The Gleaner

4-H square dance competition do-si-dos to a new location

4-H members were happy to sashay their way back onto the stage for the 45th anniversary of the square dance competition after missing three years during the pandemic. The event is an annual tradition started by the Howick 4-H club in 1979. 

According to volunteer square dance leader Stephanie Maynard, “The Ormstown 4-H Club took over the organizing of the competition starting in 1991. At that time, Carolyn Cameron was key in organizing the competition and did so as a volunteer for over 20 years. Janice Barr then took over as coach and organizer and also continued the tradition for close to 20 years. We now have a new generation of coaches and volunteers to keep this long-standing competition alive.”



The event had been held at the Ormstown recreation centre for many years, but a scheduling conflict led to its relocation to the Industrial Building at the Ormstown fairgrounds this spring. “I think everyone agrees it was a spectacular venue to be used again in the future.” says Maynard.

Four different 4-H clubs from across Quebec and eastern Ontario were represented by the nine teams competing, and a group of former 4-H members served as judges for the event.

Ormstown’s Thomas MacDougall, Howick’s Norma Tolhurst, and Beth Kennedy (formerly of Lachute and now living in Howick) lent their expertise to determining the winners.

Ormstown 4-H members Spencer Mason, TJ Langille, and Connor Bryson acted as masters of ceremonies, keeping the afternoon swinging by introducing the teams and musicians. Valley instrumentalists including fiddler Neil McKay, Kent Sutton on guitar, and Jacques Lavalle playing bass were joined by fiddler Ralph Bédard from Lachute. Ralph Templeton was the house caller, a role he has performed for the last 20 years.


Square dancers dance on a stage in the middle of a big hall with spectators looking on. Guitar player, fiddler and caller stand on another stage in the foreground.
This years 4 H square dance competition was held in the Industrial Building at the Ormstown Fairgrounds PHOTO Sarah Rennie


Mason called the figures for his fellow Junior Polka Dots team members, while Christina Knox shared her vocal skills for Ormstown’s Junior Purple and Seniors teams. Addison Larocque from the Prescott County 4-H club was recognized by the judges as best junior caller.

The award for Best Senior Couple was given to Isabelle Harnisch and Jordan Anderson from Prescott County. For Best Junior Couple the prize went to Felix Vereyken and Eloise Thompson who came all the way from Shawville, while Ormstown’s Carter Rember and Carson Cosgrove were runners-up.

Prescott County was recognized for having both the Best Senior and the Best Junior Team, with Ormstown Purple earning the runner-up spot for the Junior.

Many of the teams headed to Vankleek Hill on April 29 to compete again – watch for a report from Spencer Mason in an upcoming edition of The Gleaner. (LM)

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