Fort Worden workshop returns after four year hiatus

Fort Worden workshop


Located in beautiful Port Townsend, Washington, the Fort Worden Scottish Country Dance Workshop weekend has been a tradition for dancers in the Pacific Northwest since 1975. We had just marked the 45th anniversary of the event in 2019 when the pandemic closed everything down. The workshop was put on pause from 2020-2023 and is now returning to the delight of both new and returning dancers.

Fort Worden State Park started life as an active US Army installation on the Puget Sound from 1902 until 1953. The site was later acquired by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and opened as a state park and multi-use recreation facility in 1973. The officers’ housing was restored and made available for vacation rentals. Of note, the 1982 acclaimed film, An Officer and a Gentleman, was filmed at the park.

Over the years, attendees of the Fort Worden SCD Workshop have gathered to meet friends old and new, listen to amazing musicians, learn from great teachers, and of course dance the weekend away. We’ve welcomed dancers, teachers, and musicians not only from the west coast of North America, but from across the USA and Canada and also the UK, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and more. I began attending the workshop in 2009 as a new Scottish Country dancer. I was enchanted by both the location of the event and all the friendly dancers who invited me onto the dance floor. When not actively dancing, some of my favorite things to do were to stroll down to the sandy beach and enjoy the views of the Puget Sound or to go to into Port Townsend and enjoy a cone of the Dutch Malt ice cream from Elevated Ice Cream & Candy Shop. I kept coming back year after year and eventually joined the committee that made the workshop such a success.

Lizzie Wratten, my fellow co-chair on the organizing committee, has fond memories of sitting on the Officers Row porches, listening to music and drinking tea and gin and tonics. This would be followed by dancing until well after midnight. Once the ball finished, the after party would be in full swing.

Things have changed since the last time we met for the Fort Worden SCD Workshop weekend. New dancers have joined our community and several dear friends won’t be coming back. But this workshop has left such an impression on those who have been there that a new planning committee has formed to bring the workshop back to Fort Worden.

Whether or not you have attended this in the past, we hope that you will consider joining us this Fall for the return of the Fort Worden Scottish Country Dance Workshop (October 4-6, 2024).

Sarah Manchanda (Co-chair of the planning committee)


Fort Worden workshop 2024

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