If the breeze picks up and the earth rolls under your feet a bit this weekend, don't worry. It is just an expected 300 square dancers swirling and twirling, stomping and kicking up their heels in the 28th annual Rim Country Square and Round Dance Festival.
Dancers are coming from throughout the state, New Mexico, California and elsewhere to participate in the festival sponsored by the Zane Grey Twirlers June 13 and June 14 at the Tonto Apache Recreation Center.
Special guests for the festival are internationally known caller Jerry Story and cuers Ronnie and Bonnie Bond.
Mayor Kenny Evans will give a welcoming and thank you message prior to the finale Saturday night.
The activities start at 7 p.m., Friday, June 13 with cuers Ronnie and Bonnie Bond getting the dancers warmed up with pre-rounds. Mainstream and plus square dancing starts at 8 p.m., with Jerry Story calling the moves.
Festival participants have a pancake and sausage breakfast at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, June 14, followed by a welcome dance with guest callers and cuers.
Participants then have a round dance workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a square dance workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
More pre-rounds start the finale at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 14, followed by a grand march by all the dancers at 7:45 p.m.
Mayor Evans will then address the participants at 8 p.m., followed by more mainstream and plus square dancing.
The public is invited to watch the dancing at no charge.
It takes the Zane Grey Twirlers club at least a year to prepare for each festival, not including lining up the callers and cuers for the event. "It takes about three years in advance to schedule someone like Jerry Story," said Jean Winfrey, club president.
The year of work involves getting area businesses and services to buy sponsorships in the dance program. That task is shared by the club membership under the direction of the festival chairmen -- this year the chairs are Ken and Ronda Caldwell and Neil and Elizabeth Burke.
"We couldn't put the festival on without the great support of the area's businesses," Winfrey said.
The story on Jerry Story
Story began calling square dances when he was only 14, living in Fairfield, Iowa. He took his calling skills on the road throughout the 1970s, primarily working in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
The late 1970s saw him traveling the country, calling dances and festivals and moving into the international field.
He has been co-owner of Royal Records since 1985 and has numerous hit records to his credit.
He and his wife, Kristy, have two children, Joshua and Jacob, and split their time between Mission, Texas and Maggie Valley, N.C.
A bit on the Bonds
Ronnie and Bonnie Bond are originally from Albuquerque, N.M. and have been round and square dancing for 20 years. Now they spend winters in Tucson and summers in Show Low, when they are not on the road cuing round dances.
The couple is building a log home in Show Low, where they hope to one day retire. Free time is spent seeing family and bird watching.
While it is too late to register to participate in the big festival this weekend, wait a few weeks and you can join the Zane Grey Twirlers at their regular dances, which are held at 7 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month at the Pine Community Center's cultural center, 3872 N. Highway 87 in Pine.
The schedule for the 2008-2009 season:
Aug. 2, Dennis Farrar calling; Aug. 16, Randy Dougherty calling
Sept. 6, Seth Levine; Sept. 20, Rick Gittelman
Oct. 4, Elmer Claycomb; Oct. 18, Dick Grisham
Nov. 1, Ron Raymond; Nov. 15, Bob Jones
Dec. 6, Randy Dougherty; Dec. 20, no dance
Jan. 3, Elmer Claycomb; Jan. 17, Seth Levine
Feb. 7, Stephen Cole; Feb. 21, no dance
March 7, Don Spurgin; March 21, Dick Grisham
April 4, Rick Gittelman; April 18, Allan Carpenter
May 2, Dennis Farrar; May 16, Jim Randall
The 2009 Rim Country Square and Round Dance Festival will be June 12 and June 13 and feature Mike Hogan calling the dancers and Annie Brownrigg cuing the round dances. The 30th anniversary of the festival will be June 11 and June 12 with Mike Seastrom, caller, and Barb Lopez, cuer. The festival planned for 2011 will be June 10 and June 11 with Joe Saltel, caller and Steve and Lori Harris, cuers.
To learn more about the Zane Grey Twirlers, their regular schedule of events and registering for upcoming festivals, visit the Web site www.zanegreytwirlers.org.