On Hoopfest weekend, thousands of basketball enthusiasts will be competing in the nation’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament. In a different part of downtown Spokane, thousands of people from all over the country will be dancing their tails off. The 61st National Square Dance Convention will be held at the Spokane Convention Center (334 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard). With attendance expected at nearly 8,500 (as of today, there are already 5152 registrants), the convention will deliver some 7,200 room nights and an estimated economic impact of $8.6 million.
Each day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., there will be dancing on 12 dance floors, including handicap accessible dance floors. Every night, there will be a live band in the Mainstream Dance Hall. There will also be education classes to introduce dancers to various forms or square dancing, as well as sewing seminars if you want to learn how to make the fun costumes that square dancing is known for (FYI: you don’t have to wear the special costumes to attend the convention; click here for the dress code). Or you can buy attire from the 90-plus square dance shops in the convention vendor area.
Wednesday night, the Timebenders, a group that plays music from the 50s, 60s, and on to the present with celebrity impersonations, will perform a show at the INB Performing Arts Center. Tickets are only available to registered convention attendees and are $35 for a BBQ dinner in Riverfront Park plus the show or $20 for just the show (purchase on the registration form).
For four days of dancing, plus education classes, registration is an absurdly cheap $60 for adults or $30 for youths 5–17. Visitors who just want to watch, attend the classes, and/or shop in the vendor area can buy passes for $5 at the Walk-Up Registration Station in the INB lobby.
If you are traveling to Spokane for the convention, book your room at Stratford Suites [http://www.stratfordsuites.com/], Spokane’s best lodging value. Relax in a luxurious room with a full kitchen, 50″ HDTV DVD, and free laundry. Located just minutes from downtown Spokane, near the airport. Call 509-321-1600 or 888-705-8877 for information on flying and shopping packages.