The Northwest Florida Square and Round Dance Association

History of the NWFSARDA

The need for an association was recognized by several Northwest Florida dancers in June 1974 while attending the National Convention in San Antonio, Texas.  The Florida "Showcase of Ideas" display depicted the total absence of square dancing in NW Florida, which, of course, was simply not true.  The problem was that we were organized by club and /or local councils and were autonomous without a central organization to represent us at State and National levels.

After some preliminary investigation including compilation of the first directory of NW Florida clubs, a meeting was held on October 12, 1974, in Ft. Walton Beach at the home of Joe and Doris Vaccari to discuss the feasibility of forming an association.  In attendance were representatives from Pensacola, Panama City, Crestview and Ft. Walton Beach.  It was apparent to the group that many benefits could accrue from an association.  The group decided to call an organizational meeting for late November and invite representatives from all clubs and councils in NW Florida.  A committee was formed consisting of Chester and Bettye Price, Marvin and Olena Taylor, George and Mary Bowie and Joe and Doris Vaccari to draft a constitution and by-laws.

The organizational meeting was held on November 24, 1974 at Bayside Recreational Center, Panama City, Florida -- hosted by George and Mary Bowie.  Thirty-five people attended representing all known clubs and councils except one.  The constitution/by-laws were adopted and officers elected. 

President Joe & Doris Vaccari Ft. Walton Beach
1st Vice President George & Mary Bowie Panama City
2nd Vice President Marvin & Olena Taylor Pensacola
Recording Secretary Bill  & Larry Childress Panama City
Corresponding Secretary * Elaine Engram (Temporary) Chipley
Treasurer Marvin Engram Chipley

*  Marty Lackey subsequently elected

The organizational meeting set the stage for the association to start work to serve the clubs and to further the growth of the activity.

The work of the association began in earnest in 1975.  The first regular meeting was held on January 25, 195, in conjunction with the 17th annual Panama City Festival.
Representatives from 17 Clubs attended.
Major accomplishments were:

1. Association objectives of service adopted
2. Association badge selected
3. Applied for State Federation membership/delegates elected
4. Decided to publish a newsletter
5. Committee chairmen appointed (membership, caller liaison, etc.)

The second meeting was held on March 16, 1975 in Pensacola in conjunction with the Swingsters Special Dance and Fish Fry
Dance was called by members of the newly formed NW Florida Callers Association, "Hoss" Waldorf, President.
We had 19 clubs in our association.

Other meetings were held in Tallahassee, Elks Club, in conjunction with the Capitol Squares' 13th Annual Cotillion on May 8, 1975.
A Buffet dinner was served.
In Valparaiso on July 19, 1975, in conjunction with the Castoffs' 3rd annual Bob Poyner Jamboree, a free luncheon was provided.
In Panama City on September 13, 1975, in conjunction with the 1st Annual Roundup and in Chipley on November 22, 1975
in conjunction with the Panhandle Promenaders Fall Ball.

Many other significant events occurred in 1975 including:

1. The first newsletter was published on February 19, 1975.  Issuers were made every other month.  Editor, Doris Vaccari
2. The Association became part of the State Federation.  Our membership completed the unification of the entire state.  Our first delegates were George & Mary Bowie, Marvin & Olena Taylor, Paul & Evalyn Smith and Joe & Doris Vaccari
3. The association banner was delivered.  It was made in the Philippines and obtained by Roscoe and Charlotte Hall
4. State charter granted as a non-profit corporation
5. An Accident/medical insurance program approved
6. Same officers elected for another year
7. The first annual roundup was led on September 13, 1975 at eh old Ranch House, Panama City.  Johnny Walters on squares and Kent Bartlett on rounds.  Attendance -- approximately 300 dancers

Many significant events took place in 1976 which set the future course of the association.
With the original officers having served one term and re-elected for another, the needs of the association became more apparent.
Some of the major accomplishments were:

