This post didn't go where I had planned. I had planned on it being a description of the ball we attended last night in a positive light - but my thoughts took on darker notes and I decided to go with those thoughts.
One of the great things about our area that I do like is that there's a yearly ball held in October. It was started by a group of friends to celebrate the life of someone who'd died and who'd left them money to have a celebration for him. Unfortunately few know the original history of the Ball. In school I loved attending the proms each year. The first year I attended a prom I was in 8th grade but my boyfriend who was a junior and asked me to attend. The funny thing is I never attended my senior prom. The Ball is like a prom for grownups and a lot more fun to say the least. There's even an open bar which we never had at our high school proms. It was a huge surprise that a friend came from out of state to attend and never told anybody she was coming.
As great as the Ball has been, I'm wondering if it's not getting to large and will experience a slow death. As typical in our society, everything needs to be bigger and better - but is it necessarily better? When I first started attending the ball about 8 or 9 years ago there was 130 person capacity and it never sold out the first couple years I attended. We were a bunch of friends having fun - there was an intimacy to the group. Everybody knew most of the people or recognised them. Then the organizers changed a bit and with the increased promotion and popularity of the the ball started selling out. One couldn't wait until the night of the ball to buy tickets, you had to buy them in February when they went on sale to ensure you'd be able to attend or take a chance that somebody would be selling tickets prior to the ball. The decision was made that the venue wasn't large enough and we had to move to another location and increase the capacity to 200 and then the following year to 300. This year brought another change in venue with a 500 person capacity. Tickets sold out in just three weeks. This year also brought a change that the Ball was held inside a hotel instead of commuting people back and forth between. Due to problems with the venue this year there's talk of another new venue next year and a huge price increase that have people already grumbling.
The intimacy of the original Ball has fast fading. I no longer know most of the people attending. Larger and larger groups of strangers are coming and a lot of them are young. It's no longer about who has the best outfit but who has the biggest entourage with to vote them king or queen. Those that wear costumes don't bother even dressing to the theme of the ball anymore. The theme this year was Alice in Wonderland and yet a zombie won as king over a mad hatter and a march hare. Some spend outlandish amounts on costumes. A friend of mine confided he'd spent $1500 this year on a custom made costume for the Ball. It was absolutely beautiful version of the Johnny Depp's Alice's white queen - but seriously was it really worth $1500? Granted he got his picture taken with a lot of people and if attention is what you want..... Another friend also had a similar costume custom made and she was nominated for queen - she also lost out to a female zombie. I'm part of the group that dresses like this is a formal ball and I wear a formal long dress for it. I've also never spent more then $50 on a dress. I'm in agreement with those that don't like the costuming because we feel this is a ball and not a costume party. We use to brag about how cheap we got our dresses at garage sales and thrift stores - now people brag about how much they paid for custom ones.
Yes, I'm set in my ways and I don't like change for changes sake. I'm starting to hear the grumblings though and can't help wonder. Are the organizers starting to go too far in their attempt to make it bigger and bigger instead of allowing it to stay smaller and more intimate? Does everybody that says they want a ticket really have to have one? Do we really need people from other states attending? Will people get hotel rooms but not buy tickets and just meet up in the rooms instead, which is what's happened to another event in our area.
In all honesty, this ball felt like an ending. Of what I'm not sure. Possibly my morbid views are due to the fact we may not be here next year and it could very well have been my last Ball. The Ball has long since lost it's celebration aspect and has become a huge party and is now becoming a huge costume party. Maybe it will be easier for me that so I don't feel the loss of community so closely if we do in fact move. It's always a sad thing though when a book you enjoyed so much comes to an end and you have to close the cover. Whether or not there will be a sequel is unknown.