Download the 2017 Spring Fling Entry form here SFENTRY 2017
You can download the Spring Fling 2014 Program from here: SFProgram
Spring Fling and the Chicago Open Championship
On February 22nd, 2014, we celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the Spring Fling Competition! Back in 1992, several of the dance parents thought we needed an additional competitive event at the beginning of the year in Chicago. Plans were put in place, a location was found, Diane Krugh from Houston, Texas was hired as our judge. The Drake Oak Brook served as our location for the first few years. One year, shortly after the event, the Drake closed for a major remodeling and renovation project that was scheduled to be completed at the beginning of the following February. Two weeks before the event, the Drake notified us that they did not have their occupancy permits and that we would not be able to hold the competition at the hotel. After several days and many panicked phone calls, we were able to secure Nordic Hills Resort in Itasca that had a ballroom available to meet our needs as well as sleeping rooms to accommodate our participants.
We spent a few years at Nordic Hills until the competition just got too big for the room. At the time, Nordic Hills was partnered with Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, so the transition was fairly easy. Indian Lakes was a lovely facility with multi-sided ballrooms. We soon decided that one ballroom wasn’t enough so we added the second one and by that time we were also big enough to bring in two judges. The premier entry had been large and the idea of turning the event into a Championship was being discussed. Three judges were hired, every inch of the stage was in use during the morning competition with 9 dancers across and the entry for the first Chicago Open Championship was so large that the dancing went on for hours! Adding a third ballroom was out of the question due to the unusual configuration of the ballrooms and the hotel wanted to move us to a January timeframe to better accommodate their schedule. (read – bagpipes do not make for good neighbors next door to business conferences).
By this time, Nordic Hills had been razed, rebuilt and remodeled as the Eaglewood Resort and was more than willing to have us back with the availability of a 7000 square foot ballroom with walls at a 90 degree angle and at the end of the building where our noise level would not be a disruption, not to mention changing rooms, bathrooms, grab and go stations close at hand, along with a large foyer that could easily accommodate our vendors and photographer. I failed to mention that back in the day at the Drake, one of the dance dads, Bill Gillies from Davenport, IA took pictures of every one of the dancers at the beginning of the competition, ran the film over to the one hour photo developers and was back in time with the photos to insert the winners picture in the photo plaques similar to what we are still using today. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Lori Greene for coming out and taking digital staged and action shots each year! Not wanting the dancing to carry on into the night, we bit the financial bullet and hired six judges allowing us to run 18 dancers across the stage for the morning events and two platforms for the Championship. The number of dancers continued to increase and at our peak, we had 217 registered competitors.
We are indeed fortunate to be one of the largest competitions in the Midwest and certainly the largest indoor event and the list of competitors reads like a who’s who of highland dancing, drawing top name dancers from over 20 states and several Canadian provinces.
The date for 2015 will be Saturday, February 28th, with a workshop on Sunday, March 1st. Sponsorship opportunities are available ranging from medal sets, to sponsoring a judge! Watch for the entry form to be posted on the site sometime in late November.