Definition: a loud or spectacular affair (as a social or theatrical event)
The earliest meaning of hoedown was “a lively old-time dance.” We have evidence of written use as far back as the 1830s, as seen in the citation below:
These articles were taken from a Mrs. Roberts, who lived in the same house with her, while the owner was tripping it on the “light fantastic toe” at a hoe-down, break-down, “whoop-ze-zaw,” or some other merry-making that kept her from home until the break of day.
—The Baltimore Sun, 10 Jun. 1839
Of the terms given in this article hoedown, breakdown, and trip the light fantastic all retain some currency as words to describe dancing (although only hoedown has taken on the extended meaning of “party, event”). Whoop-ze-zaw, we regret to inform you, lacks sufficient lexical evidence to merit inclusion in our dictionary.
There was quite a hoedown at the Pope’s summer place yesterday.
—Francesca Chapman, Philadelphia Daily News, 24 Sept. 1999