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Dance the night away at the 'Hometown Hootenanny'


August 4, 2022

WORLAND — Grab your partner and your dancing shoes and come out Saturday night to the “Hometown Hootenanny” at the Worland Community Center.

The event is a hosted by the Washakie Museum & Cultural Center and the Community Center in a joint partnership.

Museum Executive Director Marian Bender said, “The Hometown Hootenanny will provide the larger Worland community with a unique and inexpensive activity that offers entertainment, mental and physical fitness, as well as fellowship. Square dancing, no matter the style, is a uniquely American dance and although it never truly left the American imagination, it has become more difficult to keep it alive in rural areas, where callers and square dance clubs are in short supply. Our hope is to revive interest in dance style and introduce it to younger generations, the majority of whom have not had the opportunity to participate in a square dance. Caller Stephen Lassiter is known for encouraging audience participation and getting lots of dancers out on the floor, so we are hoping this will be a fun, lively experience that folks will talk about all year. A summer square dance event has proven successful in Dubois, a similar small town, and we hope to duplicate that success in Worland and the Big Horn Basin.”

Museum Curator Stefanie Kowalczyk said they were brainstorming community ideas.

“We wanted a summer event that was fun and different and a dance fit both of those bills,” she said.

She said street dances are pretty popular in other communities including Ten Sleep and Meeteetse but Worland does not have one.

The hope, she said is the square dancing will bring some nostalgic memories for older residents and might be something new for the younger generation to try.

The hardest part in organizing the event is finding a square dance caller, but they found one in Stephen Lassiter. Kowalczyk said Lassiter came to the museum to teach the staff square dancing so staff members would be better equipped to describe the event to interested callers and visitors.

She noted that she was the only staff member familiar with square dancing having learned while living in Dubois.

“You don’t have to have an innate sense of rhythm, you can square dance if you can follow instructions.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with socializing. There will food vendors for dinner (American Legion) and dessert (Business Retail Committee). There will be alcoholic (Goose’s Liquor) and non-alcoholic drinks for sale.

Square dancing begins at 6 and run until 8 p.m.

The Hootenanny switches gears to the Terry Waugh band that plays upbeat, dance-friendly country blues music with a wide variety of rhythms and styles.

The event will wrap up no later than 11 p.m.

“Come out and try it. We want people to have fun and we hope it will grow into something bigger each year,” Koswolski said.

There is a cover charge for the event.


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