Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2023

performersscheduleregistrationpumpkin carving contestother details

Back after after a 4-year hiatus…
OCTOBER 20-21, 2023

Phylla Mae (pronounced “fill-a-may”) is a music and dance party we throw each year on the third weekend in October. We always invite great musicians and callers from near and far, and we offer wonderful workshops and loads of dancing. We are also known for high spirits, tasty refreshments, decorations, camaraderie, and…well…pumpkins.

Featuring calling by Bev Bernbaum

And music by two great bands:


Catherine Sloboda (violin)
Matt Sloboda (fiddle, accordion, mandolin, jaw harp)
Tom Santarsiero (guitar, mandolin, accordion, foot percussion)

and Sister Haggis

Eileen Kalfass (fiddle)
Jane Knoeck (keyboard)

PMFF Schedule

Friday Dance Hall
6:30 – 7:30 Potluck Dinner
We’ll provide mulled cider and treats. Local dancers will provide the rest. If you are traveling from afar, just come and eat!
7:30 – 10:30 Friday Night Dance Party
Introducing Bev and Ostara!
Saturday Dance Hall Lounge
9:30 – 10:00 Coffee and Couple Dancing
Start the day with Sister Haggis
10:00 – noon English Country Dancing
Pamela and Sister Haggis
noon – 1:00 – Lunch Break –
Register early and purchase a tasty on-site lunch.
1:00 – 2:30 Contras that Fly
With Vikki and Ostara
Warm up or cool down
Stretch space for dancers
2:45 – 4:15 Balfolk Dancing
Tom Santarsiero and Ostara
Band Workshop
with Jane Knoeck
4:30 – 6:00 The Style Games – increase dance awareness
Bev and Sister Haggis.
Open Jam
Calling all musicians!
6:00 – 8:00 – Dinner Break –
Sample one of many nearby eateries.
7:30 – 8:00 Waltzing and More
Couple dancing with Sister Haggis
8:00 – 11:30 Saturday Night Dance Party
Bev and Ostara heat up the hall!

Register early for the Phylla Mae Fall Fest! It will save you money and allow you to reserve a lunch. When you pre-register, you can also request or offer local hospitality. And we’ll give you a PMFF button!

Click here to go to the Registration Page

Enter the Pumpkin Carving Contest

The PMFF is the only contra dance weekend with a pumpkin carving contest. Bring your carved pumpkin with you, or we’ll supply some that you can carve on Saturday. You could win a delicious homemade pumpkin cheesecake!

You Can Help — Volunteer!

Contact Patty at any time to volunteer for our dance organization, including if you’d like to help out at the Phylla Mae weekend. Volunteers may help with decorations, floor sweeping, kitchen duties, tear-down, etc. We also encourage you to bring something to our Friday potluck at 6:30 PM before the first dance of the weekend. Thanks for lending a hand!

Getting to Phylla Mae Fall Fest

Our venue this year is Grace Episcopal Church of Syracuse, 819 Madison St. (corner of University Avenue), Syracuse, NY 13210, down the hill from SU campus. There is limited parking in the church lot, but you can also park for free in the hotel lot one block south of the church at the corner of University and Harrison.

Local Accommodations

We cannot guarantee finding beds for everyone, but if you register a.s.a.p. and let us know that you would like to stay with a local dancer, we will do our best to match you with a good host.

Information on other local accommodations is available from

Check Out Previous Years of the PMFF

2019 – Will Mentor, Sarah VanNorstrand, Genticorum, and more
2018 – Dela Murphy, Tempest, Sister Haggis, and more
2017 – Gaye Fifer, David Kaynor, New Brew, and more
2016 – Bev Bernbaum, George Wilson, Andrew VanNorstrand, and more
2015 – Kathy Anderson, Pete’s Posse, and more
– Russet Trio, Seaglass, The Squash Family, and more
– Luke Donforth, Firefly, Happy Endings, and more
2012 – Adina Gordon, Montage, VanNorstrand brothers, Aaron Marcus, and more
2011 – David Kaynor, Magic Foot, and more

Who was “Phylla Mae”?

Phylla Mae was the “nom de dance” of Phyllis Antos — the name she always put on buttons or nametags at the many dance events she attended. Phyllis was one of the organizers who got our fall dance weekend off the ground in its first two years (1998 and 1999). Sadly, Phyllis died in a head-on collision on her way home from a clogging team rehearsal. Because Phyllis loved this fall dance weekend so much, and worked so hard on it, our Board voted unanimously to name it after her, and starting in the fall of 2000 it became The Phylla Mae Fall Fest.

Phyllis’s favorite contra dance was Delphiniums and Daisies by Tanya Rotenberg, and we often find a way to include it in the weekend.