By Kris Rued-Clark
MARSHFIELD — Describing square dancing as “friendship set to music,” members of the Marshfield Hoedowners Square Dancing Club welcome new members at any time. January, however, is the best time to visit, as the Marshfield Hoedowners host an annual open house along with two weeks of free instructions.
This year’s open house is Wednesday, Jan. 21, with free dance instruction offered on that day and on Wednesday, Jan. 28. Visitors may watch square dancers, talk with current members, and give square dancing a try with easy-to-follow instructions.
“This is one of the bigger clubs in Wisconsin,” said Beverly Dittner, whose husband John has been calling for the club’s weekly sessions for over 50 years. Generally 50 to 70 members attend on any given week.
“John will call three different levels from beginner up to plus calls,” Beverly added. “That probably has something do to with the size of this club.”
Beverly said that square dancing appeals to a broad spectrum of people, both in age and backgrounds.
“Our kids all square danced when they were younger. We had the whole family going. It’s just enjoyable,” said Beverly.
Arlene and Larry Weinfurter have belonged to the club since 1978. “We’ve square danced for 45 years,” says Arlene.
As Larry served in the Navy, they traveled extensively.
“We danced wherever we went. That’s how we got to meet people. Square dancing is fun. We really enjoy it, and the people are so nice. Plus, we have a wonderful caller in this club,” Arlene said.
Butch Schmitt, who has belonged to the Marshfield Hoedowners for many years, said square dancing is good exercise for the mind and body.
“I met a lot of nice people through square dancing and made a lot of nice friends that I would have never met if not for square dancing. Every walk of life is represented out there, and we’re all having fun,” said Schmitt, who started square dancing 51 years ago.
Dress is casual. Some women still prefer the full skirts and frilly petticoats that many people associate with square dancers. Others wear jeans or simple skirts. Everyone is welcome, singles and partners alike.
Many couples consider square dancing to be their date night. As women tend to outnumber men, it is not unusual for single women to learn both the woman’s and the man’s parts so that they never need to sit out a dance due to lack of male partners.
Members range in age from pre-teen through their 80s. The club hosts many special events during the year, including a real barn dance, a group campout, themed events, and a potluck dinner the first Wednesday of every month.
The Marshfield Hoedowners Square Dancing Club meets almost every Wednesday evening from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Municipal Building, 10905 Falcon Road, Marshfield. Drive west of Marshfield on County Highway H for about four miles, and turn left on Falcon Road, just past the Marshfield Speedway race track. The Lincoln Town Hall is about one mile south of Falcon Road, on the right (west) side of the road.
Those interested in joining the Marshfield Hoedowners should contact Cindy and Terry Prust by calling 715-659-4692 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.