History of
The Florida State Square & Round Dance Conventions

The first Florida State Convention (Square and Folk Dance Festival) was held on April 10, 11 & 12, 1953 in Tampa.  Several national and international figures were present, including "Pappy" Lloyd Shaw, Doc Alumbaugh (founder of Winsor Records), the Chans of New York and Collettes of Atlanta (international figures in Folk and Round Dance), Ed Durlacher and Jimmy Clossin. Don & Marie Armstrong, nationally known caller and cuer, were General Chairman of the event.

The Florida Federation of Square Dancers was formed in November of 1957 with one of the reasons being the hope of bidding for a National Convention.  At that time it consisted of four associations; Southeast, formed in February of 1956, Northeast in January of 1957, Central, in February of 1957 and the West Coast in October of 1957.  Later in November of 1972 they were joined by the Northwest forming a federation of five associations.

In May of 1958 the 7th Florida State Convention at Miami Beach was a joint effort of the Florida Callers and the Federation.  The first six had been staged by the callers and they were turning it over to the dancers so they could gain the necessary experience to meet the requirements for bidding for a National Convention.  The first bid in Denver in 1959 was not successful as it was awarded to Detroit but the next year at Des Moines, Harry Moore and his host of friends and fellow workers were awarded the bid for 1962.

For the next nine years several formats for the convention were tried and in 1972 a plan came into operation that has proven quite successful for over 35 years.  With seed money and guidelines from a Coordinating Committee each association sponsored the convention in turn.  They appointed a dancer chairman assisted by a vice chairman from the callers and one from the cuers.  All of these were from within the association and must belong to their respective state organization.  They basically had full control of their actions under the guidelines from the Coordinating Committee.  The Coordinating Committee was composed of the immediate past chairman and vice chairmen, the current chairpersons and the chairpersons for the next three associations in line.  Thus there were three people from each of the five associations on the committee.

In 2008 the Coordinating Committee was disbanded.  The seed money was turned over to the Florida Federation of Square Dancers to administer.  The seed money is still funded by the Florida Callers Association, the Round Dance Council of Florida and the Florida Federation of Square Dancers.  The Guidelines are still maintained by the coordinated efforts of all three organizations and the conventions still use them in the planning of each convention.

Starting with the 2010 State Convention, the rotation of chairmen through the five associations ceased and the Convention Chairman is appointed by the President of the Florida Federation of Square Dancers from anywhere within the State of Florida.  With this change, the State Convention became a true State Convention.  The dancers that organize the convention each year come from all over the state.  They are no longer limited to one association.

Visit the Current Florida State Square Dance Convention Site

Webmaster Bruce Morgan