FolkFire Reviews

July / August 1999 Issue

  • Concert band: Stone Hill Cajun Two-Step
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  • Concert band: Stone Hill Cajun Two-Step
    by Donna Eckberg

    The weekend of July 9 thru July 11, 1999 brings the ninth annual Cajun Concert to Stone Hill Winery, located in Hermann, MO. This event includes authentic Cajun music, food and dance. Each year, in honor of Bastille Day, Blackie Forestier and the Cajun Aces come from Lafayette, LA, along with their own "Fan Club” of dancers, to play for your listening and dancing pleasure.

    Blackie Forestier is a living legend, having played for more than 30 years, promoting Cajun music and culture. He has received several awards, including his 1993 induction into the CFMA, Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in Lake Charles, LA. In 1995 he received the Cajun Music Pioneer Award. When you see him in action, you’ll understand why he deserves such honors. Blackie has written a song titled Stone Hill Two-Step in honor of his annual visits to the winery.

    The Fan Club, a group of well-seasoned dancers, can show you how to dance the Cajun way. There’s nothing like dancing with someone who "has it" the rhythm, that is. Cajun two-step, waltz and jig or jitterbug will be featured, along with some line dances. The dancers also put on several demonstration dances throughout the weekend, featuring those flashy jitterbug moves with two, three or four people dancing together. Of special interest is the contra-danse, which is an old mixer dance done in a circle of couples. A woman from the Lafayette area reconstructed this dance from memory to bring it back to life.

    There are about 30 couples who come to Stone Hill as ambassadors of Cajun culture each year. One couple, Rodney and Fay Dugas, have been coming to Stone Hill since 1991. My husband Bill and I have also attended each year and have watched the event grow. The first year we were new to Cajun dance, having learned it from a video at home. Rodney was so surprised to see someone who could dance Cajun jitterbug that he accused us of being from Louisiana! The Fan club dancers reach out to get people on the dance floor and to spread the gospel of dance. By dancing you can applaud the musicians and show your appreciation with your feet. I take great delight in seeing the French names on the name tags and hearing Cajun accents from some of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet.

    This event takes place Friday, 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 1 to 6 p.m. Come early to get entry to the main pavilion which opens at 11 a.m. For info call 1-800-909-WINE or for bed & breakfast call the Hermann Visitor Center at 1-800-932-8687.