Ball and dance rooms were once the centers of night life across Minnesota, attracting musicians from near and far and offering weekend entertainment for local crowds.
The venues have long since fallen out of popular culture, but many are still lovingly remembered by those with fond memories. One such ballroom, the Lake Marion Ballroom, was the site of popular entertainment, wedding receptions and even its own urban legend through the 20th century. It included performances from Wally Pikal, Jolly Lumberjacks, and 6 Fat Dutchmen. The octagonal ballroom was rebuilt from its original lakeside position after a fire in 1965 and now stands further uphill to the north.
Steve Krueger of Glencoe, who recently purchased the ballroom, would like to see it put to use as a place for families. Though several steps remain before his plans can be made final or official — not to mention the wrench thrown into the mix by COVID-19 — he cleared one obstacle at the Nov. 17 McLeod County Board meeting when commissioners agreed to a conditional-use permit for Krueger to operate a ballroom and event hall.
"Eager Krueger to try and open up a ballroom in the middle of a COVID crisis. I don't know what I'm thinking," he joked during the board meeting.
The conditions of the permit state:
- Hours of operation shall not exceed 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
- Designated parking shall be marked.
- Stamped architect/engineered plans denoting occupancy compliance shall be submitted to McLeod County Environmental Services prior to being open to the public.
- All Minnesota Department of Health regulations for food prep and service shall be met.
- A pumping agreement shall be submitted to McLeod County Environmental Services for the existing septic system prior to being open to the public.
The Collins Township Board unanimously recommended approval at its Oct. 8 meeting.
Krueger said he had already met with the food inspector and he was in contact with the fire marshal. He is working with the owners of the nearby supper club to improve parking.
"Everything seems to be proceeding well so far," he told board members.
Kreuger later said he hopes to have the space available for not only ballroom activities, but for local arts as well.
"I want it available for weddings," he said. "I want it more like a family center where we can do arts and crafts and games, and have lots of different things."