Clogging, then fair food! (Don't try it the other way around.) After eight workshop classes, I searched the Osceola County Fair for the perfect snack before settling in to watch Florida Clogging Festival's clogging competition.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The world has officially run out of things to fry.
If anyone tried this and lived to tell the tale, please tell me about it. I'm not convinced of the edibility of fried bubble gum...
However, deep fried cheese curds from Wisconsin are absolutely delicious when consumed in Florida! Workshop instructor Kyle Kirkland did not steer me wrong with his recommendation of this treat.
Complete with ranch dressing for dipping! I'll be looking for this item at some of the Ohio festivals this year.
Meanwhile, my fearless leader prepared to serve as an apprentice judge for the clogging competition. Doesn't she look fashionably judgy? The outfit was a last-minute find on our ride from the airport to the lovely home of Evie's niece.
Competition dancers had TWO extra sets of eyes watching them from the judges' tables; Kaitlyn Hedrick joined my director Evie for the training. Their scores did not count, but they filled out paperwork all the same. Look at them, working hard while Paul Melville calls out solo numbers!
It sure felt different to be casually watching a competition instead of keeping close tabs on the schedule and gearing up for my team's next routine. I thoroughly enjoyed the sass that South Florida Cloggers brought to this dance and another one I got to watch ("Georgia Peaches," maybe?). Great job, ladies!
Florida Clogging Connection stayed busy all day! According to the program, they brought at least 13 team dances in various age categories, plus solos and duets. (Even more if they brought an acapella team dance - I wasn't present for that category, and acapella teams weren't named in the program.) This pic shows one of their hoedowns.
I snagged a seat among this spirited group for part of the competition. It was a good spot to snap photos of Evie and Kaitlyn judging. I enjoyed the opportunity to briefly chat with clogger Summer and her mother Sherri, who answered questions and provided photos for a previous blog post about the Miss Southeastern Clogger Pageant. It was great to see Maureen as well - she contributed to a post last year about her team's trip to New York for a dance parade. Maureen was stinkin' cute in a baseball costume for one of Clogging Connection's dances. Would've loved to talk longer, but they had a lot to do during the competition.
Buckshot Cloggers filled the stage. I admired them last year, and they brought it again. What a fun group to watch!
Have you thanked the team parents and friends who video and take photos lately? Buckshot Cloggers win my vote for best video crew at the Florida Clogging Festival. They didn't even fight amongst themselves; each person found a spot and started filming. When their team was done, they dispersed quickly to make room for others. Those Buckshot folks are pros.
Southern Rhythm competed two running set precisions. Even after a long day of competition, they managed to make it look fun. I want to try a running set dance one of these days!
Pure Dynamics brought the adorable factor, including this hoedown in the elementary age division.
Grayson Extreme stepped out of a sparkly forest for this routine!
Whew! Glad I have something good to say because a team from Extreme Dance and Mixed Martial Arts Studio could probably kick my butt and stay on beat at the same time. First, their circus costumes are fabulous! Second, I heard a rumor that the Florida Clogging Festival was the first clogging competition ever for some of their dancers, and the first time competing in clogging solos for many of their dancers. Congrats for having the guts to take that step!
If you are wondering why the photos include sugar skulls, this is the back of the festival tee shirt. Unique design, I love it!
It's uncanny how much this woman looks like the grandmother of my former clogging teammate! Grandma Jean, do you have a sister in Florida?!
The competition venue had some wonderful features, including a toddler play area and 4H displays to peruse when you needed a break. Brianna and I declared "Mooana" to be our favorite entry in this category, and Brianna decided to moo along with her!
Uh-oh, the camels have it figured out. Wonder how many fairgoers still lost their cups...
My favorite entry in the recycled art contest.
The man in front of me was cracking jokes about how inappropriate it was for a man in the adjacent aisle to be eating a giant turkey leg while walking through this tent. He has a point.
Do you think they're related?
The rides look so pretty at night!
THANK YOU to Andy Howard and other event organizers for a wonderful day of clogging!
Interested in attending the Florida Clogging Festival next year? Join the Florida Clogging Festival group on Facebook to keep up with planning info or contact Andy Howard.
What's the craziest fried food item YOU'VE ever eaten?