Fall Gala continues to grow

Nicole Paseka

One of Iowa State’s oldest Homecoming traditions was brought to life Saturday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Students arrived at the Fall Gala semi-formal dance in suits and cocktail dresses to enjoy the elegant atmosphere, complete with all the trimmings.

“The valet parking was really cool,” said Jennie Erwin, freshman in computer engineering.

Balloons in the autumn colors orange, yellow, maroon and navy floated across the dance floor in the candlelit Great Hall. A large gray replica of the Campanile and antique streetlights carried out the night’s theme “As Time Goes By.”

“It’s so pretty in here and very romantic,” said Katie Vanweelden, junior in pre-business. “It’s kind of nice to have a random event to get dressed up and go out to.”

The Fall Gala is an ISU tradition that dates back to 1912. Students attended the autumn ball for seven decades, until the tradition was discontinued in 1972.

Last year, the Government of the Student Body, the Student Alumni Leadership Council and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences brought the Fall Gala back for Homecoming Week. This year’s Gala was sponsored by GSB, Student Alumni Leadership Council, the University Themes Committee and a special incentive grant.

“Organizers felt that it would be great to offer students an event that was substance-free,” said Gina Hertz, GSB director of arts and entertainment.

Many tickets to the Fall Gala were given to students to generate interest in the dance last year, she said. But this year, most tickets were purchased in advance of the Gala.

“It was a high-quality event last year, and students wanted to come back,” said Hertz, senior in management information systems. “The number of tickets sold has dramatically increased.”

ISU students, faculty and alumni danced to the tunes of Dr. Feelgood, who kept the crowd moving to a mix of contemporary rock and oldies. Hertz said the band was selected because they were very professional and had a good demo.

“We thought they would do an excellent job,” she said.

The ISU Ballroom Dance Company offered complimentary dance lessons to the crowd.

“Everybody looks like they’re having fun tonight,” Hertz said.