon.

The Schedule, artfully designed by Tim Harper, distributed time allotments across the programs giving ample time for socializing, especially during the 5:30-8:00 Saturday night dinner break. Though a Fly In weekend can be a boot-camp-style schedule, taps sounded not as early as usual, with dancing on Saturday at 9:30 AM through the evening April Fool’s Formal Ball ending at 11 PM. At the Ball, an informal count of squares of alternating programs yielded maximums of 5 MS, 9 A2, 3 C1 and 2 C2 – sorry, I missed the Plus count. On Saturday AM, there was a tally of at least 137 registrants, with more walk-ins for the Saturday Night Costume Formal.

Specialty tips in the Schedule really played to the callers’ strengths. Sandy’s “Sandie Shows the Way” DBD MS Workshop assayed her dogged insistence on attention to detail and precision. At C1, her Plenty call from Hourglass perplexed, to say the least. Chris’ “Cookin with Chris” (Plus Hot Hash) was the perfect vehicle for his ability to inspire, and move dancers into position at a high pace with choreography emphasizing agility; “Jammin with Jet – MS & Plus Singing Calls” flaunted Jet Roberts’ tremendous voice, which could be deployed to at any half-time for the Star Spangled Banner. One of his mottos “I want you to succeed” was re-enforced as he cued the floor through various odd Motivates and Trade Circulates while sustaining the enthusiasm. I think his favorite call must be “All 8 Square Chain Thru” from a static square, so workshop that before you dance with him again!

Times Squares and associated folks in attendance (in no specific order) included David K, Lester S., Bill W. Mark C., Susan G., Mark D., Guy L., Bill S., Emad H., Bob B., Ping, Warren L., Kian. K. George V., Mike C. Esther & Richard S. Attendees from the East Coast IAGSDC and Jersey and Local clubs abounded.

Baskets and silent auctions were in full display and for bidding, and the report came in afterward that income of at least $3000 was reported from basket sales alone. There were also door prizes from many local restaurants. I won a Gift Certificate Door Prize to one of my favorite restaurants, The Olive Garden (right across the 8-lane highway), as one of about five bestowed. These corollary events: the 50/50 Drawings, the Baskets, the Costume Parade and Contest helped contribute to the “Town Square Street Fair” nature of the Fly In, and brought people together in yet another way.

The Independence Squares had an active and gracious, welcoming presence and personality throughout. It was clear everyone pitched in and with a smile at every turn. Dane Bragg eloquently served as Master of Ceremonies for the brief announcements that ensued. In closing he spoke of how there were too many people to mention by name involved in the planning and execution of “Silver Belles and Beaus” (Baskets, Registration, Hotel Negotiation, Door Prizes, to name a few positions), but that he did want to express his gratitude to US, those of us who attended, who matter so much for the success of a Fly In.

So if you were at “Silver Belles and Beaus” remember how great it was to spend a weekend with your best friends, dancing to cream-of-the-crop callers, and how you felt being part of the great International Square Dance Community and treated as a guest of the highest calibre. Remember how it was when you started out in your first Mainstream class, trace how far you’ve come, and how it never dawned on you how important Square Dancing would become in your life. Tally up all the hours and expenses you’ve invested, and realize how rewarding it all has been. Now, get out there, and DANCE!

By George Voorhis

Here’s a video of A2 on Saturday night with Sandie Bryant calling!

Here’s a video of the Saturday Night Mainstream tip, with Sandi Chris and Jet calling.  Where’s the Bathroom on the Right!

 

Here’s a link to my Facebook Photo album from the Philadelphia Freedom Fly In:

https://www.facebook.com/Upper.west.sider/media_set?set=a.10208908825014968.1073741877.1145525653&type=3

 

Having a (Beach) Ball in Rehoboth with Chesapeake Squares

The Saturday Night Banner Dance with some of the Dancers in their Club Colors.

