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Dosey Do Doings: Square dance convention hits Albany
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Dosey Do Doings: Square dance convention hits Albany

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Carolynn Quinn, 21, sat on the bleachers inside the Linn County Fair and Expo Center on Saturday morning. 

It was the only time she sat still all weekend. 

The rest of the time, she was on the dance floor.

"I have people come and watch me and I tell them if they can't find me, I'm out there!" she laughed, pointing to the middle of the hall where dozens of women in puffed circle skirts and men in matching dress shirts swung, slid and skipped their way through the moves directed by the square dance caller's instructions. 

It was part of the 60th annual Mid-Winter Square Dance Festival, the "Diamonds of Dance" that attracts dancers from California, Washington, Canada and all over Oregon. 

Quinn made the drive from Sweet Home.

"I've been dancing for about 12 years," she said. "My mom did it and I was the only one that jumped in and never wanted to stop."

Quinn is a member of the Sweet Home Squarenenders which has about 30 members but attracting peers, Quinn said is hard. 

"It's difficult to get younger people involved," she said. 

Of the approximately 1,000 dancers expected to circle through the three-day event, organizer Linda Gibbens said about 90 of them would be adults. 

"It is hard to get youths involved but we have a lot who come through," she said. "And we have activities for them like a scavenger hunt and we'll offer a discount for their ribbons."

The ribbons, pink this year, were attached to every dancer's shirt though some dancers had more ribbons than others. 

There were ribbons for committee chairs and ribbons to note a dancer's location of origin. Ribbons warning fellow dancers to "twirl gently, please" and still others that signaled whether the dancer was dancing the male or female part. 

The concept, Gibbens said, is easy. Four pairs of dancers line up in a square and a caller instructs them on what moves to execute. 

This year's featured callers--Deborah Carroll-Jones and Patty Greene--traveled all the way from Texas and North Carolina, respectively. 

"It's a great event," said Gibbens, who has been square dancing for 34 years. "We love the social aspect of it and it's great exercise."

The event, which began Friday afternoon, is scheduled to run until 3 p.m. on Sunday. 

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