Rutherford County's Cripple Creek Cloggers will represent the United States in the Alnwick International Music Festival (www.alnwickfestival.com) in Alnwick, England during July 31 through August 10th.
Founder and Director Steve Cates told WGNS News, “They will demonstrate traditional, Appalachian-style square dancing with a clogging step, wearing costumes of the early 1840s especially designed for them by Estelle Ansley Worrell, of Nashville.”
He noted that troupes from Romania, Senegal, Sicily, Taiwan, Cyprus and many from throughout England and Scotland will also bring their traditional music and dances to celebrate the dove of peace, the symbol of the festival.
Cates commented, “A major stated aim of the festival is to promote friendship and understanding between nations, as well as offering great fun for everyone who takes part - performers and spectators alike ".
In addition to Cates, the other Cripple Creek Cloggers making the tour are: Doug Willard, Michael Graves, Ann Mattox, Mike Smith, Donna Davis, Blake Arnold, Dawn Arnold, Caleb Allen and Susan Mellentine.
Alnwick, England was founded in A. D. 600 and has often been at the center of historical events. It is located in Northumbria on the Great North Road, a direct route between London and Edinburgh. Alnwick Castle, the home of the Percy family since 1309, is second only to Windsor Castle in London as the largest inhabited castle in England. Cripple Creek Cloggers will fly into and out of Edinburgh, located about one and one-half hours away.
Venues used during the festival will include The Playouse, The Market Place, and Alnwick Castle and Garden. Visiting performers will enjoy the cobbled streets and wander through the fine stone buildings, now housing a range of specialist shops, family businesses, and original coaching inns.
Foreign troupes will parade into The Market Place on Saturday, August 2nd, for the official opening of the festival. All groups and other visitors will be officially welcomed on Sunday morning at the ecumenical service in St. Paul's Catholic Church. The church will be the setting for the Flower Festival, open each day for the eight days of the festival. At the same time, a Craft Fair will occur in The Market Place.
The group's travels to festivals in other countries helps locate folk performers for International Folkfest, hosted each June by Cripple Creek Cloggers. It is because of the local troupe's participation in foreign festivals that International Folkfest was organized in 1982.
Cripple Creek Cloggers was organized in 1967 as a 4-H activity at Kittrell School. When the group expanded to include young people from various locations in Middle Tennessee, the name was changed to Rutherford County Square Dancers.
In 1980, Cripple Creek Cloggers, the adult component, was formed.
Today, the troupe meets weekly in Murfreesboro during most of the year for teaching, practicing dancing and preparing for performances in the area, across the state and nation and abroad. New members are always welcome and there is no charge for participation.
For more information about the troupe, see www.cripplecreekcloggers.org.