REHOBOTH DE, April 28-30, 2017. Ever wonder why so many Square Dance calls have an affinity with water?  Step to a Wave, Load the Boat, Pass the Ocean, Pass the Sea…..? Seems there’s a natural association for Square Dancing and the Ocean and it’s because they’re both Fun! This weekend, Chesapeake Squares proved that, as hosts of a great party — their 31st Fly-In “Pass the Ocean, Hon!” April 28-30, 2017 at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

In their new venue since the Convention Center closed for expansion in 2016, the Atlantic Sands Hotel provided adequate dance space and ocean views from almost every room. Located directly on the Rehoboth Boardwalk and contiguous with the beach, a paradise of fast food, restaurants, games, candy, novelties and resort temptations await right outside the front door. The good weather graced us with blue skies and calm seas, and with temperatures in high 80’s, adventurous locals even ventured into the drink.

Since this is the 31st Fly In, it means Chesapeake Squares has held a Fly In every year since their inception in 1986 with help in forming from the DC Lambda Squares.

Veteran callers Bill Harrison (MD), Dayle Hodge (MD) and Anne Uebelacker (CAN) as always kept the pace going with standard upbeat tunes that, for my taste, tended more toward traditional hokey than country, rock or pop, but reliably delivered their high brand of choreography and fun dancing. Five animated squares held the floor during the Mainstream and Plus tips during All-Skates. Saturday Night was a “Banner Dance” – a dance to raise awareness and help funding for the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs (“IAGSDC”). The loaned-from-the-IAGSDC Banner was on display, and the Club’s share of that night’s 50/50 Drawing was donated to the Association. Both parties garnered a little over $250. Dancers were encouraged to wear their Club’s Colors, and you can see some of them in the videos and pictures which abound on Facebook or see the link below. The schedule for the weekend was typical, simple, and safe. There was ample time for socializing and meals built in, so the planner had  well-appreciated leisure time in mind.  A square dancer hates to rush for fear of missing something, you know…. Standard specialty tips included Take No Prisoner, and Hot Hash Plus with Saturday morning workshops in all programs (Two for Mainstream!) And Introductions to Plus, A2, and Challenge 1 on Sunday.

As a C1 dancer I felt a little short-shrifted, as there was only 1 full hour of pure C1, all the others alternating slots with C2. So not counting workshops or All-Skates, C1 dancers got 2 tips an hour for 6 hours which broke continuity and concentration. And because most C1/C2 hours were simultaneous with A2 on another floor, there was no physical possibility of integration or alternating C1/A2.

Saturday night’s basket raffle consisted mainly of Fly In Registrations, with one clinker of some used “vintage” lamps. With tickets sold at 15 for $5, everyone could have a good chance of winning. The dancing highlight of my weekend was Saturday’s 9:30 AM C1 Workshop with Bill Harrison on “Little” and “Plenty”. Each concept and formation laid the foundation for the next, and Aha! Moments abounded. I’ll be looking for a C1 Blitz with Bill, as I think it would be marvelous, and you can never stop the worskshops when it comes to Challenge dancing! Of course, the most important aspects of this, almost relaxing, weekend of dance and revelry were social ones. It was great to see so many Times Squares faces – in no specific order – Michael C., Michael d., Bob B., Greeley W., Dave K., Lester S., Guy L., Bill S., Jeff E., George V., Cynthia and Jon U., Kim N., Howard H., Wally R., Lou P., Betsy and Roy, Fran H., Keith G., Pauline, and Gabriel, and please forgive if I’ve left anyone out.

Attendees came from all along the Eastern Seaboard, with familiar faces from as far away as California. The thing about Square Dancing friends, is that once you’re back in a square with them, it’s like no time has passed, and you pick up where you left off in the last square you were in together, say, in November at Harvest Festival Hoedown in York, or last year in December at Glitter Ball in Philadelphia. To quote a lovely friend this weekend, she remarked that Square Dancers are now her primary network for socializing, recreation and emotional support, and wouldn’t know what to do with out it — and don’t we all concur?

Well, I’m already registered for PTOH 2018, and have my hotel reservation at the Sands for next year. Thanks to Chesapeake Squares for another fine weekend at the Beach, and getting us all together again. See their Facebook Page for some pictures, and their website for information on Pass the Ocean Hon! 2018! (coming soon).   Yellow Rocks, George Voorhis

Social Dancing (like Square Dancing) Improves Brain Function!

