The Country Line Dance Marathon began in 2002 as a crazy idea of the Suomussalmi country line dancing association Country Club Dancing Bootlegs. The originators of the event, Esko Holappa, Seija Karppinen, Tatu Rossi ja Sari Rossi, have arranged the best country happening of the year 13 times already, and it keeps growing in popularity year after year.
Now Iisalmi's Western Club Savo continues this great tradition. The event takes place in the Iisalmi community hall, where there's plenty of space for all the dancers who come from all over Finland to enjoy the charms of country.
The way this laid-back and easy-going - and free! - event works is that country music is played for 24 hours (from 9:00 a.m. Saturday to 9:00 a.m. Sunday). During that time, there's always someone on the dance floor doing country line dancing. Nobody has to dance the whole time, but watch out -- When you catch "marathon fever", it's hard to resist the temptation to dance non-stop!
Great care and thought is given to the dance list created for each marathon. It includes both fun classics and great new dances, and it's danced through four times during the marathon. During the first time on Saturday, dances are reviewed if needed, but, if it's possible, it's worth trying to get to know the dances beforehand. After each six-dance "set", the magnificent DJ Arto also takes requests from the folks at the marathon. So, remember to bring your favorite songs with you or to send them in advance to Arto.
Arto also himself creates a brand-new dance for each marathon, and his teaching of it in the wee hours has become downright legendary.
The marathon often includes as well, for example, a live country band, "surprise guests" all the way from America, teaching of some easy dances, dance shows and other country fun. So - even if you don't do country line dancing yourself, you're sure to have a good ol' country time at the Country Line Dance Marathon.
Welcome to Iisalmi and
the finest country happening
Once upon a time 17 years ago..
We were sitting around one evening and we started thinking this crazy thought - How would it be? Could we do it? Dance country 24 hours non-stop... Well, we found out when:
"Two crazy Kainuu country hicks
Knowin' no better came to the sticks.
The folks around called them "pioneers"
"And country dancers too," they sneered.
A country club they did create
and the first marathon, which was great.
Since then it's happened every year.
The event to country dancers so dear!
Before the head honcho was even fired,
a new DJ was quickly hired.
He found the dances their right songs.
And people filled the floor in throngs.
You just want to dance more and more,
even though your feet are really sore.
The beat thumps and pounds.
And the dancers go round.
I change my shirt and waltzes I skirt.
I'm so crazy 'bout country
but here the folks know me.
So the same ol' jeans I keep puttin' on
and it's off again to the marathon!