News in Cortland NY

Folk Festival Looking for Square Dance Participants & International Flags

Members of the greater Cortland community are invited to participate in an upcoming Cortland Folk Festival that showcases and celebrates the ethnicities and cultural heritages of Cortland County. This festival, which is a first-time event for the Cortland area, will be held on April 25, 2009 from Noon to 4 pm at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex in Cortland. Admission will be free thanks to a New York State Community Arts Decentralization grant that is supporting the festival.

The festival will feature folk dance demonstrations by local ethnic groups. Additionally, fun and easy folk dances will be taught, and audience participation will be encouraged. Ethnic foods will be for sale throughout the festival, and a parade of flags will be a highlight of the afternoon. This festival will be colorful, family-friendly, spirited, educational, and fun.

Multiple sets of square dancers, dancing to “God Bless America,” as choreographed by the late Dick Leger, will close the festival. Community members are invited to perform this square dance at the festival by learning and rehearsing the dance prior to April 25. To participate, groups of all ages should form their own four-couple sets and attend at least one of rehearsals at the times and locations listed below:

Saturday, March 7 from 10:30 - 11:30 AM at the Cortland YMCA
Saturday, March 7 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM in the County Office Building Gym
Monday, March 9 from 6:30 –8:30 PM at the Cortland YWCA
Saturday, March 21 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at the Center for the Arts in Homer
Saturday, March 28 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the County Office Building Gym
Saturday, April 4 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at the Center for the Arts in Homer

In addition, attendance at one of the following final rehearsal sessions is required of all participating groups.

Thursday, April 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex
Thursday, April 23 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex

Bess Koval, dance instructor and event organizer, will be the teacher for all the sessions. Arrangements may be made for additional group rehearsal times by emailing Bess via

Festival organizers are also seeking flags from all nations (approximately 3’x5’ large) to use in the Parade of Flags. If you have a flag that you are willing to loan for use in the festival, please contact Bess at The subject line should read Folk Festival.

For more information contact Bess Koval at Center for the Arts, 749-4900 or