Historic ballroom site of big events
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
NEW BERN – A successful New Year’s Eve gala at the newly renovated Stanly Ballroom on the second floor of a Pollock Street building has spurred organizers to promote an even larger attraction – the ‘Dance With Me Valentine’ event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16.
Several months ago, avid ballroom dancers John DeFino of Oriental, Andy Lelewer of Havelock, and Bernie Mallon of New Bern discussed where they might take their ladies for a New Year’s ballroom dance. Previously, they had gone to Florida or Virginia to find a suitable event.
As the three men pondered options, they wondered why there wasn’t something closer and quickly decided to create their own event. They discovered that the Stanly Hall historic ballroom was available on New Year’s Eve and promptly reserved the venerable location.
The three men, and their ladies, imagined a New Year’s Gala Ball reminiscent of years past. Stanly Hall, a magnificent ballroom from the 1800s was the perfect location. With its 20-foot ceilings, 10-foot crystal chandeliers, and massive 3,600 square foot. real wood floor, it was a ballroom dancer’s dream-come-true. Their goal was to create a truly elegant, semi-formal / formal, ballroom dance event.
Over the next few months, their plans came together. They created a website. They arranged special rates at local hotels. They hired a local pianist, Brandon Wade Banks, to serenade the guests as they arrived and hired local singing talent Von Lewis as a surprise guest singer.
The music for the night was designed for ballroom dancing. The ballroom was decorated to provide a special ambience. During the five hours of the Ball, the floor never wanted for dancers. Dance enthusiasts came from various parts of the state to attend and were not disappointed.
The night was certainly one to remember.
The three men have now set the bar even higher for their Feb. 16 event. Visit www.DanceWithMeValentine.com for complete details, and see an ad for the gala on pages 16 and 17 of this newspaper.