Thompson Valley Stars

Dancers from Kamloops quick-stepped north to 108 Mile House on Father’s Day Weekend to find campers of all descriptions, from a basic canvas tent to RV’s including top-of-the-line motorhomes. It was an assembly for a just-for-fun square and round dance weekend named the 57th South  Cariboo Jamboree. Notable is the fact that the party encompassed five dance events over three days. 175 dancers from throughout B.C. attended the event including six couples from the Kamloops area: Merv & Sandy Meyer of Westmount, Brent & Karen Olsen of Brocklehurst, John & Elsie Rempel of Valleyview, Joan Parker & Jim Riddle of Brocklehurst, Dave & Leona Wilkinson of North Kamloops, and Bill & Joyce Travis of Brocklehurst.

The featured caller on Saturday was Murray Few from Edmonton, AB. Helen Hall of Lac La Hache was the featured cuer. Square dancing veteran caller Dave Abbs of 100 Mile House was MC  for the entire weekend, as he has been for the past 57 years.

Callers & Cuers from all over BC entertained at the Friday and Sunday dances, keeping more than 20 squares of dancers sashaying and stepping out for hours on end. For the uninitiated, one square consists of 8 dancers. Kamloops’ own Merv Meyer, one of BC’s well-known callers, sang a duet with his wife Sandy much to the delight of the crowd. The two call & cue for the  Kamloops Square Dancers Club.

“It was great to see so many friends from square and round dance clubs all over BC at this wonderful event,” Merv enthused.

Friday night started with what’s known as a “Trail-In.” Sandy Meyer explained “this dance is really enjoyed by square dancers and so in order to get an RV parking space, most dancers got  there as early as they could that day.”

Saturday morning started with easy ‘Contra’ dancing which is facing interactive lines where the dancers move across and up and down—it’s considered a forerunner to the modern square  dance. A square dance workshop followed that enabled all dancers to share a few hints and moves, including different positions in the “Mainstream Program,” the most common level of  accomplishment in today’s square dancing.

A full-course roast beef dinner was served Saturday evening followed by more music and dancing. The participants from Kamloops say the floor was literally bouncing as happy people kicked  up their heels. About the Sunday morning pancake breakfast, several say it was “lip-smacking.” After all the “party hard” dancing up until then, there were still many dancers energetic enough  to hit the floor again and the fun & laughter went on until almost noon.

The Meyers were one of the last to leave on Sunday. They were heading north to Fairbanks, Alaska, to attend yet another Square and Round Dance Festival starting 4 days later.

Brent Olsen commented, “As well-attended as this weekend Jamboree was, the fact is that it may very well be the final fling for this 57-year event due to diminishing memberships in the two   South Cariboo square dance clubs.”

He added “This wouldn’t be the case if more people would  only realize what a perfect way it is to exercise, socialize and have great times with friendly people.”

The Kamloops Square Dancers club presents two free new dancer sessions September 12 & 19 at 7:30 pm in the Desert Gardens Community Centre, followed by 10 more fun sessions by  registration. The Sept. 12 & 19 free nights are casual attire, no commitment and no obligation.

For more information, including new dancer sessions starting in the Fall, call 250-376-5636, or email:

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