Original article published in the Mower County Independent, Thursday, April 20, 2023. Reprinted with permission and gratitude.
By Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
When the clock strikes six, have a ball on Broadway and generate some startup for the Project.
“A group of us held a masquerade ball seven years ago to raise some funds for playground equipment at the school. It was a great fundraiser and a fun event, so we decided to host another one to generate some startup funds for ‘The Broadway Project,’” stated Spring Valley Business Alliance (SVBA) member Jenn Slifka, donning her masquerade costume in preparation for the grand masquerade ball set for this Saturday, April 22, in downtown Spring Valley.
The ball is an effort to advance the SVBA’s support of the numerous community improvement and event projects the organization has undertaken. As Slifka noted, “This a formal event, but people can have fun with it. The idea of a masquerade ball is to wear a mask of some sort. We will have masks at the door, and they are not required for the entire event, but the theme is ‘masquerade.’ We want people to get creative…this is all about creative freedom. We will have food, full bar, casino games, silent auction, a display and Q&A about ‘The Broadway Project,’ and a photo booth at Photography by Kari. Daniel Hayes Hall will be playing piano music during social hour. Players from Brave Community Theatre (BCT) will be doing songs and shows of Broadway hits, including songs from ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘Mamma Mia,’ ‘Greatest Showman’ and many more. Chateau de Chic has partnered with area stylists and The Nova Academy in Rochester to put on an avant-garde masquerade runway show where students and stylists can show off their hair, makeup and costuming skills.”
She elaborated while referring to Spring Valley’s monthly Wednesdays on Broadway downtown summer celebrations, “We are looking to raise some initial funding for ‘The Broadway Project,’ which is an idea our group was presented with, and we are wanting to push forward. The plan entails improvements to downtown Spring Valley through better signage, lighting, additional seating and landscaping. Our goal is to turn Broadway into a place, not just a street. We want the vibe that we get from Wednesdays on Broadway to resonate through downtown all of the time.” The SVBA’s Facebook page mirrored that statement, reading, “‘The Broadway Project’ explores several ideas and potential changes for improving safety, pedestrian access and accessibility, and traffic flow, as well as making the heart of our town more appealing through landscaping, signage, public seating and gathering spots.”
Slifka explained that the SVBA “is formed of area business owners who wanted to come together to work on projects and events that will push Spring Valley forward as a community… we have a very passionate group of people working together to plan and bring new ideas out of the woodwork, and we want to see our community thrive.” She continued, “Our group consists of business owners and people who are passionate about Spring Valley and want to push this town forward. A lot of exciting things are happening in Spring Valley, and we want to see that continue. As business owners, we are movers and shakers, and we need to work together to make sure our community is growing and thriving. We are just coming to the end of our first year of being organized. In our first year, we have started Wednesdays on Broadway, as well as the SVBA Winter Market. We have partnered with Fins & Films and The Ron Merkel Cratebox Derby to assist with planning and overseeing those events. We started the Angel Wing Project, which is a mural project to help bring additional art downtown. Last month, we started our first membership drive which has already been a huge success. Now, one of our main goals is ‘The Broadway Project’ and improvements to downtown. As we see so much growth on the outskirts of town with new businesses coming, additional housing going up…we want to make sure our downtown is beautiful and thriving, as it is the heart of our town.”
The owner of Spring Valley’s affectionately named “Spring Valley mini-mall,” a run of four buildings on the northwest end of downtown Broadway that encompasses Slifka’s salon, her clothing boutique, her mother’s cake shop and Stellar 181 Taphouse (the establishment that she and her husband, Alex, operate) reiterated that varying generations of current Spring Valley businesspeople have collaborated to underwrite volunteerism for several Broadway events. “The SVBA has a lot of exciting things coming up. Wednesdays on Broadway kicks off in June and will go through October; Fins & Films and The Ron Merkel Cratebox Derby are July 14 and 15. Plus, with the weather getting nicer out, we hope to see some expansion to our Angel Wing Project and some additional murals downtown. It will be a busy and exciting summer downtown. Our SVBA board is small, and we would love to see additional members. Everyone is welcome to come to our meetings and be a part. We also have separate groups for Fins & Films, Wednesdays on Broadway and ‘The Broadway Project.’ If you are just passionate about one of those things, you are welcome to join in on those committee meetings as well.”
Sometimes, being “passionate” about something means that one must cave in and hold a masquerade ball. “This event is being hosted by the SVBA, but the goal is to bring awareness to ‘The Broadway Project.’ We will have an area at the masquerade ball that will have information about the SVBA and ‘The Broadway Project’ as well as all of the other events we are a part of. The masquerade is going to be fun because the entertainment will be off the hook. Exciting music and performances from the BCT group that will have a smoke show and lighting effects…and it will jump right into a high-energy runway show with out-of-this-world looks. It will be the perfect combination of music, performing arts and art. Your ticket to the masquerade ball gets you all-you-can-eat food and desserts provided by Some Like It Hot. It will be a wide variety of small plates, appetizers, and amazing desserts. Stellar 181 will also have a full cash bar, with proceeds going toward ‘The Broadway Project.’ It is a formal event, but we really want everyone to dress their comfort level. If you want to come in shorts and a T-shirt, you won’t get turned away.” She went on to state, “For $50, this masquerade ball is a fun night out full of food and entertainment…a great event to bring our community together for a great cause.”
The Spring Valley Business Alliance will hold its SVBA Masquerade Charity Ball this Saturday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the Spring Valley Community Center, 200 S. Broadway Ave., Spring Valley. For more information, log onto the Spring Valley Business Alliance’s Facebook page.
Courtesy of the Mower County Independent, 135 E Main St. LeRoy, MN 55951, (507)-324-5325