1. An accident/medical insurance program was implemented.  Fred & Leslie Joyner were appointed coordinators
2. The Newsletter became a monthly publication.  A contest was held to name the publication and Rosemary Franklin submitted the winner -- "Panhandle Press".  A special events calendar was started to help clubs prevent scheduling conflicts
3. The association held its 2nd Annual Roundup on September 10-11, 1976.  This was a major event celebrating the nation's Bi-Centennial.  A pageant was presented by approximately 100 dancers in period costumes depicting the history of our Country thru dance.  The event was held and co-sponsored by Okaloosa-Walton Junior College.  Over 300 dancers attended plus hundreds of spectators.  Caller was Roger Chapman -- Cuer was Kit Waldorf.  Members of the NW Florida Callers called the trail-in dance.  General Chairman was John Lackey.
4. The educational library was started and material made available to anyone needing information.  Mary Lackey was appointed librarian. 
5. The NW Association took a more active role in the State Federation with Joe & Doris Vaccari elected to the board.  The State Convention Motto -- "Dancing Feet to the '76 Beat".

As a new organization, meetings during 1976 were held every other month -- in Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Valparaiso, Niceville and Chipley.
All meetings were held at a special dance hosted by a member club.  Membership as of the April 1976 meeting stood at 20 clubs.

At the election held at the Roundup, the following officers were elected for 1977:

President Marvin & Olena Taylor Pensacola
1st Vice President Marvin & Elaine Engram Chipley
2nd Vice President Jerry & Theresa Fowler Mary Esther
Recording Secretary Janette & Grady Rae Tallahassee
Corresponding Secretary Charlotte & Roscoe Hall Panama City
Treasurer Bill  & Larry Childress Panama City

Although much was accomplished, perhaps most importantly, the previously autonomous clubs were now united and working together for the benefit of all.

The work to build a strong association continued with the new board in 1997 under the leadership of its President, Marvin and Olena Taylor.  Meetings were held in various places throughout NW Florida, resulting in further growth.

1. Federal income tax exemption applied for and received under IRS Code Section 501(c)7 (Social)
2. The first State Federation meeting hosted by NW was held in Tallahassee January 16-16, 1977.  The motto for the 1977 State Convention was "Do Si Do Under the Rainbow".  Marvin & Olena Taylor were announced chairmen for the 1981 State Convention.  This will be the first to be hosted by the NW Association.
3. The Newsletter, under its new name, "The Panhandle Press", continued to improve.  A reproduction machine was purchased with funds partially donated by dancers.  Education articles began to appear covering diverse subjects -- styling tips, attire, etiquette, club leadership, national organizations, etc.  With the death of its first editor, Doris Vaccari, Marty Lackey and Sherwood Fowler assumed co-editorship.  Area editors were Elaine Engram, Marvin Taylor, Belle Bishop and Mary Bowie.  The special Christmas issue presented a cover with Santa hand colored by officers and staff.
4. The 3rd Annual Roundup was held on September 9-10, 1977 at the Bayfront Auditorium, Pensacola.  Caller was Jack Lasry, Rounds by Kent Bartlett.  The NW Florida Callers Association members called the Trail In Dance.  Chairman was Marvin & Olena Taylor.  Door fee was $4.50 per person.
5. A NW scrapbook with photos was initiated by Charlotte Hall.  To be displayed at the Roundup each year.
6. The NW Association "Showcase of Ideas" was displayed for the first time at the National Convention in Atlantic City.  Hand carried by Red & Ruth Hess.

At the Annual Election the following officers were chosen to serve for 1978. 

President Marvin & Olena Taylor Pensacola
1st Vice President Roscoe & Charlotte Hall Panama City
2nd Vice President Sherwood & Theresa Fowler Mary Esther
Recording Secretary Marvin & Elaine Engram Chipley
Corresponding Secretary Joe & Margaret Blanchard Tallahassee
Treasurer Bill  & Larry Childress Panama City

The Association continued to grow under the able leadership of its Presidents, Marvin & Olena Taylor.
Meetings in 1978 were held in Panama City, Ft. Walton Beach, Tallahassee and Chipley.
Some of the significant events of 1978 were:

