We had a wonderful time at Cascade Contras on the River, October 14-16 2022! Thank you to all who joined in!

Stay tuned for our announcement of the date for the 2023 Cascade Contras!

(Please note: The Following information applies to the 2022 Cascade Contras and will be updated for our 2023 contra camp.)

This year, we will host an urban contra dance weekend in a lovely venue in Springfield, Oregon. We will provide 15 hours of terrific contra music by two nationally-known bands, The Latter Day Lizards and The Syncopaths! Plus we’ll have two great callers, Susan Michaels and Michael Karcher! 

Everyone will be admitted upon receipt of payment until camp is full.

We will be following the COVID guidelines of the Eugene Folklore Society. These guidelines currently require dancers to show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID. Dancers will also need to sign a liability waiver at check-in and wear a mask while dancing,

On 8/28 the Eugene Folklore Society Board expanded our COVID policy to require all participants to provide proof of a negative home rapid antigen test done within 6 hours of your first arrival at Cascade Contras on the River. Dancers should test before you leave to first arrive at Cascade Contras on the River. Take a picture of the results to show at check in. We encourage those travelling a significant distance to test before they leave home.

The Eugene Folklore Society values equality and mutual respect. We appreciate the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity. and gender expression. We actively cultivate a climate of purposeful inclusion of all. Everyone will be admitted until camp is full. Gender neutral calling will be used for all dances.

As in other urban dance camps, dancers will need to arrange their own lodging and meals for the weekend. We will be posting information here about lodging and eating options close to the camp venue.

Questions about camp? Send an email to the Cascade Contras Committee.

The Syncopaths

Photo of The Syncopaths
The Syncopaths

From dance floors to concert halls, The Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin to music and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. They create a “chamber folk” sound with compelling interplay between fiddle and mandolin, rich vocals, and unexpected colors and rhythms from the piano and bodhrán. High-energy dance tunes and soulful contemplative songs are delivered with passion and humor, engaging with audiences to create lasting memories. At the heart of the band’s sound will be two fiddlers, Ryan McKasson and Ben Schreiber. Ryan is well-known for his dynamic, Scottish-based fiddling. Ben is a MIdwestern native currently living in St. Louis, MO, but was previously located in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he established his first regularly touring contra dance band, Uncle Farmer. Ben’s other contra dance bands include The Dam Beavers, Offbeats, and Potent Brew, as well as the more newly established chamber-folk trio, Long Story Short. Ben will be filling in for Ashley Broder Hoyer, who is expecting her first child in the very near future! The Syncopaths also include Jeff Spero, who provides inventive and surprising piano accompaniment, anchored by the driving power of Christa Burch’s non-traditional bodhrán. Christa also lends her singular voice to the beautiful, contemplative songs. They ably stretch melodic boundaries while keeping a steady, compelling, danceable beat, connecting with audiences through music, song, and story. What sets them apart from other excellent musicians, though, is their wonderful personalities and the sense of pure joy that emanates from their playing. Don’t miss this chance to see a very special band!

The Latter Day Lizards

The Latter Day Lizards

The Lizards are a New England based trio of musicians who ignite flames under dancing feet! With a widely ranging and hopelessly eclectic repertoire from Irish and Scottish traditional jigs and reels to Balkan, blues and swing tunes, the Latter Day Lizards bring excellent musicianship, playfulness, drama and unrelentingly infectious rhythm to their dance performances. With Kate Barnes on piano, guitar and flute, Bill Tomczak on clarinet, sax and drum and Dave Langford on guitar and fiddle, they blend swing, rock-and-roll and jazz influences with traditional foot-stomping dance music to make an innovative, spontaneous and rhythmically inflammatory sound. And in a special treat for Cascade Contras, The Lizards will also be joined by guest musician Colin McCaffre on bass (replacing bassist Carol Hamm, who is unable to come).

The members of the Lizards come from diverse backgrounds within the traditional dance world and have been hired for dance events, festivals and concerts from California to the British Isles. Kate Barnes has been playing piano, flute and assorted other instruments for dancers for many years, and has been invited to most major contra, square, English and vintage dance events throughout the United States. She currently works with the bands The Lizards, Bare Necessities, and Yankee Ingenuity. Bill Tomczak has been playing clarinet for folk dance of one kind or another since 1979. He has recorded with BLT, Wild Asparagus and Yankee Ingenuity and appears on the recordings Cascade of Tears and Gypsy Wine with Mary Lea and friends. Colin McCaffrey is a native Vermonter, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer who has worked on hundreds of regional recordings and live productions. Lending his smooth voice and string wizardry to the best music coming out of these hills, Colin McCaffrey is what the Burlington Free Press calls “A Green Mountain treasure worth unearthing.”