This recent article from the New York Times details a study that shows that social dancing and country dancing actually improves brain functioning.  Yes, dancing can keep you young!   Learn to square dance with the Times Squares Square Dance Club today!

Plan on coming to one of our First Friday Dances. The next dance is on Friday, May 5th.  Remember, it’s social dancing and you’ll have fun doing it. There’s no partner, experience or special attire needed, and everything will be taught to you by a live caller.  And don’t think you can’t dance — If you can walk you can dance!

“Scoot Back to Big D” Little A Double L. A. S!

DALLAS, March 3-5, 2017

And that spells DALLAS!   One hundred and five dancers made their way to the Sons of Hermann Hall in the Deep Ellum sector of Dallas TX for Pegasus Squares’ first Fly In.   Pegusus was resurrected several years ago after a 12 year hiatus, by 6 co-founders and with President and Fly In Chair Alan Josephson.   Their numbers grew exponentially, and Pegusus is now the Third IAGSDC Club in the State of Texas, with Lone Star Lambdas in Austin and  Alamo City Wranglers in San Antonio.  What a fantastic Fly In it was, with emphasis on great calling, dancing and that ever-present spirit of Hospitality.

Saundra Bryant (IL) and Darryl Lipscomp (TX) anchored the caller corner keeping us fresh with lively tunes and choreography.  Everyone enjoyed them.  We all know and love Saundra, an iconic stalwart on the gay square dance circuit who never ceases to inspire and entertain, and she lived up to her reputation.  Darryl was new to me, but held his own with formations and routines that flowed well – my only criticism being that I had a hard time hearing/understanding him – the Texan drawl, perhaps, or just the miking…

The surprise was Scott Amspoker (NM) from the Wilde Bunch.  His soft jazz sounds enticed the crowd immediately and he wowed us with a perky pace and some nice Ah-Hah! resolutions.

Workshops were at a not-too-early somewhat civilized 10AM on Saturday especially given the commute time.  Sandy did a fine job with Split Counter Rotates from various positions with an ever-changing Flag-pole center.  It was nice that the concepts were subtly worked into her subsequent tips.

The Fly In encompassed MS through HiC, with several hours of just C1 Dancing.  The level of the floor was excellent at all programs, in C1 in part because many C2 dancers’ few floor opportunities facilitated their move down a notch to dance C1.  See the videos on my Facebook Page for some of the fun A2 and MS tips.  I was proud to confidently execute a successful “In Phantom Tally Ho!” with my great C1 square and favorite friends.

The Hospitality Card was played early and often with the Pegusus elves in seemingly perpetual motion replenishing Friday night’s serious Finger Foods, Saturday mornings’ Continental Breakfast, and Saturday Evening’s sumptuous BBQ Banquet Buffet Dinner in the Sons of Hermann Ballroom, with options for vegans and vegetarians from another source.

Sons of Hermann Hall is a 1911 structure which exudes character with many details intact.  Founded as a German Fraternity and Social Club House, the Hall sports a public bar, large parlour which hosed registration and the copious Basket Raffle tables, a grand staircase, and upstairs dance hall, and a converted bowling alley.  All rooms featured well-worn hardwood flooring and spacious windows which provided refreshing daytime natural light.  Located in the Deep Ellum sector of Dallas, it seems to be the earliest 2-storey structure in the neighborhood, in the late 19th century style with high ceilings, wainscoting, and a bracketed cornice.   It’s at 3414 Elm Street, which lends it’s name to the District – a phonetic, dialect rendering of “Elm” to “Ellum”.  Characterized by one-storey industrial buildings, the night life flows from out of the many clubs and onto the sidewalks, with a young hearty party crowd.

The host hotel was the modest but adequate La Quinta Inn, located in N. Dallas.  It was readily accessible by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”), about 1 ½ hours from the airport and 45 minutes to Sons of Hermann for $2.50 a jaunt.  Luckily we had co-ordinated with Rent-A-Car friends, and had the luxury of wheels from the airport and to the dance venue, which took between ½ hour and 45 minutes depending on traffic, which seems to be omnipresent on Highway 75.    The $112 rate included a substantial breakfast with eggs, sausage, waffles, fruit and all the trimmings, and a free, limited-hours, shuttle van transported within a three-mile radius.

