If you love to contra dance, come join the fun on the first Saturday of the month at Lay Park on Hoyt Street in Athens. We have live music, mostly with local bands, and callers who love the large space and high energy of the dancers.
We have wonderful acoustics due to the hard work of our sound man, Josh McKay, who makes a gym with capacity exceeding 150 dancers sound more like a local music hall. An added bonus of all the space is that we can spread out and dance long sets as well as short ones.
Admission is only $8 for adults, $7 for students with ID, and $5 for children under 15 years old. The dance starts at 7:30 and ends at 10:30 pm. The dances are taught and called while the musicians fiddle and strum and provide the beat for the dancers. We offer an introductory lesson at 7:15 which is for new dancers or folks looking for a refresher course. For those who would prefer to sit in the bleachers at the back of the dance hall and enjoy the music and dancing from higher up, your price of admission grants you the right to not dance (although most of us prefer to be as active as possible).
Come as a single, with a partner or in a group of friends or relatives. We switch partners throughout the evening and we do not require gender balance between “leads” and “follows”. Young, old, tall, short, long-time dancer or new to contra? After the first few dances of the evening, you will have a basic dance vocabulary for contras, squares or circle dances. By the time you reach the break, you will REALLY enjoy the fresh home-baked goodies and snacks. And then you can burn off the calories in the second half of the evening!
Dancing shoes with non-marking soft soles are preferred. No high heels or boots with heels are permitted. Please bring your shoes with you and change at the gym. We greatly enjoy a clean floor for contra dancing.
Saturday, January 4th:
Band: Green Flag Band (with Carl Rapp, fiddle; Dave Coons, banjo, guitar; Ken Ross, accordion; Antoon Speters, guitar; Julia McDermott, hammered dulcimer)
Caller: Rob Harper
Sound: Josh McKay
Saturday, February 1st:
Band: Cattywampas (with Tim Cape, fiddle; Jan, fiddle; Scott Russell, guitar; Pete Senkowski, bass)
Caller: Deena Kushner and Stuart Whipple
Saturday, March 1st:
Band: String Theory (with Dale Wechsler, fiddle; Tommy Jordan, guitar; Dick Daniels, bass, mandolin; Antoon Speters, banjo)
Caller: Beverly Smith
Saturday, April 5th:
Band: Clemson Contra Band (with Andrew Levin, keyboard; Clemson students, various instruments)
Caller: Deena Kushner
Saturday, May 3rd:
Band: Beverly Smith and friends; (Beverly Smith, fiddle; John Grimes, fiddle; Nancy Hartness, guitar; Charlie Hartness, ukelele)
Caller: Jennie Wakefield
Lay Park, 592 Hoyt Street, Athens, GA
(next to the Lyndon House Art Center)
Directions from US 441 S: continue straight under Loop 10 By-Pass into downtown Athens. Turn right at the traffic light at College Avenue. Stay on College Avenue under the railroad trestle and turn left onto Hoyt Street (following signs to the Lyndon House Art Center). Lay Park gym is up the stairs to the left at the last parking lot on Hoyt Street (just past Jackson Street).
Directions from North Avenue: Stay on North Avenue which changes its name to Dougherty Street after it crosses the river. Just past the Foundry Park Inn and Melting Point, turn right onto Jackson Street. At the end of Jackson Street turn right into the Lay Park parking lot. The gym is up the steps.
Directions from Atlanta: Take Loop 10 to either the Commerce Road exit and follow the directions from US-441 S or take the North Avenue exit and come into town on North Avenue/Dougherty Street.
Parking: For additional parking, follow the signs to Lyndon House Art Center parking lot. It is located behind Lyndon House and connects to the Lay Park gym. There is additional public parking accessed from
Jackson Street across from Hotel Indigo.