What a wonderful time awaits all who attend the Valentine’s Charity Ball beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at historic Central Hall in Dover-Foxcroft.
Proceeds benefit four area nonprofits: Womancare, a community-based organization working to end domestic violence; the Piscataquis Regional YMCA; Friends of Central Hall; and Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce.
Tickets, which include appetizers, desserts, beverages, a 50-50 raffle and a cash bar, are $25 each and are available by calling Womancare at 564-8165 or PRYMCA, 564-7111, or at Mr. Paperback on East Main Street.
For the past three years, Womancare has sponsored this event and held it at Penquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft.
But Cindy Cyr of Womancare told me, “We began to work with the local Chamber of Commerce because they also have a Harvest Ball in the fall, and the Y has a summer dance, and we all wondered if there was a way to build on this momentum and include all of our organizations” in a single event.
Then along came Friends of Central Hall, an organization working to restore and preserve the 1880 facility that used to house the Dover-Foxcroft Town Office before its move to a vacated school.
“The energy around Central Hall is just very exciting,” Cindy said of the group working to restore that facility.
“Central Hall has been languishing, and many people were concerned about the historic quality of the building so, through the Historical Society, they formed Friends of Central Hall in an attempt to revitalize the building.”
While it is hoped the first floor will house a senior center, including an adult day care program, the Friends also hope to restore “all the upstairs, which is lovely; an old historic venue,” Cindy said.
Town meetings, Foxcroft Academy senior proms and basketball games are among the events that used to take place there, she added.
“So, really, all of the folks involved” in the building’s restoration “saw great value in bringing dancing and some life back to a wonderful, old building,” Cindy said of the coming event.
You don’t even have to dance to enjoy this special occasion.
Cindy predicts the music will be “fabulous” with Shane Ellis and the Foxcroft Academy Alumni Band donating their talents.
“I know it’s hard for people to think about getting dressed up and going out but, once they are there, they will be very happy,” Cindy said.
Since the band is donating its time, the hosts will make a donation to its scholarship fund, and attendees can add to that donation by dedicating a song, for $10, for their special someone.
“The playlist will be up, so somebody may want to be the first to dedicate ‘My Funny Valentine’” to their loved one, Cindy suggested.
All the food has been donated as well, courtesy of the fine cooks who are members of the MIOSAC Women’s Club, “and the decorations will be wonderful, too,” Cindy said.
If you’ve seen the posters, online or out and about, you also might appreciate knowing the valentine on the poster was made by Dorothy Gray, now in her 90s, for her seventh-grade teacher.
Anyone with connections to Dover-Foxcroft who remembers Central Hall also might want to get involved in this restoration project by becoming a donor, just as your predecessors did.
Central Hall, Cindy told me, was built through seeking pledges of $250 (plus or minus) from town residents.
To begin the current restoration work, Friends of Central Hall followed that lead “and went out to the public and achieved their goal of raising $25,000 pretty quickly, just to maintain the building for the time being,” Cindy said.
To learn more about saving Central Hall, visit www.dover-foxcroft.org and scroll down on the menu to Friends of Central Hall.
In the meantime, get your dancing shoes out, buy a ticket or two, and ready yourself for some good, old-fashioned fun at the Valentine’s Charity Ball at Dover-Foxcroft’s historic Central Hall.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; email@example.com; 990-8288.