Come out of your shell at Hoedown Island! (Part ONE)

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Even without our fearless leader, the show went on for Fancy Free Cloggers at Hoedown Island this June. (Don’t feel bad for Evie; she was vacationing at the beach!) We trekked to Natural Bridge State Park (Slade, KY) for a cookout followed by a night of dancing.

At the time of this posting, YOU STILL HAVE TIME to attend a Hoedown Island event in 2018! Dances are held every Saturday night during the season. Final dance this year is the Halloween Dance on Saturday, October 20. (Warm-up starts at 6:30, regular program at 7:30. Admission is only $3.00; FREE for kids 12 and under.)

The BFF and I made a whole weekend trip out of it this year, exploring many of the places we usually just drive past on the way.

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THIS. This is my new must-do for future visits to Natural Bridge. A sign near the door of Ye Ole Country Peddler celebrates 45 years in business. Easy to believe, because they serve up the best fudge in the world! How good is it?

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It’s I-caught-Suzi-sneaking-a-piece-before-breakfast good!

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In addition to fudge, the Peddler houses a staggering variety of Christmas village/nativity scene sets and pieces for sale. This was unexpected and impressive! We enjoyed browsing and choosing favorites.

As a lazy holiday decorator, I appreciate the versatility of this Christmas Easter bunny; it covers both winter and spring!

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Who knew? The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is one of the few facilities in the United States which milks poisonous snakes for use in antivenom production. And they give tours!

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Suzi and I lucked into a private tour, since no one else was waiting. A college student doing a summer internship at the facility took us through small buildings housing different types of snakes. This specimen lives in the “poisonous” house and was apparently in a bad mood.

Not surprisingly, the poisonous house is the most impressive, but I paid close attention in the house of local snakes as well (Higher chance of running into one of those out in the wild, you know!).

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Turtles seem to be a common theme for any FFC trip to Hoedown Island. We chatted with a worker digging in an outdoor pen to collect turtle eggs. He tracked us down when he was finished to show off a full haul of fresh eggs!

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This particular weekend featured a bonus dance Friday night at Hoedown Island to raise money for the American Alzheimer’s Association.

What happens when cloggers get together to support a cause and the weather refuses to cooperate?

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Spectators move to the sheltered area, and we dance in the rain!

These cloggers showed admirable spirit as they refused to allow a little pesky precipitation to ruin the evening.

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The weather eventually cleared up (Perhaps our cloggers discovered an anti-rain dance?), and the fun continued with cloggers of all ages taking a turn around the dance floor.

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As always, you can watch Hoedown Island “regulars” like Terry and Ally to learn the steps. They know ALL the routines!

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Bethany (from Southern Sole Cloggers) and Deanna helped me learn (or relearn) dances all evening. Thanks, ladies!

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Event organizer Jane Bolin (far left) found time to join in the dancing when she wasn’t on microphone duty.

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The Virginia reel doesn’t require specific footwork; it provides a great opportunity for new dancers to be part of the group!

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The group learned several figures at once and tried to put them together. These circles are doing a lovely job with the basket!

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I tried in vain to win a cakewalk. (Not so easy, my friends!)

Kudos to Jane and to all the participants in the Alzheimer’s Hoedown Island Dance for a Cure! I didn’t hear a final total on money raised, but the turnout was impressive for a rainy Friday night.

If you stay at the Lodge, be warned that the bar closes early. Suzi and I received an appetizer coupon when we checked in and figured we would use it for a snack after the Friday night dance. Nope! Everything was closed up by then. We were forced to eat more fudge instead…

Saturday’s Hoedown Island adventures will be covered in the next post. (That’s when the rest of Fancy Free Cloggers arrived.)

If you can’t make it to a dance this season, I suggest you plan a trip to Slade, KY for at least one of the Hoedown Island dances in 2019!

Have YOU danced at Hoedown Island?

What’s your favorite routine to dance there?

Did turtles factor into the trip somehow?