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Corydon has a Ball

Corydon has a Ball
Corydon has a Ball
Lorraine and Marty Hughes of Corydon dance in period costumes they rented for the occasion from Hayswood Theatre.

Hollywood’s award ceremonies has nothing on Corydon, except maybe the red carpet.
Dancing Through the Decades dinner and ball ‘ the first major event of 2008 in honor of the town’s 200th birthday ‘ was held Saturday night at the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon. There were lights, cameras, food, music, dancing and the premier of a video showcasing Harrison County.
‘I thought it couldn’t have gone any better,’ said Leah Porter, who chairs the birthday celebration committee. ‘It was totally supported by the community.’
Tickets were initially limited to 350, but sales actually exceeded 400, and there was a waiting list of people to call in case of cancellations.
Porter said the event ‘measured up in reality’ to her imagination.
Guests who arrived by shuttle provided by the Gerdon Youth Center were dropped off at a canopy decorated in tiny white lights over the Center’s steps. And hundreds of white lights were used to transform the gymnasium into an elegant setting.
‘It’s come a long way since I bought it,’ said Bill Gerdon, who spearheaded the renovation of the brick building that once housed Corydon’s junior high and high school.
Many of those at the event had attended school there, including Leah Fink, who recalled serving as the ‘kitten’ mascot when she was in the eighth grade.
‘I’ve never seen these rooms this nice,’ said Jim Kendall, Corydon’s police chief. He attended junior high there in the early 1970s.
Ty Adams of Corydon called the celebration an ‘amazing’ event.
‘It was wonderful to see the great building,’ he said. ‘Everybody’s having a great time.’
Amy Valentine, of Carrie’s Catering, prepared the meal ‘ Italian baked chicken, roast beef, cheesy potatoes, Carrie’s Classic Salad, green beans and rolls ‘ from scratch. (Dessert was prepared by Elvin’s Pastries.)
She said she received wonderful raves from ‘a diverse group of people’ and overheard many people reminiscing.
‘I’m just sorry that (other) people missed it,’ she said.
Bill Taylor gave the invocation prior to the meal, thanking God for His ‘many blessings bestowed’ on the committee responsible for organizing the event.
Another speaker was Fred Cammack, president of the Corydon Town Council.
After the meal, the Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau had a premier showing of its new promotional video.
Jim Epperson, CVB executive director, said he’s received numerous positive comments about the video.
More than one person, including Sharon McKiever and David Whittington, said that they were so impressed by what they saw in the video that they would move to the area … except they already live here.
‘It wasn’t just about Corydon,’ said Donn Blank. ‘It was the whole community’ of Harrison County.
Others told Epperson it was a ‘first-class production’ with regard to quality and style, he said.
Jason and Michelle Copperwaite, who moved to Corydon a few years ago, said the video was inspiring and contained many local aspects of Harrison County.
Kevin Darst of The Darst Group, which produced the 14-minute video from some 33 hours of footage shot by Darst and Bill Thomas during the past year, said the hardest part was putting it together in high definition. That HD effect is what makes the colors so brilliant.
Darst of Georgetown said he ‘finished’ the video Saturday morning but has some editing to do, such as explaining in more detail how the mill at Squire Boone Caverns works.
The script for the video was written by Bill Doolittle, a former Corydon resident who now resides in Louisville. Doolittle knew many of the stories told in the video and gathered information for the others.
‘I thought about it every day, especially at night,’ Doolittle said of the project, adding that there were countless more stories he would have liked to have included but couldn’t because it would have made the video too long for most schoolchildren, a target group for the video.
The video, dubbed ‘Harrison County, a big land in a small place,’ won’t be shown on a regular basis until the beginning of the tourism season next year, but Epperson said the CVB will look at other ways to use it between now and Spring 2009, including at the next birthday event, the June 7 unveiling of the O’Bannon Memorial on the Corydon town square. (That event also includes an ice cream social.)
Before the video is a daily occurrence at the Wright Interpretive Center in Corydon, there will be some tweaking done to it.
‘Yes, it’s an educational and promotional video, so it’s going to show the good stuff,’ said Epperson, adding that it’s come a long way since October when he saw the rough cut of it. ‘I noticed some things that I want to update.’
The Marlins, a popular musical group from Southern Indiana that got its start in Corydon, returned from its winter ‘home’ in Florida to play for the occasion.
‘They never come back (in the winter),’ Porter said.
The Marlins were perched above the gym floor on a stage built by the staff at the Gerdon Youth Center. (Porter praised Jennifer Best, executive director of the GYC, and her staff and volunteers, including her father, Ralph Best, and Boy Scouts, who helped make the celebration a success.)
‘You never know how things will turn out,’ commented Jan Frederick, Corydon’s town clerk-treasurer. ‘I thought it was very nice.’
She credited Porter’s sense of vision to the event’s success. ‘She has mine and about 100 people’s talent,’ Frederick said.
Porter, who said she couldn’t have pulled off the event without the assistance of Pam Bennett Martin (‘She’s willing to go the extra mile,’ said Porter of Martin), said preparations for the dinner and ball began a year and a half ago, with ‘intense’ work the last four weeks. Other members of the birthday committee, many of Corydon’s town employees and volunteers, including Ken and Cathy Horn, members of Phi Beta Psi, led by Margaret Hayes Walker, put in numerous hours the three days leading up to Saturday.
‘I thought it was comforting and hopeful,’ Porter summarized Monday afternoon. ‘It came at the end of a very hard week’ that was filled with tragedy for so many families in the county.
‘The community is a living entity,’ she said. ‘We are celebrating the thing that will continue to be here after we are all gone.’
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