Saturday night 50/50 drawing yielded a $275 pot, and  Fly In Exchanges abounded as a staple of the many copious auction baskets.  One happy winner proudly claimed and flaunteded his new hedge trimmer – still in the box – while others walked away with over-sized paintings of pheasants, and other sundry items.

Attendees came from all over the US and at least one from Canada – AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, NC, NM, NY, NJ, PA, TX,  and Ontario to name a few.  Though I maintained a dance card of A2 and C1, the MS/Plus Hall consistently flaunted 4-6 high energy squares.  There were readily three  A2 and two C1 squares at any offering. So, Kudos to Alan Josephson, Pegasus Squares, and all their wonderful team for putting on a fantastic first Fly In.

The camaraderie, friendships, over-the-top callers, and enthusiast, adept, knowledgeable and smiling dancers made for a happy weekend from beginning to end. It seems that the Texas Gay Square Dance Fly Ins will rotate between the three clubs, and the next  host is Lone Star Lambdas in Austin at the same time in 2018.  Check the IAGSDC website for more information on the next Fly In, and see the video below

Here’s a video of the last dance of the weekend with Sandie Bryant and Darryl Lipscomb calling.

George V

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Square Dance: the Declaration of Independence Squares!

PHILADELPHIA PA, Jan. 28, 2017. Square dancing with the Independence Squares (“IS”) should be listed in guide books as one of “The Top 10 Best Things To Do in Philadelphia for $10 or Less ”. Garnering some of the best callers in the nation, IS consistently draw an eclectic crowd from PA, NJ, DE, (see end note*) and at least this New Yorker. James O and I were Times Squares members in attendance for the Saturday Jan. 28th All-Program Dance. Regular callers include the best on the East Coast and just this season boasts: Bill Harrison (MD), Dayle Hodge (MD) , Betsy Gotta (NJ) , John Marshall (VA) with some from-far-away guests like Barry Clasper (CAN) Rick Gittleman (AZ), and Kris Jensen (NM).

The IS format is Mainstream through C1, occasionally with C2 star tips. Tonight there were 2 squares at each program consistently. Dances are usually once a month, on a Saturday from 4-8:00 pm, including a pot luck dinner break at about 5:30 for an admission of $10.

IS dancers and friends are quite good dancers, with MS through C2 programs rotating classes and workshops. Most occur simultaneously on Tuesdays nights, in 2 rooms at the dance space, with Joe Bradshaw (DE), Dane Bragg (PA) and club caller Betsy Gotta (NJ). The events are coordinated with a well-planned schedule allowing attendees to navigate between programs and serve as angels, or dance. Two Wednesdays a month feature alternating C1 Workshop/C2 Class sessions offered by caller Drew Allen, in the Unitarian Church across the Street.

There was also a special series in the 2016-2017 season, focusing on Mainstream and Plus All-Position Dancing, helping to re-enforce the Clubs’ already strong dance community.

IS’s outreach effort recently recorded about 15 new students for Mainstream Class with quite good retention. They owe their success to a recently implemented Meetup presence, and it seems to work.

The sweetest surprise of the evening was a caller new to some of us, Mark Franks. Hailing from Egg Harbor, NJ, he was a pleasure to dance to. Calling MS through C1 his lively choreography jived with upbeat tunes and his pleasant, relaxed, and positive style. Everyone enjoyed him.  Here’s a video of the final MS tip with Mark.

A note about Mark’s music: it sounded good! His amplifier is a high tech, sleek black Bose Subwoorfer/speaker combination. The 6″ or 8″ speaker sits perched upon a collapsible 6-foot high 3″-square stanchion, which disassembles into two 3-foot sections, all supported by the impressive woofer box. The great audio quality, combined with caller-quality, professional non-vocal recordings propelled the floor. Much of his music is in the 2/2 meter (that old hee haw beat somewhat prevalent among square dance callers) but spiced with the occasional familiar contemporary dance tune, again, in non-vocal, good professional caller quality tracks.

As always, an array of casserole crock pots took center stage as mainstays of the pot luck dinner break.

