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Special Events

Private clubs tweak long-standing events

Father-daughter dances, New Year's Eve parties--themes for events at private clubs have changed little over the years. But that doesn't mean that the events themselves haven't changed.

Private clubs are banking on long-standing events that get oh-so-subtle tweaks to keep up with changing times. For example, the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis first opened in 1903 and has been in its current clubhouse since 1916. Its Father-Daughter Banquet began in 1947 and was an instant hit--after the initial 525 tickets sold out for its first foray, the club added another 208 seats. Director of communications Jim Wilson describes the event as an upscale evening of dinner and dancing and says, "Girls of all ages attend--baby girls, and even some adult women go to this event with their dads."


While Wilson claims the event remains "really pretty traditional," it has received some tweaks over the years. For example, the 1947 spelling bee that pitted daughters against fathers--with victory going to the females--was abandoned in favor of charades in 1948. Themes became popular in the '50s and '60s--such as Hawaiian or circus motifs. In its current incarnation, the Father-Daughter Banquet includes the very popular horse-and-carriage rides through downtown St. Louis. Another change to the event--the addition of music--also reflects changing times. The 1947 event featured a "traveling microphone," with the emcee walking into the audience and tapping guests to sing solos. In 1951, a community sing began the evening; now, participants take a stab at karaoke.

See the full story in the March issue of Special Events Magazine.

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