Dancin' on Sunshine: Florida Clogging Festival 2017, PART THREE

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In this final installment of the Florida Clogging Festival story, we recount the adventures of Fancy Free Cloggers at the fair and the competition itself! Previous posts discuss our trip from Ohio to Florida for the event and my experience attending the workshop.

Saturday Fair

The Florida Clogging Festival took place at Osceola Heritage Park. We marveled at the cleanliness of the fair.

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The Fancy Free Cloggers immediately fell in love with this charming double decker carousel!

Lighted double decker carousel at osceola county fair at heritage park for Florida Clogging Festival.

It gets even prettier at night!

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Photo ops were everywhere. Looks like we might need a replacement dancer!

Photos were NOT permitted at this attraction, but Evie and Jordan saw what is allegedly the world's smallest horse. They said it looked rather bored. Probably because the horse couldn't watch all the clogging going on!

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No need to go hungry at the Osceola County Fair! Our team baker started off with a giant cookie. For research, of course!

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In addition to the delicious chicken & waffles, there was one other food that we just don't see at Ohio festivals: gator-on-a-stick!

Saturday Competition

After exploring the fair and getting food in our bellies, we were ready for the clogging competition, sanctioned by both NCHC and Cadence. 

Well, we still had one SMALL detail to attend to first. Remember those props for the show routine that didn't make it on the plane with us?

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Dustin and Randi slipped away from the fair to make an airport run. Dustin circled around in the car while Randi retrieved the props. Thanks, guys! You're our "lifesabers," ha-ha!

A feature of this competition that was new for us was the exchange of gifts between teams! We prepared bags with a card and pretty duct tape. We appreciated the snacks and other goodies from our fellow cloggers, especially as the competition ran late into the evening. Gift distribution made it easy to strike up conversations, too.

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The framed "Dancer's Prayer" we received is on display at the studio!

Funny warm-up incident: As we ran through the Star Wars routine, which begins with a solo by Evie, several cub scouts passed by our spot at the end of a hallway. One young scout enthusiastically yelled, "Great job, old lady!" as he walked out the door. We had to start over, we were laughing so hard!

Since some of our competition cloggers were unable to travel to Florida, we had to alter routines, including the Star Wars dance. Normally, I play Rey, but newer characters were left out this time around to be sure the classics were covered. 

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I missed doing my light saber fight, but seriously, who turns down a chance to be Princess Leia? Not me!

One teammate who couldn't make the Florida trip this year is Jim, a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor Survivor. Yes, he still clogs! He is a key component in our Heroes exhibition routine. Prior to the competition, we considered scrapping for this event. However, when event organizer Andy put out the word on Facebook, veterans from other teams offered to step in and take Jim's place!

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We ended up with four veterans joining us on the stage. Unfortunately, the audience was not aware of this, so the meaning behind our routine was missed by many. However, it was an honor to appear with these folks! Thank you for your service, ladies and gentlemen!

While there wasn't a specific award for "cutest cheering section," I feel like we won!

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Our team director has family in Florida. Her great-nephew and his big sister were rooting for Fancy Free! The building had a nice little play area for babies and toddlers, which came in handy.

Stage lighting was fantastic!

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Yes, the sign above us says "livestock show." We weren't the only team to find humor in it. The routine we're doing in this photo does contain a rooster run, mountain goat, and a walk the dog...

On the occasions that my team did win a prize (tough competition here for sure), we did not receive a large trophy. Good thing! How would we get it back home? We instead received a certificate on card stock, easy to transport AND suitable for hanging in the dance studio. The REAL prize was getting your team photo with the "first place" or the "festival's high score" banners! 

The photographer posted his beautiful pics on the event's facebook page, and they are FREE for everyone to use! A photo credit is requested if your team submits one of his photos to the local newspaper. Camron Thompson didn't limit himself to the basic posed team photos - he captured great action shots of teams and individuals. What a nice alternative to trophies!

Feedback from the judges included audio recordings in addition to score sheets. While some of comments were muffled, it was interesting to hear commentary in real time with the music. You can figure out exactly which formation or step the judge is referring to. I have no idea how you judges do so many things at once!

Thank you to the other teams for being so friendly and welcoming!

Wonderful event! Most things I would suggest for improvement are already being addressed with the expansion of the Florida Clogging Festival to two days next year. A dressing room for the clogging men would be a good addition, though.

Go ahead and mark your calendars to attend the next Florida Clogging Festival on February 10-11, 2018! This up-and-coming event promises to keep getting better! And it's already pretty awesome!

What clogging event are YOU attending next?