IS All-Program dances happen once a month, peppered with special additions. In February, Saturday the 25th brings us Bill Harrison (MD) with “For the Love of Chocolate”, a recurring Theme Dance, which usually draws a sizeable floor from many Clubs. Kris Jensen (NM) is the guest caller on March 11, for a special C1/C2 afternoon session 1:30-3:30 PM, followed by the usual 4-8 PM Mainstream through A2 and C1 star tips.

And don’t you dare miss the IS Fly In, March 31st – April 2nd, 2016 at the Double Tree in Wilmington DE, graced by the stellar caller staff of Saundra Bryant (IL), Chris Phillips (FL), and Jet Roberts (CA) – accessible by Amtrak, Light Rail various Bus Services from NYC. IS members will usually offer car pools to/from 30th St. Station on the Friday of the of the weekend. IS website IndependenceSquares.org provides lots of information about this, and other events.

This dynamic Club’s pièce de résistance (that’s French you know!) is that they secured the bid and are the Host Club for “Belles Run”, the 2019 36th Annual IAGSDC Convention to take pace in Philadelphia at the Sheraton in Center City. Complete details can be found at www.philadelphia2019.com.

The regular dance space at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion is at 2111 Sansom Street, one block away from Chestnut. It’s easily navigable by Public Transportation by NJ Transit from Penn Station NYC with a transfer to SEPTA at Trenton to 30th Street Station, Philadelphia. The more direct and costly Amtrak gets you to 30th Street much more comfortably in less than half the time. A short walk down Market Street across Schuylkill River Bridge (look for the eagle statues from the original Penn Station, NYC) with a right turn on 21st, brings to you Sansome Street, and the back entrance to the Church, which is the dance space. Neighboring garages offer special parking rates for those who drive and attend IS dances – you’ll need to get a pass from the door person at the dance.

Hope to see you at some of these fine events! Yellow Rocks, George

 

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* Endnote: Bridge Tolls are typically $4 or $5 on NJ/PA, DE/PA Bridges. Bridge Tolls for NYC-Entry bridges and tunnels can be as high as $15 for cash tolls, a deterrent to folks driving into Manhattan. I was told by one suburbanite “I’m from New Jersey and I don’t do Public Transportation”. Watch the video

Slip and Swing Over to Motiv8ors for Plenty of A2 and C1

Seven members of the Times Squares attended the Motiv8ors dance on
January 22, 2017: Art, Dom, Rick, Pauline, Warren, Ernest, and myself. Todd
Fellegy called C1 from 6:30-7:30 and A2 from 7:30 to 9:30. There were 3 squares for
both C1 and A2. The dances are always on a Sunday evening. I encourage you all to
go, as it’s a great time to get that extra C1 or A2 floor time we all need, with very
forgiving dancers. And it’s good to dance with an array of callers on a regular basis.

Motiv8ors dance by computer squares, and although one can usually find
a single to square up with, the “man” who holds the changing computer assignments
determines in which square you dance, or whether you sit out. It’s very flexible though,
and singles are encouraged as the Club is very accommodating. The Motiv8ors are
very good and serious dancers and like to have fun — even during the flubs. It’s a very
reasonable admission rate, as a member I paid $10 plus $2 extra for the C1 hour. This
Club consistently gets some of the best callers around: Todd Fellegy, Betsy Gotta,
Dayle Hodge, and Ken Ritucci to name a few. You’re always welcome to bring a snack
for the Hospitality Table, and participate in the 50/50 (5 tickets for $5).

Easily accessible by NJ Transit from Pennsylvania Station NYC, the
Hawthorne stop is really less than 35 minutes away once you’re on the train. There’s a
brief change in Secaucus, and the round trip fare is less than $15, and half that for
seniors. We usually make it an excursion, dining at a local restaurant along the way.
Usually it’s Julien’s, a reasonably priced Italian place not far from the dance space at
St. Clement’s Church – just a 10 minute walk from the train – the veal is delicious and
splitting the entree still gives a generous portion. The 4:15 from Penn gets you there
with enough time for a leisurely meal and to study your C1 calls on the way.

