Grand Ball celebrates Nevada's birthday

With a swish of hoop skirts, the old ballroom at the Brewery Arts Center will be transformed to the 1860s for this year's annual 1864 Grand Ball.

For five years Linda Suzanne-Wood and her husband, Gregory Wood, have been attending the ball, which celebrates Nevada's Inaugural Ball. She said she's lucky enough to have a husband who loves dancing as much as her, but dancing in a period hoop skirt adds extra challenges to each step.

"He told me once, 'When you're dancing, you're like steering an old Packard. You turn faster than your skirt,'" Suzanne-Wood said. "You have to dance kind of slow. You have to allow for yards of heavy fabric."

She said the base of her homemade dress measures about 10 yards at the bottom. Despite the logistical problems of such a large dress in modern times, each year she in her hoop skirt and Wood in his tails head to the ball. The ball, with its waltzes, reels, square dancing and swing, may be your type of event "if you enjoy dancing, if you enjoy the beauty of the swish of old skirts, the look of men with tails on their coats," Suzanne-Wood said.

"It's like being a kid again," she said. "You get to get dressed up, and for a girl, you get to twirl."

Built in 1864, the Brewery is a particularly appropriate place for this ball because "it's a period building," she said. "The ambiance is very fun and uplifting."

Yolanda Garcia, chairwoman of the 1864 Grand Ball committee, said the ball is "just a little birthday party for Nevada."

In keeping with tradition, all attendees are asked to come in period outfits, but modern, formal party dress is acceptable.

"Whether you love to dance, or just come to enjoy the fashions and delectable food, you will have a wonderful, memorable evening," Garcia said.

This year's entertainment again will be Russ Lindquist's Sierra Swing Big Band, a 10-piece band, including trumpets, saxophone and rhythm section. Dance master Gus Gustafson will guide lead both experienced and novice ballroom dancers in the Grand March, the Virginia Reel and other period pieces, Garcia said. The ball starts at 8 p.m. and winds up at midnight.

The event is $40 per person and guests will dine on an hors d'oeuvres meal, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and wine. Reservations are accepted through Tuesday.

Tickets are available at the Nevada Day Committee office, 1900 S. Carson St., Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, 1900 S. Carson St. and Sasha's City Boutique, 318 N. Carson.

For period gowns, tuxedos and tickets try Revelations, 512 N. Curry St.

For information, call the Nevada Day Office at 882-2600 or Garcia at 882-1405.


What: 1864 Grand Ball

When: 7:30-11:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.

Tickets are $40 per person. For information, call 882-1405.


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