HARRISON – An old-fashioned hoedown, complete with line and square dancing for both newcomers and experienced dancers, is set for Saturday, Oct. 5, at KB Ranch. 

Not only is the hoedown an opportunity to learn or hone dance skills, but also a fundraiser for the Harrison District Library’s Surrey House Renovation Project. The historic building will become the library’s new home when complete.

The hoedown, introduced this year to entertain the growing number of country line and square dancers in the area, will feature the Palooka Brothers Band, and include dance calling by Dave Goodwin. For those new to the dance steps, lessons will be provided by local dance enthusiast (and Hayes Township treasurer) Maye Tessner-Rood. 

“Hoedowns likely were part of the history of this area,” explained Nancy House, Harrison District Library Board secretary. She noted the library is looking for events not only of interest but also ones attached to the area’s history. “It was a big lumber area. I have to assume that people got together for this type of activity to socialize or at least enjoy music.”

If dancing is not an interest, the afternoon also includes a complete pulled pork dinner and a fundraising auction of unique items including a gift certificate for the 2020 turkey hunt on a local farm, an oak and hickory Amish rocker, a 50-inch padded maple bench with carving, and a painted scenic antique saw. Pictures of the auction items will be posted on the library’s Facebook page. Other activities at the hoedown include horseshoes, cornhole, photos and a 50/50 raffle.

Tickets are $20, which includes all activities and dinner, and are available at the Harrison District Library or online at hoedown.hdl.org. Gates open at 3 p.m. with events continuing until 9 p.m.

The hoedown will take place in a true country setting, KB Ranch, a ranch that boards horses and provides riding opportunities and lessons for boarders. The facility, operated by Kim and Brett Dodd, is located at 5223 N. Old State Road in Harrison, and has a large arena that provides indoor space for all activities.

Proceeds from the event, which hopefully will become an annual activity, will go toward renovation of the Surrey House, allowing the library to move from its present cramped location. A historic landmark in downtown Harrison, the Surrey House was established in 1881 as a boarding house and restaurant. The building is more than 12,000 square feet. With the additional space, the library could add much needed meeting rooms and increase library activity space for book discussion groups, family literacy events and after-school programs.

“We are very excited to begin the renovation of the Surrey House,” said Library Director Sheila Bissonnette. “We are thankful to all the people who have donated and pledged support for the project. We are very close to reaching $200,000 in community support.”

Bissonnette said the library also is working on a grant application that would fund 90% of the entire renovation project. 

For questions or more information on the hoedown or the Surrey House Renovation Project, contact the library at 989-539-6711 or email hoedown@hdl.org.

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