Entertainment – I have found entertainment in many places. I watch the local paper for who is appearing where, and go to see them. Many times an expensive local entertainer will do a reasonable private gig if they can work it into their schedule before or after an appearance. I found Jed Clampit at a popular college hangout and he came to my house for an hour show for one-third what he usually charges. Just be brave and ask!
I have used great entertainment from local schools. They have small groups that they will send out for just a donation to the department.
I have also found great dance teams from local dance studios at a reasonable price. We found Lola and John – husband and wife team – at a luncheon and they came for six years in a row and always were costumed to fit the theme. They sang and kept the show together.
Centerpieces – We had a dining room table that seats 12, a kitchen table that seats 10 and card tables set up around the other rooms. Easy, inexpensive ideas come from magazines and creative friends. For the western theme, artificial sunflowers filled empty bean cans on each table. Mexican night was bright with colored flowers, mariachi shakers, Mexican pitchers, etc. French night featured a large container filled with loaves of French bread at the main table, French pottery, French travel posters, a book about how to speak French, black berets, etc. For Mardi Gras I used a large Ella Fitzgerald cookie jar I had. Look around your house and you will spot things: pictures on the wall or even pretty sheets that can be floated over a medium-sized box. L ook at all your trays, knick knacks on the book shelves. For the prom I found some pretty dancing couples in a magazine, enlarged them at Kinkos and copied them on very heavy paper. Then I cut them out and glued copies back-to-back and put them on all the tables. A little confetti and ribbon and voila!
Menus varied with theme.
Decorations – Check your attic, thrift stores, catalogs (such as Oriental Trading Company, Shindigz and Stumps). We have painted on walls and windows (easy to repaint after the party).
Summary – Most of the ideas have come from the participants and magazines such as Reunions. We plan the theme one year ahead so everyone has time to submit ideas and work on their act or skit. We usually have professional entertainment one night and our homegrown talent the other night. Sunday is “game day” and while the men watch the game the women usually gather and catch up on gossip.
About the author
Connie Auran, Fayetteville, Arkansas, grew up in a small North Dakota town and worked her way to a BS degree at the University of North Dakota, where she was elected Homecoming Queen. Her late husband was a returned Korean Veteran who had lost a leg in the conflict. They had three sons and lived most of their lives in Denver, Colorado.