John Oorthuys

Photo of John Oorthuys
John Oorthuys

A great contra dance needs a great sound engineer, and we will have one! John Oorthuys has handled the sound board for many, many dances, balls, camps, and special events across the Northwest. Highly regarded by dancers, musicians, and callers for his high-quality sound work, John will apply his skills at Cascade Contras on the River and his wizardry will make the sound fantastic.

Photo of Susan Michaels
Susan Michaels

Susan Michaels 

Susan is a fun and funny caller who specializes in contra dances that flow. Hailing from Vashon Island, Washington, Susan has been calling contras and squares for more than 30 years. She’s called from coast to coast and has taught and called at many dance camps including Lady of the Lake, Chehalis, Pinewoods, and Dare to Be Square East and West. Susan believes it is her “calling” to facilitate the pleasure of the dancers and create joy.

Photo of Michael Karcher
Michael Karcher

Michael Karcher

Michael has been having the time of his life calling dances and weekends around the North America since 2011. He has trained with Lisa Greenleaf and Niles Fredland and has honed a warm and concise style of teaching and calling, to the delight of dancers across the continent. 

Here’s our overall schedule for the weekend. Details may be revised and expanded.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 14 – Dancer check-in will open at 6 pm. Dancing will begin at 7:30 pm and continue with bands and callers alternating until 10:30 pm.

REMEMBER: bring masks, proof of vaccination and results (photo is ok) of a negative home COVID test.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 15 – Dancer check-in will open at 8:15 am, with dancing starting at 9:15 am and continuing until 10:30 pm with lunch and dinner breaks.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 – Building opens at 9 am with waltzing at 9:15 am, with contras starting at 10 am. There will be a lunch break and dancing will then continue until 4 pm.

See PDF below for a downloadable schedule.

We certainly hope the pandemic recedes and we all are healthy and dancing come October. However we recognize there is significant uncertainty about the course and impact of the pandemic this fall. We will ask anyone who is ill, or who is part of a household where a person is ill, to stay home and not attend the event. The following refund policy will reduce your financial risk of registering for Cascade Contras on the River, if you were unable to attend due to a positive COVID test or illness.

If, at the time of Cascade Contras on the River, a registered dancer has a positive COVID test, has COVID symptoms, or is otherwise ill, or a member of their household has a positive COVID test, has COVID symptoms, or is otherwise ill, a full refund of fees paid will be provided upon request.

If the pandemic causes Cascade Contras on the River to be entirely cancelled, all registered dancers will be provided a full refund of fees paid.

Other refund requests resulting from change of personal plans and not resulting from COVID or other illness must be made on or before October 1. In this case, $25 will be retained and the balance of the fee paid will be refunded. After October 1, fees paid cannot be refunded except in the case of illness or event cancellation, as described above..

Read the EFS COVID Safety Policy

Read the EFS Liability Waiver

Photo of McKenzie Room
McKenzie Room

Located in downtown Springfield alongside a wonderful park and the Willamette River, the Willamalane Adult Activity Center is a beautiful, modern facility featuring a comfortable lounge area and outdoor patio overlooking the river and Island Park. The center’s lovely setting, spacious interior, stage, and dance floor are ideal for our contra dancing weekend and can accommodate up to 200 people. Ample parking is available at the Center and on adjacent streets.

We will be dancing in the McKenzie Room, a 2,300-square-foot multi-purpose room suitable for large gatherings and special events. Key features include an excellent wood floor and performance stage. This room connects to the Cascade Room, an 800 square foot room that will be our cloakroom and provide social and relaxation space. During most of the weekend, we will also have full use of the large, comfortable lounge area and patio for socializing and relaxing.

The property is operated by the Willamalane Park and Recreation District. Terms of rental do not allow alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in any form on the Activity Center property. Dogs and other pets are also not allowed in the Activity Center.

Simple snacks will be provided, but dancers will be responsible for their own meals. There will be breaks for lunch and dinner on Saturday, and a lunch break on Sunday.

Photo of downtown Springfield
Main Street, Springfield Oregon

If you want to purchase a meal, there are multiple pubs and restaurants in Springfield’s historic downtown, within a few minutes walk of the dance venue. Here’s a live google map of nearby restaurants in Springfield.

Additional eating options are within a 5-10 minute drive near the University of Oregon in Eugene. You could also pack a lunch or dinner and eat at the Activity Center or in scenic Island Park along the river.

We have negotiated discounted rates at the following hotels.

When you contact these hotels to reserve, tell them you will be attending Cascade Contras in order to get the discounted rate. Rates shown do not include local taxes and fees.

There are plenty of lodging choices in Eugene and Springfield within easy driving distance of the Activity Center. Numerous Airbnb and VRBO rentals can be found in the area.. We may also have a limited number of home-stay opportunities with local dancers.