Nearly 50 years after its first meeting on March 23, 1964, the Lakeshore Squares dance club has lots of new faces but is still dancing strong.
The club celebrated its golden anniversary Saturday night with a dance at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville.
“I think it’s an honor to be co-president of the club on the 50th anniversary,” said Angie McClure. She and her husband, Louis McClure have been co-presidents for two years and members for four.
“Tonight, we’re excited. I think it’s a major milestone and we’re using gold as our theme. We have such a great team of officers who want to help keep square dancing alive and successful. They keep the group motivated.”
She said some dancers came from as far as North Carolina and South Carolina to attend.
Louis said their have been “a few additions” to calls and dances during a normal square dance routine, but most everything has stayed the same as it was in the beginning.
Along with two other clubs, the squares were part of the original group that made up the Northeast Georgia Federation.
“There’s wonderful people in this club,” Paula Allen said. “It’s a fun experience that everyone should try. I think it’s great for the whole family. Our daughter even danced when she was like 17.”
At its peak, the club included 126 members.
“As far as the 50th anniversary goes, this is great,” said Don Griffiths, an 18-year member of the club. “Fifty years is a long time. ... This is great exercise. I would recommend it to anybody.
“You meet a lot of good people. There’s nobody more honest than square dancers. We’ve been to conventions where people have lost credit cards. They make the announcement and someone finds it. So, it’s great. It’s a lot of fun.”
Griffiths said he went to an exhibition to see what the dancing was all about. Once he saw it, he wanted to try it.
“Once you try it, you get hooked,” he said.
Jim Duncan started dancing in 1976 and is a veteran caller . He said the club is a fun one to call for.
“It’s been a great club. It’s a big club. It’s an active club. It’s a fun club,” he said. “It’s an easy club to call for because they all dance like they enjoy it. That’s the best thing about it. It’s one of the best ways to have fun and it cost a lot less than a movie, and you can get two hours of fun out of it.
“Gainesville is a big place and this square dance thing, sometimes people say ‘Well, I don’t really want to do it.’ Once people get into it, they find that they really enjoy it, because it’s not the old barn dance hoedown anymore, although, there’s still some of that music.”
Duncan explained that it’s the people in the club that keep it going and that some clubs have folded.
“The continuity that this club has had is excellent,” he said. “That’s what keeps any club going is the leadership. Being president of any square dance club isn’t easy. It’s a difficult thing.
“Rarely do you see a club that No. 1 they have interest in each other. They have to have interest in the community and then the dancing part is on top, and that makes this (club) good.”
McClure said the club is getting ready to put in a bid to bring the National Square Dance Convention to Atlanta in 2019.
“We’re really excited about putting in a bid because Atlanta has never hosted it before,” she said.