The Eldred Hometown Downtown Hoedown is more than just a tongue twister: it’s a way for locals to enjoy an old-fashioned country party while supporting a community entity. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Eldred Area Free Library and Historical Society on Main Street, Eldred, which opened to the public in 2016.
The second annual hoedown will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. June 22 in the Eldred Borough Firehall at the corner of Platt and Elm streets.
Attendees will have the opportunity to line dance, two-step and even get dance instructions from library board treasurer Amber Price-Cline, who has picked songs to play that will keep people moving on the dance floor, according to Charlotte Stoughton, president of the board.
There will be plenty of other activities for those who are dance-floor shy.
The pie and cake auction was “very successful and very lucrative” last year, so organizers are bringing it back.
“It was fun. We had a lot of friendly competition,” said Stoughton.
Other items, donated by businesses and individuals, will be auctioned off, too.
Another popular activity from the inaugural event, the cow patty stomp, is set for a sequel this year.
One change from last year’s stomp — which had youngsters stomping brown balloon “cow patties” — is that participants will be split into two groups. The smaller children will stomp separately from the older ones.
Some stompers will walk away with monetary prizes, as some balloons will have dollars in them, mostly ones, but a couple fives, 10s and even 20s will be in the mix.
Stoughton said this year’s Western-style buffet will feature fried chicken, cowboy casserole, old ranch salad, Western-style beans, cornbread and beverages.
The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children under age 11. Tickets will be sold at the door.
Last year, Stoughton loved to see people having fun in a safe, alcohol-free environment.
“It was heartwarming to see little kids up to teenagers” enjoying themselves. “Good food, good fun, good families.”
Organizers encourage attendees to wear their cowboy boots, jeans and best Western wear, and cowboy hats will again be available for purchase.
Western-wear clad dancers will not be out of place in the decorated firehall.
“Last year, people were amazed” when they saw the work Cline put into setting the hoedown mood through decorations, said Stoughton. “She transformed that firehall into the O.K. Corral.”
That included cowhides, saddle stools, barrels, kegs and even a sign like one that would be found welcoming people to a ranch.
Stoughton noted Cline’s knowledge of Western style is no surprise: she used to live in Texas.
Participants will have the satisfaction of knowing their money will support their community library and historical society.
“All the money that’s raised goes into the general fund at the library to help us meet our expenses,” said Stoughton. “We have no state funding or local funding.”
She explained the library and historical society operates using only money obtained through fundraisers and memorials. That money is used for all the organization’s expenses, including utilities, insurance and supplies. The organization is also considering updating its security system and computer system.
She noted the library/historical society has 501©(3) status, so donations are tax deductible.
Since obtaining the building in 2015, the library’s supporters have rehabilitated the back room, installed new heating and a new electrical system, painted, replaced the roof, fixed the ceiling and more. A PA Wilds grant with a local match was used last year to do facade work.
Stoughton added that the historical society, set up in the back room of the building, is “ever expanding. People are amazed at the stuff we have.” For instance, visitors can see newspapers published in Duke Center in the 1890s.
It was a long road to establishing the Eldred library, as the idea first came up back in the 1980s, said Stoughton. At that time, supporters were not able to come up with the money for a building, but they purchased a Bookmobile and were able to offer a book-borrowing program with the help of the S.W. Smith Memorial Public Library in Port Allegany for about 30 years.
The library continues to grow, with more than 300 library cards active. Today marks the start of the library’s first summer program, open to children ages 5 to 11.
The Bookmobile service ended two days after the Eldred library held its grand opening.