KING CITY — Square dancing returns to the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City with the 39th Annual Winter Festival, bringing together all walks of life this weekend.
The Jan. 18-20 event is put together by Bob and Dena Baier, who are praised as “the backbone” of the event. Over the weekend, callers Tony Oxendine of South Carolina, Mike Seastrom from Los Angeles and Jet Roberts of Sacramento will call the steps for the dancers. All three callers, along with Bob Baier, are known throughout the world for calling steps for dancers.
“Square and round dancing are something that builds friendships, keeps people active and allows a break away from all the ‘technology’ we are all attached to in these times,” said Sharon Parker, square dancing teacher. “If I look around the room at the last event we worked, there were teachers, plumbers, nuclear physicists, mechanics, space engineers, stay-at-home moms and dads, students and more.”
Parker and her husband Casey have been teaching square and round dancing at the King City Winter Festival for more than 25 years. The duo began dancing as teenagers as part of a family activity and would dance together when their families attended various hoedowns.
From there, they started dating, and Parker says the rest is history.
The Parkers continued the calling and dancing tradition with their daughter, who is one of the younger callers in the square and round dancing activity. She is a third-generation caller and even received a scholarship for talking about how square dancing has influenced her life.
Throughout the weekend dancers learn and work on different types of square and round dancing and, according to Parker, there is a chance for the public to come watch the dancers Saturday evening during the opening ceremony.
“You would get to hear all the callers working together on stage for the first tip of the evening,” Parker said. “The callers each have their own hall they call in, but for the first tip on Saturday night, they are all together in the main hall.”