1. The insurance program expanded as more clubs became aware of its benefits
2. The first club Directory which included dance level designations was published in the Panhandle Press.  Marty Lackey was editor and six (6) issues a year were being published.  Many educational articles appeared.  News from eleven (11) clubs appeared in the March issue, Christmas ads filled the December issue.  The newsletter was almost self-sustaining. 
3. Northwest Florida license plate dance tags were made available for $2.50 each.  They included the club name or city.  Chairman of this fund raising was John Lackey
4. Tow (2) roundups were held -- the Spring Roundup in Pasarda Hall in Ft. Walton Beach on March 25th with Darryl McMillan and Chuck Sample and the Fall Roundup in Panama City November 3-4 with Dick Barker, Jerry Helt and Kent Bartlett.  Location was the Ranch House
5. Many Northwest dancers attended teh Silver Anniversary State Convention in Orlando.  Theme was "Celebrate in '78".
6. Planning for hosting the 1981 State Convention began.  Marvin & Olena Taylor were named chairman for our first State Convention.  A special meeting was held at the Hardy House Restaurant, Chipley, to confirm our intent and obtain support from the NW Callers Association.  Both organizations decided the NW would host the 1981 Convention. 
7. Some quarterly movements for 1978 were:  Trade teh Wave, Stroll and Cycle, Ping Pong Circulate.  Foley Wood was President of the NW Callers Association.
8. Financial status of the association in 1978:
           Beginning Balance, January         $161.72
           Ending Balance, December          $255.65

At the Annual Election the following officers were chosen to serve for 1979.

President George & Mary Bowie Panama City
1st Vice President Roscoe & Charlotte Hall Panama City
2nd Vice President Jerry & Theresa Fowler Mary Esther
Recording Secretary Richard & Janet Harns Marianna
Corresponding Secretary Conrad & Belle Bishop Shalimar
Treasurer Jack & Flo Taylor Tallahassee

Many significant event occurred in 1979 that helped to mold the Association into the service organization it is today.

1. Discussions began on individual dancer membership in the Association.  Membership at this time was by club only.
2. The Fall Roundup was held in the old National Guard Armory, Tallahassee with Wade Driver, Elmer Sheffield, Jr., Roger & Kelly Bagwell and Howard & Norma Smoyer.  Chairman was Jack & Flo Taylor.
3. The Board of Delegates decided to extend the Roundup to two (2) days beginning next year and have a permanent location.  The CHipley Armory was selected.
4. Planning continued to host the 1981 State Convention, the first for the Northwest Association.  Marvin & Olena Taylor, Chairman, announced the theme to be "Dancing for Fun in '81".  The Convention outfit colors were brown and orange.
5. The Twenty Sixth annual Florida State Convention was held in Orlando, May 25-27.  Theme was "Sunshine '79".
6. "That's a Big 10-4" was announce.  Square dancers now have an officially recognized CB channel.  Dancers can use channel "4" when traveling along the highways to and from dances.
7. Northwest Association meetings continued to be held in various cities throughout the area.  Six (6) meeting a year were being held during these formative years.
8. The Panhandle Press continued to print various articles of interest to square dancers.  The Christmas special issue was again filled with greetings from clubs, callers and dancers.  Income from the ads helped to defray printing expenses.  Marty Lackey was editor.
9. In reviewing the past issues of the Panhandle Press, news from clubs that are no longer in existence stood out:  Castoffs, Panhandle Promenaders, Circle Squares, Swinging Doubles, Dixie Diamonds, Swingsters, Capital City Cloggers.  Balancing this fact is the large number of clubs that are still going strong after these many years.
10. Balance in the treasury at year's end was:  $375.99

The following officers were elected to serve for the 1980.

President Roscoe & Charlotte Hall Panama City
1st Vice President Mike & Gwen Moser Pensacola
2nd Vice President Conrad & Belle Bishop Shalimar
Recording Secretary Olena & Marvin Taylor Pensacola
Corresponding Secretary Joy Richardson Ft. Walton Beach
Treasurer Harry & Thedra Frisbee Tallahassee

The Association continued to develop and grow.
Many new ideas and programs were adopted to better serve square dancing and member clubs.

