Return to Hoedown Island, with a surprise...

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Fancy Free Cloggers made the trip to Natural Bridge State Park in Slade, KY for our annual cookout and featured night to perform at Hoedown Island!

This hidden treasure of the clogging world holds a fun dance every Saturday night during the season. Teams can contact Jane Bolin to volunteer for a performance date. We danced two short sets, each consisting of three songs. The rest of the night is a fun dance, including plenty of easy routines to get park visitors out on the floor, whether they normally dance or not.

My team looks forward to this every year, despite the long drive (approximately 3 hours for me and worth every mile). We schedule our Hoedown Island date around the same time each year and make a whole day of it, including a cookout and birthday celebration for teammate Dustin! 

This year, the day started out rough. Early morning phone calls spread the news that our fearless leader was ill and unable to attend! A moving line routine was scratched and replaced with something else. Two dances required modification, and plans were devised for other teammates to fill Evie's spot in each one.

That settled, it was on to the cookout!

Our team baker outdid herself AGAIN with an awesome cake for the occasion. It was every bit as tasty as it looks. Thanks, Molly!

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Bob and Matt handled the grill. We fully appreciate their cooking skills! With everyone bringing food to share, we ate a wonderful meal. Bob found time to follow Jim's excellent example of relaxation when Matt was on duty.

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Part of our group hit the skylift and trails. My BFF is recovering from a knee injury, so we stayed at the cookout site. As a non-dancer (apart from Electric Slide and the Chicken Dance - she rocks those), she still has a blast at Hoedown Island! Next year, she should be back on the dance floor for her two routines.

This is about the time a few of us discovered a "surprise" was headed our way...

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Public Service Announcement: If something is supposed to be a surprise, don't post it on social media! Cell service is rare at the park. The birthday boy ended up with one bar of intermittent service and received notification that a special someone was on his way to Hoedown Island. Dustin commented on this and was immediately shushed by the one person at the cookout in on the surprise. I believe the only ones who heard are seated at the table in this pic...

We soon got our surprise! Jordan, a teammate who moved away, showed up at the cookout! Jordan was in cahoots with Evie and teammate Rose Marie for over a month to plan this. It was even more special because Hoedown Island was the first event Jordan attended when he started dancing with FFC.

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After a mad dash of hugs and catching up with Jordan, we cleaned up our picnic site and headed to Hoedown Island.

What can I say? Fun dances are fun!

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Forget Jagger - we should all aspire to have the moves like Jim!

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Our sets went well, especially considering the last-minute changes. Of course, we danced a hoedown at Hoedown Island! 

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Dustin tried to garner extra cheers for his side in "Dueling Banjos" by reminding the crowd of his birthday. It didn't work, ha-ha! Each side of the bleachers cheered enthusiastically for their dancers until 94-year-old Jim charged up the middle and showed us all up!

Don't know any fun dances? No problem! Jane teaches easy mixers so everyone can get up and dance. For the line dance, waltz, or two-step routines, find one of the regulars and follow along until you pick it up! 

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There is no judgment on that dance floor, one of the reasons I love it. Follow Jane, Terry, Ally, graceful-ballroom-dance-guy (don't know his name, but he is a joy to watch), or anybody else who looks like they know what they're doing.

Thank you for a fun night, Hoedown Island! FFC will be back next year!

Have YOU been to Hoedown Island? What's your favorite fun dance to do there?

If you want to experience Hoedown Island this year, I suggest making the trip on Friday, August 18, 2017. Jane is hosting a special dance with proceeds going to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. Children 12 and under are free, admission is $3 for everyone else. Warm-up dances start at 6:30. Explore the park and dance for a good cause!