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Get down at the Down Home Ball this weekend

Hosted for more than 15 years by Fredericksburg’s Downtown Greens, the Down Home Ball has become an annual tradition for many families in the area.

With a touch of humor, the guests of this “Elegant Hoedown” arrive donned in a mix of formal and farm attire—such as a cummerbund with overalls or tuxedo jacket with Bermuda shorts. This year, the talented local artists providing live entertainment include the Sons of Solomon, the Sunshine Syndicate, Larry Hinkle and Ask Fred.

A unique feature of the ball is a Family “Hour” from 6 to 8 p.m. Special activities for children begin with an opportunity to make their own smoothies by pedaling a stationary bike to power a blender. The Family Square Dance begins at 6:30 p.m., called by Fredericksburg’s own Steve Hickman, and accompanied by his crew of the Young Fiddlers.

At 7:15 p.m., the irresistible, uplifting percussion of the Marenja Marimba band will fill the venue. This unique eight-piece ensemble of musicians ranging in age from 8 to 18 will play a spectrum of Pan-African songs on handmade acoustic wooden instruments.

Parents who stay for the remainder of the hoedown will also be pleased to know that there will be  a kids’ game area  open throughout the evening.

“This is a rare opportunity for kids to step out with their parents,” said Sarah Perry, the event’s coordinator and director of Downtown Greens.

Festivities will also include a raffle and silent auction, refreshments and a cash bar. Proceeds from the Down Home Ball will support the Downtown Greens, a preserved green space at the southern entrance to historic downtown Fredericksburg that was created to provide empowering educational opportunities for children and nutritious foods for families.

What: 2013 Down Home Ball

Where: The Rec Center, 213 William St., Fredericksburg

When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 6 p.m. to midnight: Family “Hour” 6–8 p.m.

Cost: $15 individuals, $25 couple, $10 students and senior citizens, free for children.

Info:  540/371-7315; downtowngreens.org

Collette Caprara is a local  writer and artist.

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