Door County Folk Festival
Get Your Foot In The Door!
Sister Bay, Ephraim & Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
Tel: (847)-846-8139, (773)-634-9381 -

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Door County Folk Festival
by Al Gladstone - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Reprinted with permission from the Ontario Folk Dance Association Newsletter
September 1, 1997 -


While chatting with Paul Collins at the home of Barbara Westhofen last winter after my work-shop with the Fox Valley Dancers in Appleton, WI, the tantalizing imagery of the Door County Folk Festival was too attractive to pass up.

So, July 10th Marilyn Wilcoxen and I drove to the Luddington [Michigan] Ferry to cross Lake Michigan (a smooth sailing of 4 hours with a lovely sunset), [to Manitowoc, WI] and a stay over at Green Bay. It was cherry picking time enroute and baskets of cherries, bottles of cherry wine, cider and cherry juice were for sale at roadside stands everywhere.

Sister Bay village is on the shores of the Door Peninsula on Lake Michigan, with a main street of family owned businesses - many decorated with North European folk design - and a restau-rant with a grass roof complete with goats grazing. We drove to the village hall where dancers from Manitoba, Oregon, Oklahoma, Utah and the neighbouring states were dancing to their hearts' content. A super greeting from Paul Collins and assurance of a place to stay had us joining in the merriment, dancing and socializing right away. The teaching alternated between the village halls of Sister Bay and the next village of Ephraim. Both halls have waterfront locations allowing a peaceful respite after a hot session of folk dance. During many sessions live bands Rakia and Spatter Dash played for the dancers, plus other talented folks contributed songs and dances during the "open mike" periods, adding to the fun.

The staff of 15, mostly dance specialists, in-cluded Joan Amsterdam (International Folk Rhythms) from Chicago, who brought her tapes, records, costumes and expertise. Forrest Johnson taught Papuri (Armenian); Kay Josten showed Knodeldrahner (German); Marge Sklar taught Idam, Na Idam (Bulgarian-Macedonian) and Das Lid Funem Tsighele (Romanian Yiddish); Paul Collins taught squares, rounds and contras; Penny Brichta taught Amen, Tgadigi, Gvanim, Ahavat Hadassa, Ya Abud (Israeli); Dan Garvin taught, Bielolitza Kruglolitza, Lebedushka (Russian), Hora de la Voitinel, Alunelul de Brau, Batucele (Romanian), Nestinarsko Horo (Bulgarian); Michael Kuharski taught Glavinishko Chetvorno Horo (Bulgarian), Kleftes (Greek), Gypsy Krsteno (Macedonian), Arkan (Ukrainian) and Devoilice (Kosovo-Albanian); Larry Hoey, taught Topansko (Macedonian), Zonaradikos (Greek);  Mary Garvin taught Raghupati, Pinjare Ke Panchhi and Sade Tan, [East Indian] dances which she learned from Hadassah, a highlight for me; Cindy Geiger taught Swing. 

Marilyn experienced a sudden leg infection but Gerhard's call to the local clinician at 9 p.m. and his taking us to the clinic got Marilyn the emergency care and relief she needed. Thanks to Diana, Paul and others who helped Marilyn. What a great community! Filled with fun, food (the fish boil was a visual and taste delight), dances, new friends, cherries, strawberries and enough medication to get us home, we picked up Barbara Westhofen and headed to Appleton to recuperate. A swim, an evening with the Fox Valley dancers, a good rest, hugs and kisses, a ferry ride and a scenic route back home.

'TIL next year!

Al Gladstone - Toronto, Ontario, Canada