The cowboys are back in town!

Queen City Stomp returns with familiar faces and some new changes

It’s time to pull out the cowboy hats and your dancing boots because Queen City Stomp is back in town from April 20–22. The annual country dance weekend is a product of Southern Country Charlotte (SCC) and has been a huge success in the community for years. This year promises to be a continuance of good times, friendly faces and plenty of country line dancing with a few new changes to boot.

According to their website, SCC’s mission is “to support local charities and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender events while promoting country and western music and dance.” It was established in 1991 as a club of like-minded people wishing to celebrate the country music legacy of the South. As SCC’s participation grew and their contributions to local organizations increased, the group established itself as a non-profit organization. SCC is also a member of the International Association of Gay and Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs (IAGLCWDC), which serves as a hub for other similar organizations to coordinate events and promote activities within the community.

SCC reports that they have donated over $100,000 in the past years to multiple organizations chosen by SCC membership including American Cancer Society, Pride Charlotte, House of Mercy and many more. In order to uphold their mission to support local organizations, SCC holds a number of fundraisers including car washes, auctions, yard sales and, of course, Queen City Stomp. The beneficiaries from the proceeds of Queen City Stomp this year will be One Voice Chorus, The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte and Time Out Youth.

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Queen City Stomp was originally held at The Eagle in Charlotte until the establishment closed in 2009. For the past two years the event has taken place at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel, but this year Queen City Stomp is returning to a local bar and the venue just seems like a perfect fit. Hartigan’s Irish Pub, 601 South Cedar St,. will be the location for the majority of the weekend festivities. The host hotel will be Residence Inn Uptown, 404 S. Mint St., located in walking distance from Hartigan’s.

Board member Robbie Furr explained that there were several reasons for the venue change this year. The rate increase to host the event again at Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel played a factor in the decision making, but even more was the response from members and the public to move the event back to a local pub. “We heard from people in the community that they felt more comfortable when the event was held at a local bar. Hartigan’s is the home bar for Southern Country Charlotte so it just felt like a good fit.” SCC believes that this change will bring more business to their home bar, as well as bring more new faces to the event this year.

Returning instructors Pepper Sharp and Ronnie Mark, as well as new teachers, will be there to lead classes during the three-day event. There will be a tent outside Hartigan’s where line dancing lessons will take place all day Saturday and Sunday morning. There will be couple’s dancing in Hartigan’s lower level. Cocktail parties will occur at Residence Inn Uptown during the evenings. Festivities will conclude with a dance and brunch at Hartigan’s on Sunday.

More than just fundraising and country dancing, the SCC and Queen City Stomp provide a friendly and fun environment which celebrates the LGBT community and country music. The fun, safe and inclusive environment has been a major appeal for many, and the reason so many people return to the event each year. Current SCC President Dustin Bass and his partner first participated with SCC in 2008 when they moved to Charlotte. The welcome they received from the group enticed them to join and they are still active members today.

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Board member Robbie Furr has similar feelings about his first encounter with SCC and Queen City Stomp. “I am a country music fan. I enjoy dancing. My first experience at a gay bar was at Stomp in 2007 and I was hooked! It was incredible the amount of people and the dancing.” Since then he’s become a member of SCC and is on his second year as a board member of the organization.

The beneficiaries of Queen City Stomp are honored to be recognized by SCC and, in turn, work with SCC to provide volunteers to support the events of the weekend. “STOMP is important to our community not only for the financial support it provides to The Center and other organizations, but for the opportunity it provides for the LGBT community to embrace and celebrate our love of country music and dance!” says Center board chair John Stotler. “It brings participants from all over the country to Charlotte for some real Southern hospitality and country fun.”

If you are interested in learning more about how you can volunteer to help support Queen City Stomp and the benefitting organizations, contact info@gaycharlotte.com.

There is still plenty of time to register for this year’s Queen City Stomp. For more information about hotel accommodations, specific event times and more, visit southerncountrycharlotte.com and queencitystomp.com. : :

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Posted by O'Neale Atkinson

O'Neale Atkinson is a former editor of QNotes, serving in the position from Jan. 23, 2012 to June 15, 2012. His first issue as editor was published on Feb. 4, 2012. His last issue was published June 23, 2012. O'Neale currently serves as operations manager of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte.