Annual Homemakers Club Hoedown is Sept. 16

Tucked away on a county road along the Green River, a former one-room schoolhouse sits stoic and dormant.

But come Sept. 16, the historic landmark will be filled with fiddle music, stomping feet and smiling faces, not to mention the smell of sloppy joes.

That's when the Brown Hole Homemakers Club hosts its annual hoedown at Lodore Hall in Browns Park.

The night begins at 5:30 p.m. with a homemade dinner of sloppy joes, salad, chips, soda, coffee and dessert. The dinner costs $5 per person.

Dancing begins at 7 p.m. as the John Wayne Band gets going.

Dottie Petrini-Kossar, treasurer for the Homemakers Club, said the band plays traditional country and Western music.

"We play the country Western from back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, none of this new stuff," she said. "That's part of the tradition for us old folks."

It's a tradition Petrini-Kossar said has been alive for decades, or as she says, "since the beginning of time."

The dances began in 1955. Back in those days, the parties got a bit wild.

"They wouldn't go home until the next morning, until they had to go home and do their chores," she said.

And while the dances nowadays may not be as crazy, Petrini-Kossar said those who attend are nearly guaranteed a good time.

"It's just good fun, good family fun and you get to reminisce a lot. And the music is just terrific," she said. "As long as someone wants to stay and dance, we keep the dance going."

Homemakers Club President Mara Molloy said the hoedown may be an old-fashioned event, but it's one that appeals to people of all ages.

"It's a family thing. It's not just for adults," Molloy said.

The club hosts the hoedown as well as other events each year at Lodore Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, to bring out the community, as well as to raise money for the club.

The club acts as the steward of the hall, maintaining the facility and updating it. The group recently finished a kitchen makeover at the former schoolhouse.

"We're doing our best. We're trying to keep it open with the old tradition as long as we can," Petrini-Kossar said. "We'd like to preserve it for the future and the children."

But with dwindling membership, Petrini-Kossar said that can be hard.

She said she hopes events like the hoedown will attract interest and new members.

Annual dues for the club are $10, plus $5 to be on the mailing list. The group meets once a month, but attendance is not mandatory. In fact, some members live in other states, Molloy said. For more information on the club or to get involved, call Petrini-Kossar at 272-3213.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 204, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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