Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Emerald City Hoedown?
About the Hoedown
Details for Instructors
A hoedown is a weekend-long country-western dance event. More than just a single evening dance, a hoedown features dance workshops, chances to socialize, and a whole lot of fun!
Is the “Emerald City Hoedown” going to have a Wizard of Oz
Yes and no. In addition to being Dorothy’s original destination in the books and movie, the “Emerald City” is also the official nickname of the city of Seattle, because everything is so green around here.
But a little bit of The Wizard of Oz is bound to show up. With the themes of outsiders, friendship, and teamwork — and the fabulous musical numbers — how could we avoid using Oz references? So pull on your ruby cowboy boots and dance!
Do I have to be a member of Rain Country to attend?
Not at all. Anyone who dances — or wants to dance! — is welcome.
Rain Country members get a discount on their registration fee for the hoedown, as well as other perks during the year. For information on joining Rain Country, click here.
While Rain Country’s primary purpose is educational, part of our mission is also to raise money for charity, to support other organizations within the GLBTQ community.
In 2013, with a larger event expected to draw more people and a higher return, we will work with two charity partners. Our first beneficiary will be Camp Ten Trees
, a Seattle-area summer camp for GLBTQ kids and kids with GLBTQ parents. Our second beneficiary will be Seattle PFLAG
, with our donation earmarked to their support of smaller PFLAG organizations throughout the state, especially in the more heavily rural and conservative areas of Eastern Washington — supporting our country roots. Rain Country will also retain a portion of the proceeds from the weekend to provide seed money for future hoedowns and other projects.
You can register online via PayPal
, using your PayPal account balance or by credit card. You can also download the registration form (PDF
), print it, and send it in after you use Paypal, or send it with a check. The event pricing is included on the form.
Once we process your registration, we will send a confirmation letter or e-mail. We will also have a special e-mail list
for those attending the hoedown, to send you all the details as they come available. (You are welcome to join this list even if you are not registered but just thinking about attending.) As the weekend nears, messages will be sent to ensure that you have all the info you need to make for a fantastic weekend.
If you register online, we will still need to have a signed waiver from you before you can attend the Emerald City Hoedown. We will have a copy of the waiver with your name on it at Registration for you to sign when you check in.
We will be seeking volunteers at all levels in the weeks leading up to the Hoedown. Once you have registered, our Volunteer Coordinator may send you an e-mail about volunteering. Please consider donating an hour or two of your time during the weekend to help things run smoothly.
Most of all, though, simply register
for the Emerald City Hoedown, and get your fellow dancers to register as well! The more who attend, the more exciting the weekend will be for all of us. (And the earlier you register, the lower the price!)
Can I attend just some of the events?
Definitely. All the workshops and dances can be attended individually. There will be pricing for single workshops, workshop day passes, and the evening dances closer to the event.
The best value for your dollar, of course, is to register for the entire weekend. The further in advance that you register, the better the price! You can register on this page
Where are the events being held?
The Emerald City Hoedown will be completely held at our host hotel, the Renaissance
(located at 6th & Madison, on the edge of downtown). This includes all workshops on three days and both evening dances. We have three tracks of workshop — Line, Couples, and Tastes & Techniques! For details, see the Schedule
page and other pages throughout the Hoedown section.
What will be taught in the workshops? Who are the instructors?
Right now, it is too early to give more than rough details about the schedule. Once we have details fleshed out and instructors invited, we will post more information. For now, check out last year’s schedule
for a good idea what to generally expect this year.
What other activities and entertainment will there be?
The Emerald City Hoedown will include morning coffee socials on Saturday and Sunday, a lunchtime women’s social on Saturday, and late night After Hours parties on both Friday and Saturday.
There will also be dedicated blocks of line dancing on Friday and West Coast Swing on Saturday, plus an entire room for line dancing Friday and Saturday nights (and Sunday, if attendance warrants it).
