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About the Hoedown | Charity Partner | Dancing in Seattle | Dining Options | Volunteer/Work Trade

Updated July 1, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Emerald City Hoedown?

About the Hoedown

Travel and Parking

Schedule and Workshops

Details for Instructors

 What is a “hoedown”?
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 theme?
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 or another IAGLCWDC club to attend?
Not at all.  Anyone 21 or over who dances — or wants to! — is welcome.
 Is this a charity event?
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.
For 2021, our beneficiary will be Gay City Health Project, a gay men’s health organization and leading provider of STI testing in the county.  Rain Country will also retain a portion of the proceeds from the weekend to provide seed money for future hoedowns and other projects.
 How do I register?
You can register online via PayPal, using your PayPal account balance or by credit card.  You will also be able to download a registration form (not yet available, sorry), 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 addiitonal details as they come available, ensuring that you have everything you need to make for a fantastic weekend.
When you check in at the event itself, we will have you sign a waiver so you can attend the Emerald City Hoedown.
 How can I help out?
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.  Some tourist activities and the Thursday events will have separate pricing not included in the event registration.
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 men’s social and afternoon 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, skirts, or kilts, 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.  Our Washngton State Bootblack Becca Bee (assisted by Beau) will be available both nights to put a nice shine on your boots.
 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 are my parking options?
Limited on-site parking is available at the Renaissance Hotel, but it can be expensive.  Affordable surface pay lots are located just a couple blocks away, on the other side of the freeway at 7th & Marion, and some nearby parking garages also have reasonable daytime rates.  To check out available parking options and prices, visit (or download the Best Parking app for your smartphone).  For the evening dances, street parking within a couple blocks from the hotel should be reasonably available.
 What will the weather be like?  I’ve heard it rains a lot in Seattle
Expect temperatures in the mid-50s.  While our spring weather can be rainy, it’s usually more of a light drizzle than a soaking downpour.
 I’m coming by plane or train.  Will there be a shuttle to the hoedown?
Light rail, 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.