The Shooting Stars Square Dancers of Hays are preparing for their annual Snowball Festival — a two-day dance event that begins Friday and is held in the Black and Gold Room in Fort Hays State University’s Memorial Union.

Every Monday, members of Shooting Stars Square Dancers meet at the Reed Development Center, 317 W. 13th, with special dances usually held once a month.

“There used to be more than one square dance club in Hays,” said Peg Anschutz, club caller and instructor. “Eventually, there was just one club, and it’s the Shooting Stars club now.”

Co-secretary Carol Gordon said she greatly enjoys being a member.

“It’s my main form of exercise, it’s my stress reliever and my social activity,” she said. “Square dancing is just a really good family activity with a lot of friendly people.”

The group looks forward to the Snowball Festival each year — a weekend-long event that features guest callers, cuers, instructors and dancers who gather for hours of round and square dancing, workshops and more.

“Just this last fall, we lost our mentor caller, Albert Braun, so this year’s (event) will be dedicated to him and his wife, Stella,” Anschutz said.

The festival is not a competition. Instead, dancers participate simply for the enjoyment, with some workshops welcoming newcomers.

The schedule of events include an area callers and round dance from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Friday with cuers Kevin and Diane Denning, an introduction to round dance workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, followed by a mainstream and plus square dance workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. with featured caller Jeff Palmer, Colorado Springs, a plus dance from 3 to 5 p.m., and evening dancing beginning at 7 p.m. including seven rounds, a grand march and a flag presentation. The event is expected to end at approximately 10:30 p.m.

“The round dance workshop is open to anyone,” Anschutz said. “The other workshop in the afternoon for square dancing, they would have to have some experience.”

Spectators are welcome to attend the Snowball Festival for free.

“Square dancing is a lot of fun, it’s good exercise and you get to meet people and socialize, like at events like this,” Anschutz said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

For questions or additional information, call Anschutz at (785) 483-0660.