Students and alumni attend medieval ball

by Amber Foley

When the clock struck 8 p.m. on Saturday, University students and alumni stepped into King Arthur’s castle for a night in Camelot.
The 1998 Homecoming Ball tied into Homecoming’s “Let’s Get Medieval” theme with its own theme of “A Night To Remember.” An estimated 750 students, staff and alumni attended the ball in Coffman Union’s Great Hall.
Flags, shields and a miniature castle decorated the room, which was modeled after the Renaissance period and King Arthur’s castle.
Karen Lyons, a coordinator for the Homecoming Ball, said she was thrilled at the student turnout. Of the 750 tickets sold, she said an estimated 75 percent were purchased by students. Last year, students made up one-third of the guests.
“It’s a thrill to see we have more students here this year,” she said.
A live band, the Wolverines Orchestra, played at the ball. Ballroom and swing dance lessons were given to all who wanted to attend from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tonya Schuh, a senior in the Carlson School of Management, said that the music was “perfect; it’s something new, not something that you see all the time.”
But it wasn’t just students attending. Alumni also came to enjoy the festivities. Norma and Bob Burton came back to remember their first Homecoming dance 55 years ago.
“The dance is something for students to remember many years from now and for alumni to remember memories,” Lyons said.
Mixed among the crowd dressed in formal wear, a number of guests arrived in Renaissance attire, which Lyons said really helped set the mood and made things festive.
Medieval games and decorations also contributed to the mood. Oranges stuck with cloves were set on every table.
Dawn Stiers, a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism which focuses on the Renaissance period, said the oranges were meant to be exchanged among attendees.
When a guest gives another attendee an orange stuck with cloves, she said, it lets the recipient know the giver is interested in them.
If the recipient takes the clove out with their hand, the giver is permitted to kiss their hand; and if they take it out with their mouth, then the giver could give them a kiss on the lips.