The first meeting of the North Florida Square Dancers Association (NEFSDA)
was held on June 3, 1957 at the Jacksonville YMCA with dancers from
seven clubs in attendance.
The Original area covered by the
Association was the Northern portion of the State of Florida, extending
westward from the Atlantic Ocean across the Panhandle to the Alabama
The Florida Federation redrew
Association boundary lines in 1964 and again in 1984, bringing the total
number of counties incorporated in the Northeast to 13.
From 1957 until 1962 membership
in the Northeast Association was composed of individual dancers.
In 1962 membership was converted to the present policy of membership by
In 1953 a newsletter known as
The Grapevine was published by dancer Eddie Bowman. In 1960
publication of the newsletter was turned over to the Association and is
still being published "under contract" as a quarterly magazine.
The Grapevine has had approximately 15 Editors since its inception with the
current editors, Charlie & Sara Pergrossi, having held the job since
It remains Florida's oldest Square and Round Dance publication.
In 1974 the Association began a
Blood Bank program. In 2002 the delegates voted to support a
Charity Dance in 2003 with proceeds going to the Northeast Hospice in
lieu of the Blood Bank. In 2005 NEFSARDA supported the Donna Hicken Foundation (Breast Cancer) at its Charity Dance. NEFSARDA
dancers are still encouraged to continue their blood donations to the
On January 1, 1986 the name of the
Association was formally changed to Northeast Florida Square & Round
Dancers Association (NEFSARDA).
NEFSARDA has hosted 10 State
Conventions. The most recent being in 2005. This convention
was chaired by Charlie & Val Newsome. The next is the 2010
Convention which will be chaired by Bud & Anita Taylor.
Past Presidents have served as President of the Florida Federation.
Those still active are Dave & Shirley Nihart, Don & Bonnye Bell, Bee Dee
& Bessie Stovall and Jack & Kathy McKinney. In 2006 Charlie & Val
Newsome were elected to the Federation Board as Parliamentarian and now
hold the office of secretary.
May 26, 1996 Dave & Shirley
Nihart were inducted into the Florida Square Dance Hall of Fame.
In June 1997 Florida Hosted the
46th National Square Dance Convention with many Northeast dancers
working diligently towards the success of the event.
In 1998 Dave & Shirley Nihart
were appointed by the Federation President to serve as one of the two
Florida Federation representatives to the United Square Dancers of
America (USDA) and served in that capacity until June 1999. In
June 1999 Charlie & Val Newsome were appointed as Representatives to
USDA replacing the Niharts and served in that capacity until February
NEFSARDA, as well as several
clubs in the Association, hold benefit dances throughout the year for
various charities and through 2005 have raised over $125,000 for those
The 50th Annual Fall Festival
sponsored by NEFSARDA was held in 2003. A highlight each year is
the naming of the Dance Couple/Dancer of the Year. The names of
those winners are listed on our Dancer of the Year page.