Yes it is time for the last newsletter of the year.  2003 is just about over and 2004 is visible on the horizon.  And weather wise we are back in the El Nino/La Nina drought however you want to look at it.  Few can remember the last time it rained.  And the temperatures have been mild allowing a few mosquitoes to linger in our back yards.  But just heard that more fall weather with a tinge of winter is on the way.  The winds will howl and the temperatures will dip and the next round of leaves will fall from the trees.  Time to tune up the heaters and get out the rakes, blowers and plastic bags.  Have learned from my new house and yard that pine needles can also be a pain but they are worth something at the nurseries around town so guess I will tolerate them now that I know you can use them for mulch and friends will take them.  Thus I don’t have to put them out on the curb with the other trash.

We had another memorable Labor Day Fish Fry at the Evans’s.  Weather was very cooperative as were the LSU Tigers, who played an away game for the first time in years for Labor Day Saturday – and won of course!  We did watch part of the game on TV.  Result was that some old timers joined the fish fry for the first time in a while.  Most notable was long time season ticket holder Rey Del Castillo.  Rey always livens the crowd with his Cajun-Filipino humor and did not disappoint.   Also showing up again from down river was Ralph McDonald.  This year Ralph did not excite the crowd by misplacing his car keys.  We were all disappointed.  There was some other notable activity around the coy pond and gazebo but we will keep it secret.  So if you want to know all that happens at the annual fish fry plan on coming yourself next year.  And yes there is always some good fish to eat and this year was no exception.  In addition to the usual fare of speckled trout, redfish, drum and sheepshead, Bruce Evans provided some black fin tuna as well as monster bream! Moral here is that Bruce catches them big and small and Dugan catches them medium and in between.

This fall’s dancing has been keeping up with the warm weather!  We have had to call the maintenance office regularly when the computer automatically turned off the dance studio air conditioning at 8PM sharp!  Then we challenge the air conditioning with all our hot dancing for the rest of the evening.  The disc jockeys have found it gratifying to be badgered by so many requests for dances!  Of particular note has been Carol Helm who always makes the same requests and is very emphatic about it especially when it comes to Irish waltzes. But she does like other dances too.  There have been quite of few Turkish dances this fall in respect for our new Turkish BRIFD dancers Zeki Bahadir and Ayse Gider. Zeki is working on a degree in Kineseology and Ayse works for the LSU library. Most prominent among our Turkish repertoire has been old standby Ali Pasha but also old time Turkish favorites Guzelleme, Iste Hendek, Yaylalar and Kendime.  Rumor has it that Jim Burke, our senior DJ, is also busy digging up some other Turkish favorites.  

Jim has also taught some fun dances this fall and one hit was a reteach of The San Antonio Stroll learned at this year’s San Antonio Folk Dance Festival from award winner Glen Bannerman.  No doubt Jim has other goodies up his sleeve. Also adding an international flair to Friday night folk dancing this fall is Hideake Wada from Japan.  Hideake has jumped right in there and is learning all sorts of new dances!   Party nights have been a hit as always with fast dancing, good food, stimulating drink and racy story telling.  Keeping up the drink and story telling end has been George Lezu and for food it has been hard to beat Anita Evan’s little bitty quiches or Abigail and Anna Helm’s veggie sushi. Highlight of parties was the annual Oktoberfest/Halloween night, which was actually on Halloween this year. Betsy Shelton won best costume hands down.

This year’s Hungarian Dinner and Annual Harvest Dance Celebration was another fun and memorable time for BRIFD and KARPATY dancers.  Held on October 4th, the annual fall event provided a little bit for everyone.  I, of course, am always taken by the delicious Hungarian dinner of cabbage rolls, kolbasz, cucumber salad and homemade bread and pastries.  Following the dinner, there were cooking demonstrations showing how all that delicious Hungarian food is made.  This included such goodies as palascintas, csorge, old fashion noodles and of course cabbage rolls.  Yum Yum.  And you could buy all the good food you wanted and take it home with you.  The Hungarian Band Elefta played again this year for Celebration participants. In addition to past band favorites Raul and Josef, this years band featured Denes Hruz, an accomplished Hungarian violinist and singer.  Later on Denes really impressed me with his violin skills when he played a very Texan version of the Cotton-eyed Joe!  Our performance this year again featured a suite of Ando Czompo dances effectively revived by Karpaty artistic director, Vonnie Brown.  We also got to dance with Celebration Hungarian Harvest Dancers again doing classic Andor dances.  The highlight has always been the doing Kevi Czardas and my partner, Helen Nyeki, still manages to keep me in line.  We were joined again this year by several New Orleans folk dancers and we all stayed to dance till the end with the Boudin Cajun Band and their 12-year-old sensational accordion player, Dane Monic.

Several BRIFD dancers joined in the Oktoberfest activities this year. On October 5th, Jim and Idabelle Burke, Dugan Sabins and Susan Webre helped revive the Roberts Cove Germanfest after a year off due to Hurricane Isadore.  But as the saying goes they are baaack!  The Alpenfest band was also back and a big hit with the crowd with its variety of good old German/Austrian dance music.  And of course the food and beer made the day go happily by.  On a sad note, Jim and Idabelle Burke and Dugan Sabins attended the last Ponchatoula Oktoberfest on October 18.  It turns out that there were some disagreements and the traditional Oktoberfest celebration will be moved to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales for 2004.  BRIFD dancers have been going to Oktoberfest in Ponchatoula since the very first one 12 years ago so it will be strange to not be going back to Ponchatoula next year.  However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm for the featured bands the Stratton Mountain Boys and Sauerkrauts.  

Both bands present an excellent variety of Oktoberfest music and entertainment and with the Weiner schnitzel and Warsteiner beer what more could you ask for.  The other fun event this fall was our traditional St. James Place Oktoberfest performance which was on October 23rd.  BRIFD dancers, Carol, Abigail and Anna Helm, John Pizer, Jim Burke, Dugan Sabins, George Lezu, Susan Webre and Jo Zganjar were the performers. We did our traditional German/Austrian fare and received a warm reception as we always do.  Year after year this performance proves to be one of our most satisfying.  This year we did the Zillertaler Wedding March and the Chicken Dance with audience participation. The response was exceptional with 10 couples for the wedding march and even more individuals for the Chicken Dance!  And the night ended with some good St. Pauli Girl beer or German wine and bratwurst, sauerkraut, blaukraut, potato salad and a satisfying smile.

The following is the BRIFD dance and activity schedule for the rest of the year:

Friday, November 14 will be party night for November.

There will be no dancing on November 21 and 28 because of Thanksgiving.

Dancing will resume on December 5th and our last Friday night folk dance of the year will be on December 12.

There will be no Friday night folk dancing on December 19 and 26 or January 2 for the Christmas and New Years holidays.

Dancing will resume for 2004 on Friday, January 9th.

The annual end of year Christmas Party will be on Saturday, December 13th this year and will be at the always warm and friendly home of Anita and Bruce Evans, 1674 Glenmore. Bring your Christmas cheer as well as contributions for the Pot Luck dinner including drinks and your innovative gag gifts for the Christmas tree.  The party will start at 6PM so we are counting on your attendance to warm the air and celebrate the year that is passing as well as the one that is coming.

And once again remember our BRIFD website:  complements of Webmaster Bill LeBlanc.  He will be posting this newsletter and you can read the past newsletters if you have a hankering to relive those wonderful dance happenings of past years and keep up with the future happenings.  

And that is all for 2003. Hope it has been a good one for everyone. Let’s make 2004 just as good or better! Happy Holidays.