1. The Association adopted individual dancer membership in addition to club membership.  This resulted in a huge growth in the years to come. The first membership chairman was Ed & Brenda Hedgecock of Tallahassee.
2. Individual membership included accident/medical insurance with Travelers Insurance Company.  This insurance was subsequently replace with our current policy holder through the United Square Dancers of America.
3. The first mini-legacy educational seminar was co-sponsored by the Association. This seminar was heared to help current, new and prospective officers.  Title was "Florida LEADS", -- Leadership, Education and Dancer Seminar.
4. The Association was represented on the State Board by Conrad and Belle Bishop, who were elected parliamentarian.
5. The 6th Annual Roundup was held in Chipley with Tony Oxendine and Howard & Norma Smoyer.  Ray & Nellie Ashe were chairman.  The 1981 Roundup was announced for Chipley with John Lackey as chairman.
6. The 27th Florida State Convention was held in Lakeland; the theme was "Highways to Friendship".  The Northwest Association presented its kickoff for the 1981 State Convention.  Chairman was Marvin & Olena Taylor.
7. The 29th National Convention was held in Memphis and our Association was well represented.

The following officers were elected to serve for the 1981.

President Roscoe & Charlotte Hall Panama City
1st Vice President Frank & Betty McCallister Ft. Walton Beach
2nd Vice President Ed & Brenda Hodgecock Tallahassee
Recording Secretary Joy Richardson Ft. Walton Beach
Corresponding Secretary Charlene & Frank Doud Tallahassee
Treasurer Harry & Thedra Frisbee Tallahassee

The Association reached maturity in 1981 with a full range of services being offered to its members.
We had a newsletter, an accident/medical insurance program, an educational library, membership in the State Federation, an annual roundup and more.
Most importantly, the clubs and dancer were no longer autonomous but now worked and enjoyed the activity as a family.
Some of hte major events of 1981 were:

1. The Association hosted its first State Convention in Lakeland -- "Dancing for Fun in '81".  General Chairman was Marvin & Olena Taylor; Caller Chairman, Elmer Sheffield, Jr.; Round Dance Chairman, Howard & Norma Smoyer.  It was a great convention.  Over $2,000 was realized as our share of the convention's proceeds.
2. The first directory to include individual members along with member clubs was published in the Panhandle Press.  The directory reflected membership of 100 individuals and 27 clubs. 
3. The Panhandle Press editor, Marty Lackey, resigned due to family responsibilities and Joy Richardson (later Joy Vaccari) assumed editorship on a temporary basis.  This temporary job lasted over ten years!  Joe Vaccari was on the staff (see what can happen!)
4. The president, Roscoe & Charlotte Hall, resigned due to relocation.  Frank & Betty McCallister assumed the duties of the president. 
5. The Seventh Annual Roundup was held in Chipley with Harry Lackey and the Blackfords.  John Lackey was Chairman.  The National Convention was held in Seattle.  several couples from the Association attended and set up and managed the Florida Showcase of Ideas.
6. The treasurer's balance at year's end was $3,677.28.
7. Some of the major dances advertised by flyers in the Panhandle Press: Pasarda's Sweetheart Charity Ball, Panhandle Promenaders Spring Fling, 28th Florida State Convention, 22nd Annual Billy Bowlegs Festival, 9th Annual Bob Poyner Jamboree, 22nd Annual Peanut Festival, The Northwest Fun Fest, Firehouse Gang Chiefs New Year's Eve Party, 29th Annual Florida State Convention. 

Officers elected for 1982:

President Frank & Betty McCallister Ft. Walton Beach
1st Vice President Harry & Thedra Frisbee Tallahassee
2nd Vice President Ed & Brenda Hodgecock Tallahassee
Recording Secretary Joy Richardson Ft. Walton Beach
Corresponding Secretary Clyde & Mary Jane Emery Panama City
Treasurer Marvin & Elaine Engram Chipley

Northwest Florida Association History Page

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