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Dancing and dessert on tap Saturday in Jonesborough

Submitted by David Wiley • Mar 5, 2020 at 4:30 PM

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will celebrate National Pound Cake Day on Saturday, March 7, with a contra dance and bake-off at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.

The featured band will be Laura Light and Dave Bartley. The caller will be Laurie Fisher from Asheville, North Carolina. Admission to the dance is $7 for adults and $5 for students and children. No partner is necessary. All dances are taught by the caller.

Fisher will lead a workshop for beginning contra dancers at 7 p.m. The dance will follow from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. with a break at 9 p.m. for the pound cake judging and consumption.

Celebrity judges will be selected before the event; the top three entries will receive gift awards. All attendees will get to sample the goods after the judging.

“Based on all the entries we had in previous years for our cupcake contests, this group of judges will have their hands full at the Great Pound Cake Bake Off on March 7,” event organizer David Wiley said.

Pound Cake Day, honoring a dessert that can be traced back to the beginning of the 18th century, is celebrated every year as bakers memorialize the culinary delight by baking their own pound cake using ingredients and toppings of their choosing.

While the pound cake is perhaps one of the better-known pastries in many different cultures, Wiley says very few are actually aware of where the name originated. The term, he says, is derived from the act of using one pound of butter, eggs, flour and sugar — which was done so those who were unable to read would be able to memorize the recipe.

Contra dancing is a traditional form of American folk dance. No previous dance experience is necessary. No fancy footwork is required. Contra dances are community events. At almost any contra, there will be people of all ages and all dance skill levels, from young to old, beginner to expert. It is a tradition to dance with a variety of partners throughout the night, so dancers can come alone, with a partner or a group. It is perfectly acceptable for either a man or a woman to ask someone to dance.

“You will find contra dancing a great way to make new friends. If you can walk and count to eight, you can contra dance!” Wiley said.

The dances are smoke-, alcohol- and fragrance-free. The Jonesborough Visitors Center is located at 117 Boone St., in Jonesborough. Visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org, find it on Facebook or call (423) 534-8879 to learn more.