If you are visiting from out of town, you may want to go sightseeing while you’re here. You may want to go up the Space Needle, visit the Science Fiction Museum and the Experience Music Project, ride the 1960s vintage monorail, shop at Pike Place Market, tour Underground Seattle, ride the ferry to Bainbridge Island, or visit the University of Washington Arboretum, among other local sights. We’ll be glad to direct you to locations that interest you.
If you’re looking for dinner or a delicious casual brunch on either day, we can direct you to some of our favorite local restaurants.
What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
There is no specific dress code for either the workshops or the evening dances at the Emerald City Hoedown. During the day, people will be dressed casually, most in jeans (or shorts, if the weather cooperates) and t-shirts or lightweight shirts. (A hoedown t-shirt
is an ideal choice, of course!) Many dancers will dress up some in the evenings, opting for long-sleeved western shirts, dresses or skirts, even kilts. But we neither enforce nor even encourage any specific dress code.
We do highly recommend boots or shoes with soles suitable for dancing, if course. Leather-soled cowboy boots, dance sneakers, and many other footwear choices are great. We will have a vendor selling dance boots and dance shoes all day Saturday this year, so you can pick up something just right for you. And for those of you with leather uppers on your boots, Northwest Community Bootblack Ruin will be available on Friday to put a nice shine on them.
Are registrations refundable if I cannot attend?
In general, no. Advance registrations provide the pre-event funding to make the hoedown work, and the potential for refunds makes for a budgeting nightmare. We are happy to allow you to sell or otherwise transfer your registration to someone else who would like to attend, however. If you need more information on this policy, please email us
What will the weather be like? I’ve heard it rains a lot in Seattle.
Heh. That’s what we tell people to keep them all from moving here! (Although they did find that in 2010, it rained on every holiday! Go figure!)
The Seattle area is a notoriously damp climate, and late April is the heart of spring, so there’s no telling what the weather will be like. We will hope for “the bluest skies you’ve every seen,” but we’ll prepare for rain. Most likely will be our version of the classic “April showers”: mist and drizzle (especially overnight) and wet streets, with generally dry but partially overcast days (with some sun breaks), and temperatures in the low 60s during the day and the 40s at night. But hey, you’ll be inside dancing where it’s warm and dry, right?
I’m coming by plane or train. Will there be a shuttle to the hoedown?
, taxi, bus, shuttle, and limo services are all available from SeaTac airport, and taxi and bus service are available from the train depot. For more information, visit the Hotel page
I plan to visit Seattle for a few days before or after the run. Can Rain Country members host me?
Rain Country expects that some members may be able to host out of town guests for a couple days. Such hosting will be on an as-available basis, so if you wish to plan for such, please let us know
when you register, and we will put you in contact with Rain Country members who would be willing to host you during your stay.
Our host hotel
will allow registration for a couple days on either end of then hoedown at our great rate. We can also recommend hotels and bed-and-breakfasts which are convenient for longer stays.
What vacation options are there for me in the Pacific Northwest?
The Pacific Northwest offers many options for travel and sightseeing. We encourage you to turn your trip to the Emerald City Hoedown into a full vacation, either starting or ending a week’s vacation with the leather weekend.
The major cities are Seattle, Portland (2.5 hours drive south of Seattle), Vancouver, BC (3 hours north), and Spokane (5 hours east). All the cities have spectacular views, assorted tourist attractions, shopping, and vibrant gay communities. And of course there are many smaller cities and towns throughout the area, each with its own attractions.
Outside the urban areas, there are vast expanses of nature to explore. The Cascades are full of dramatic volcanic mountains, including Mt. Rainier National Park, Mt. Hood, and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. West of Seattle is the Olympic Peninsula, with craggy mountains and a temperate rain forest. Further north, you can explore the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, or venture to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria, BC . Eastern Washington has broad expanses of mostly high desert, but also areas full of wheat fields, vineyards, apple orchards, and other agricultural products.