By Billy Tuite —

On Nov. 1, University of Wisconsin–Stout students and Menomonie townsfolk traded in their scary costumes for more formal dresses and extravagant masks and danced the night away at the Memorial Student Center Great Hall for the First Annual Masquerade Ball.

The Masquerade Ball was hosted by the Menomonie Sunrise Rotary, which provides humanitarian services to the local community. Steve Machesky, president elect of the Rotary Club, says the idea for the Masquerade Ball came about as a way to fill a void in the autumn season.

“If you take a look around, you’ll notice there’s really not a big fall event in Menomonie,” Machesky said. “We’ve been kicking around ideas for a couple years. We brought the idea of a masquerade to a number of student organizations and they loved it.”

The Rotary Club was committed to authenticity with this event, creating a decadent and luxurious atmosphere similar to masquerade balls of the 15th and 16th centuries. The Great Hall was filled with formal attire, glamorous dances and extravagant masks galore. The illustrious atmosphere was further underscored by The Dean’s List, a 17-piece big brass band, as they played a wide range of jazz and swing tunes appropriate for such a fancy ball.

Party-goers were also treated to dance lessons, a photo booth, an assortment of delicious food and a chance to meet our very own chancellor Bob Meyer.

In true Menomonie Sunrise Rotary fashion, the proceeds for the event will help fund a student scholarship, although the specifics on the scholarship are still to be determined. However, making money isn’t a big concern for the Rotary Club this year.

“The takeaway from this year is we want it to be fun and we want it to be memorable,” Machesky said. “We want people who didn’t attend to be encouraged to come in the future.”

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