The NC Folk, Round & Square Dance Federation
State Square Dance Convention
The NC Folk Dance Federation was organized in Winston-Salem, NC in November of 1951. The first quarterly meeting of the Federation was held in Greensboro, NC in March of 1952. In 1963, the name of the federation was changed to the Folk and Square Dance Federation of North Carolina and, in 1981, the name was changed to the current Folk, Round, and Square Dance Federation of NC.
In February of 1959, former Federation president, Garland King, was asked to chair a committee to study the feasibility of the Federation hosting a state festival, to be held in addition to the four quarterly meetings. Past president King reported the results of the study at the May 1959 quarterly meeting. The first Tar Heel Square-Up was held in Durham, NC in March of 1960 with Garland King as the first Tar Heel Square-Up chairman.
The Square-Up would continue to be held, primarily at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. The Square-Up was moved to Hickory, NC and then back to Winston-Salem for the 38th Square-Up in May of 1997 before it was discontinued in 1998.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s there was some informal discussion concerning the need for a state convention. Many dancers regarded the Square-Up as an existing convention, even though there were few activities that would normally be associated with such an event.
As the Square-Up (which up until the mid 1980’s had seen its attendance numbers in excess of 2000 dancers each year) saw those numbers in severe decline, discussion of a state convention became more widespread and organized.
In 1989 dancers voted to organize a state convention. Ralph and Mary Ann Kornegay were asked to chair the first convention.
The 1st North Carolina Folk, Round, And Square Dance Federation State Convention was held May 1990 in Wilmington. The first year there were 627 dancers, 76 staff callers/cuers and spouses, and 17 VIP’s, (Hall of Fame, Golden Slipper, Legacy, and special guests) for a total of 763.
The first convention set the stage for future events with many of the activities one would expect at a convention, as well as some that one would not expect, such as a dance on the Battleship NC. The usual and expected good things and problems were experienced.
The 2nd State Convention was also held in Wilmington with a total attendance of 637. This number was lower than the first year and organizers felt that lack of sufficient space impacted the decision of many dancers who did not return.
The 3rd State Convention in 1992 was moved to the Charlotte Convention Center. This provided the convention with increased space and in 1996 the convention was moved to the new Charlotte Convention Center as a test in preparation for the 47th National Square Dance Convention which was to be held in June 1998.
In 1997 the state convention was moved to the North Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, NC where it remains at the present time.
In 2006 the Decoration Committee Chair had the first Western theme and continued with different themes each year. 2007 brought a Luau, a 50’s theme followed in 2008, a Salute to the Troops in 2009, a Mardi Gras in 2010 and another Western theme in 2011. The decoration Committee Chair changed in 2012 but the themes continued with a Viva Las Vegas theme that year. Square Dancing with the Stars is the planned theme for 2013.
The NC Folk, Round, & Square Dance Federation State Square Dance Convention has a well-rounded Convention with Mainstream, Plus, Intro to Plus, DBD Plus, Plus DBD Workshop, High Energy Mainstream, Advance, Intro to Advance, Into to Hexagon, Round Dancing, Round Dance Workshop, Line Dancing, Line Dance Workshop, Intro to Contra, Insurance Seminar, Sewing Clinic, Fashion Show, Education Seminar, and a Parade of Clubs. In addition, there are after parties at 10:30 pm both Friday and Saturday nights.
There are now 22 Committee Chairs and they volunteer their time and talent to make the NC State Convention the best it can be.