It was a great gathering this year! Thanks to everyone who attended and traveled to Portland to make this year a great one!
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Dive for the oyster! Dig for the clam! Shoot the hole in the old tin can!" Amy Hofer's square dancing calls might sound like nonsense out of context, but in the midst of the dance Thursday night it was good, old-fashioned tradition.
The dance was part of the Old Time Music Gathering, an annual five-day festival that celebrates traditional Appalachian music and culture. Events started Wednesday and are scheduled through Sunday evening. With fiddles screaming and boots stomping Thursday night, people swung around the floor of Velo Cult, a bike shop and bar in Northeast Portland, feet moving swifter as the music played faster.
Although music and dancing are the primary focus of the gathering – The Flat Rock String Band played a great set Thursday night, followed by Caroline Oakley and the Old Time Highway – people come for the overall experience.
"It's like bringing back tradition, but bringing it back in a fresh new way," said Janelle Bickford, a 31-year-old from North Portland. She's started going to square dances five or six years ago, and once she started she was hooked, she said. "I feel like it's a way of life for our community here."
A communal warmth flowed through the room as more people joined in. Dancers ranged from the pint-sized toddler in pink to the old couple in dark flannels and jeans. Regardless of age or experience, everyone danced together, leaving old partners for new, short for tall, women for men, swinging around through the crowd and back to the start.
"It's a community feel, it's a good vibe," said Aaron Guffey. The 37-year-old started square dancing about six years back, where he met Janelle. The two are now roommates and dance partners who move together like old pros. And while they dance together in other styles, they said they love the simplicity and tradition of the square dance. "Square dancing is very approachable," he said. "It's a lot easier to get into this kind of dance than it is to get into anything else."