The Oregon Summer Festival, with its focus on dancing, takes place this weekend at CCMS

There’s gonna be a lot of whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ at Crook County Middle School, and it’s not because of noisy students.

From June 19 through 22, the Oregon Summer Festival comes to town, featuring callers from around the state and an expected 300 members of Oregon’s square dance clubs.

According to Festival Chair Dave Cooper, who is the cuer for the Crook County Mavericks, the festival is held every year in different parts of the state.

“There are 10 councils throughout the state and each council bids for the opportunity to host the festival,” said Cooper. “The last time the festival was held in Central Oregon was 2001.”

The event is hosted by local clubs Crook County Mavericks and the Redmond-based Redrock Squares.

For Cooper, the festival is all about people having fun, getting together and dancing, lots of dancing.

“Dancers will get a chance to see Prineville, eat in the restaurants and stay in the motels,” said Cooper. “A lot of people have never been here before so they will get a chance to go to a new area, meet new people and enjoy a new place.”

Local residents are invited to attend and will get an early chance to see the dancers in action on Friday, June 19 from 3:30 p.m. until 5 at the plaza adjacent to City Hall.

“That time is just to show residents what square dancing really is,” explained Cooper. “Many people think square dancing is hokey and they’ll find out it isn’t.”

Saturday will find participants taking part in, what Cooper calls, “Outhouse Races.”

“They are not real outhouses but they look like them,” he laughed.

Apparently, three-person teams compete in a timed-event, requiring each of them to enter the “outhouse,” close the door and search “in the hole” for scavenger items.

“People wear pajamas or dress up,” said Cooper. “It’s a real hoot.”

Cooper wants people to know, however, that the primary focus of the event is dancing.

Three halls at the middle school will be going nonstop, one for square dancing, one for rounds and a third for advanced dance teams.

“We will also have some choreographed ballroom dancing,” said Cooper. “There will be two step, waltz, fox trot and cha cha.”

Although most of the dance callers are Oregon-based, the festival always tries to find a caller that participants have not yet danced to.

Crook County High School NJROTC Master Chief Donny Jackson knew just the caller -- his brother-in-law, Bob Jones of Surprise, Ariz.

“We research him and talked to people who had danced to him,” said Cooper, who extended an invitation to Jones that was accepted.

Jones will be calling dances Friday evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Cooper invites all of Crook County to come out and watch. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday morning and dancing takes place all day.

On Thursday night, Central Oregon’s Lindy Gravelle will be in concert at the Crook County High School auditorium from 7 p.m. until 9. Doors open at 6:15 and tickets are $5 per person.

The Oregon Summer Festival takes place from June 19 through June 22 at the Crook County Middle School. For a complete schedule go to and click on the Oregon Summer Festival 2014 link.

The event will be live-streamed by Crook County High School’s NJROTC team via iHigh at

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