For more information, your hosts Maryjane and Robert would be happy to answer your questions.
They’ve done a fantastic job in keeping the Club going. Maryjane’s email is
cmimigirl@aol.com. Upcoming events are Jan. 29th & Feb 12th with Betsy Gotta, Feb 19
with Dayle Hodge, and the schedule is already planned out for the year through
December 2017. Some upcoming dance dates, map and directions on this link.  We hope to see you there soon!

It Takes a Village in Decatur Georgia to Put on a Fly In!

Yoohoo Mr. UPS Man! I think that box is for me!

Decatur GA, Jan. 13-15 2017. “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again”. I think Hotlanta Squares took Scarlett O’Hara’s words from Gone With The Wind to heart for Promenade Down Peachtree 2017 (and 2016, 2015, 2014, and all the other PDPs going back). This fine weekend of dancing, featuring premiere callers Dayle Hodge (MD), Michael Maltenfort (IL), and John Marshall(VA) was punctuated with fine eating throughout, and displayed the generous spirit of Southern Hospitality at its best. Friday night munchies, billed as pot luck “appetizers”, were quite substantial replete with crock pots; a hefty Continental Style breakfast fortified on Saturday morning; pre-ordered box lunches and salads (mine was turkey panini) including scrumptious red-velvet cookies were distributed at noon; and Club Volunteers served the catered Sunday Brunch, with cookie platters revealed before the last dance ended at 2 PM. It was great to have John Marshall back calling, with high energy and good spirits.

MS through C2 Programs were amply represented in the schedule. Workshops took place on Saturday morning and all-skates ended each dance-day. A list of calls learned, given to the callers accommodated the new C1 Classs, and A1 tips allowed for inclusion of those new dancers. Two-hour meal breaks on Saturday provided rest and socializing time with friends from Ottawa, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and other far away places. Wally R and I were the only Times Squares members in attendance.

Organizer Mike Shagina did a fine job coordinating his volunteer crew, and gave heartfelt thanks to them at the brief closing ceremony. Mike is now Hotlanta’s Club Caller, teaching all Programs, calling dances, and putting on Promenade Down Peachtree.
“It Takes A Village – Your Profession or Desired Profession” set the tone for the Saturday Night Costume Dance and uniforms of all kinds abounded. From hard hats, to Wonder Woman and the clergy to Carmen Miranda, the creative and festive force was at work. The humpy UPS Man delivering a box of surprises strapped at waist level, walked away with the First Prize money. Baskets categories spanned the ever popular chocolate, liquor and Fly In Registrations – my $5 investment garnered AC/DC – – and Ed G.(IS) held the winning ticket for the Saturday night $250 50/50 pot! There are plenty of pictures in Albums on my Facebook page, so look it up and see all the terrific costumes!

This year, as last, we went overnight on Amtrak in a sleeper car. It’s a wonderful adventure, little more expensive than airfare, and much more civilized. All meals are included, served by a waiter in the dining car at your reserved time, and an attendant takes care of your every need. This year there was not an official Host Hotel, but you may be able to get a discounted rate through AAA or some other organization at the Marriott where Hotlanta usually gets a block at a reduced rate. Many people stayed at the Motel 8, down the street from the Marriott, which are both within walking distance of the festivities at the Decatur Recreation Center. Motel 8 guests seemed to like it, and there were no complaints at $72/night. Decatur is easily accessible by MARTA, their Metro system from the airport for $2.50 and about an hour travel time with one transfer. Since we came into downtown Atlanta by Amtrak, and the train station is not located near a MARTA stop, we took a handy UBER directly to Decatur in less than 20 minutes for $16, well worth the investment.

Hotlanta Squares really exhibit a sense of teamwork in putting on PDP. They work together, tirelessly, always cordial, warm, friendly, welcoming, and most of all, always smiling. That Southern Hospitality thing is not a myth, it is without a doubt real, and I experience it every time I go to Promenade Down Peachtree. They make you feel like you’ve been welcomed into their family, and are determined that you will have a good time, and you will! Next year, the theme is “Carnival”, Jan. 12-14, 2018 with veteran callers Johnny Preston, Tom Miller and Chris Phillips, so, you’ll be dancing with the best of the best. The $90 early registration is in effect until Feb. 28 with the top fee at $130.

Click here to view the registration form. So get your registration and airfare or train tickets as soon as possible and remember, “Tomorrow is another day…”