It has been said that all good things must come to an end.
Our story begins in 1936 when a group of people decided that with an uncertain future ahead and war looming, they wanted the ability to lighten their lives, if only for a short while. They all shared one thing in common: music, particularly in the form of big band dancing.
The formal dances originated as Waltz Night in 1936. They were originally held at the Mansion Guest House, but one year later, it moved to the Pine Room.
Couples danced to the waltzes, and the music was provided by 11 members of the Wheeling Symphony. The theme for the popular event shifted following the war, and Big Band music welcomed dancers to the floor. Waltzes were still enjoyed during the dances, but the rumba, cha-cha, tango and swing took on a new look and sound at the dances.
Waltz Night was given a new name in 1995, becoming the Formals at Oglebay. The attire was tuxes for men and ball gowns for the ladies.
Due to the aging population and economic conditions, there has been a decline in attendance. A decision was made by the board of directors to discontinue this event.
The final formal will be the Christmas dinner, Dec. 1 at the Pine Room, Oglebay. It will be a buffet dinner. (Santa Claus is expected).
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.. with dancing to the music of the Wally Merriman Group from 8-11 p.m.
Letters will be sent to the previous attendees, and further information can be obtained by calling Margaret Cooke at 304-242-5492 or Sue Patsche at 740-699-0083.
Formals at Oglebay is and always has been a nonprofit organization.
William and Susan Patsche