2011 Weekend Away

Helen and I arrived at the Tanunda caravan park on Wednesday 23rd March, 2011 at 1.00 PM., by 4.00PM we were still sitting in our caravan listening to the falling rain.  We got very wet just trying to put up our caravan awning in the attempt to establish a dry spot (to no avail, the water just pooled beneath the awning and we had very soggy shoes to go with our very wet clothes).  The rain did eventually stop at about 6.00AM on Thursday, which allowed us to finally erect our annex.

By Thursday afternoon, I saw Rosa and Howard, Sue and Jeff (Botroff), Joan and Ron, Peggy and Bill, Heather and Tony and Margaret and Bob from Renmark, almost enough for 2 squares (perhaps we need to extend the weekend away?).  By Thursday evening square dancers occupied 23 cabins and 24  square dance gypsies set up their caravans on 12 sites (not real gypsies, we all had powered sites for our TV’s, microwaves, convection ovens,  air-conditioning and the other luxuries associated with modern caravan travel).  The weather remained cool and overcast.

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Friday night dance at the caravan park


Enough space for everyone to get on the floor

That night 74 dancers gathered in the recreation room at the caravan park, a very lively crowd, so we had an official bouncer / security guard to throw the real rowdies out (see picture below). 

 He was a real mean bouncer /security guard

This is a room of generous proportions, which could accommodate 10  squares if dancers kept tight like the good old days.  It was very cold outside and very hot inside.  Those that liked it hot kept turning off the air-conditioning and those that were too hot kept turning it on or danced outside on the verandah. 

The saga continued until one unit jammed on at full cooling.  Eventually I un-jammed it, BUT as someone once said, “you can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you definitely cannot please all of the people all of the time”.

Some danced outside to cool off

On Saturday evening 90 people gathered for a meal in the recreation room.  Committee members (and Heather) served the food as each table was called up in an orderly fashion.  Order quickly dissipated when we brought out the desserts.  Why is it that pavlovas, cheese cakes, strudels, black forest cake, fruit salads, cream, custard and ice cream, generally bad things for the waistline turn beautiful people into an unruly mob clamouring for their share?   We had lots left over and one person managed 3 large servings of dessert.  Everyone agreed the food was delicious, the chicken was cooked to perfection, the potatoes and salads were delicious and the desserts just plain decadent.

After the meal, we danced until late in the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Tanunda a great place to dance, great atmosphere and good acoustics, with a beautiful wooden floor, in my opinion, the best floor I have ever danced on. 


Saturday night at the Ssoldiers Memorial Hall

 The hall was built in 1923, has lovely pressed metal ceilings and is the largest hall in the Barossa.  It also contains the oldest pipe organ in Australia which is currently being renovated and likely to be in operation at the end of 2011. 

The oldest organ in Australia (behind Jeff)

The hall has since its original design, been divided up into an art gallery beneath the balcony seating (the balcony is currently closed to the public but will be reopened in the future). We managed 9 squares up at the start of the evening.  Strange we had  74 dancers on Friday which yielded 7 squares and more than 90 for the Saturday and yet we only briefly had 9 squares up, then 8 squares for much of the night dropping to 7 squares as the evening wore on.  Those sitting out must have been overwhelmed by the food and the excellent venue or were just worn out old farts (like me) who just wanted to chat. 

 Prior to the dance,  Jeff was a bit worried about the acoustics, so I showed him a brochure which stated that “the hall had generous acoustics”, therefore he had to be more generous (he obviously was, because one half of his yak stack provided crystal clear calls throughout the hall).

These guys just can’t understand what all the fun and excitement is about

 Thankyou, Senga, Heather, Joan, Pat, Jenny, Gerry, Lois, Kevin, Sandy, Marika, Stephen, & Helen– for serving the meal and procuring the food, making the salads and setting up for the meal at the caravan park and drinks + supper at the Soldiers Memorial Hall and all the other people who helped tidy up If I have missed anyone sorry but I was a bit tired having been on the go since 6:30 AM that day.

Our younger square dancers with energy to burn the next day (oh what a feeling – I once had)

On Sunday morning Jeff conducted a workshop putting everyone through the acrobatics of turn through -, spin the top and slide through, he also did one plus workshop concentrating on spin chain exchange the gears sometimes with the blokes leading and doing the exchange. 


We had 6 squares in for the torture, not bad after a late night where some dancers stayed up very late no doubt discussing religion and politics (perhaps with a glass or two or three or four of five or heaven knows how many glasses of alcoholic beverage)

Sunday evening saw the remaining stalwarts gather for a BBQ, we had about twenty dancers including our caller.  We attempted to consume the remaining bread, pasta salad, cold chicken, green salad, cream, ice cream and custard.  Despite a tremendous effort, we failed, so, in the end we offered the remaining food to other caravaners and backpackers gathered round the BBQ area.  They were very grateful and enquired if we had any excess wine or beer to compliment the food.

One disturbing aspect of the weekend event, which I draw to the attention of Stephen our new treasurer; Lois, your predecessor, was caught with her hand in the till as is evident in the photo below.

On Monday morning all the cabins and all but two of the remaining caravan sites were vacated.  Helen and I stayed on one further day with Heather and Tony.  As you would expect, Monday was a beautiful warm sunny day, the first for a long time we enjoyed the sunshine and serenity of a virtually empty caravan park.

We owe big thankyou’s to Maz McGan of the Barossa Council for her help with hall hire and loan of an urn and Craig from the Tanunda Caravan Park for his assistance with tables and chairs for the Saturday dinner

Also, thankyou Jeff for some great calling, we all enjoyed the workshp  pain experience, thankyou all the committee members who organized the event and all those willing hands who assisted with setting up and clearing up after our three events.

Next year we aim for an even BIGGER and BETTER weekend!




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