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First Fridays Resume Feb. 2
With 'Return to Fournier's Ballroom'

RELEASED: Jan. 19, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — First Fridays will invite its senior citizen audience to "Return to Fournier's Ballroom" Friday, Feb. 2. Melissa Holmen, community programs coordinator for the Chippewa Valley Museum, will discuss the former Fournier's Dancing Academy and Ballroom, which operated in Eau Claire for 70 years.

A free continental breakfast will precede the formal program at Christ Church Cathedral, located on the corner of Lake and Farwell Streets in downtown Eau Claire. Doors will open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at 9 a.m.

For the safety of the program's senior citizen audience, the event will be cancelled if the Eau Claire Area School District has cancelled or delayed classes in the case of hazardous weather.

Holmen will discuss the rich history that Fournier's Ballroom had over the years. The dance academy and ballroom first opened in 1900 in a building that once had been home to an armory. In the 1950s and '60s Fournier's was the regional entertainment hot spot with internationally known performers such as Bobby Darin, Buddy Holly and Conway Twitty performing on its stage. Fournier's closed Feb. 27, 1971, and was torn down later that year. A historical marker now stands at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Ann Street, the 18th in a series of historical markers planned by the Eau Claire Landmarks Commission along the waterways and city trail system.

First Fridays programs are presented on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community. Persons whose "season passes" have been stamped each month will be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the May presentation. The program is funded in part by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts, by a grant from Xcel Energy, and by contributions from the Great Harvest Bread Company and Elliot Roberts.

First Fridays is coordinated by Beverly Soll and Jennifer Brockpahler of the UW-Eau Claire Activities and Programs office and is hosted by Scott and Heather Kirby of Christ Church Cathedral. The mission of First Fridays is to provide no-cost entertainment and educational experiences for senior citizens of the extended Chippewa Valley community through shared community and university sponsorship.

For more information about First Fridays or to be placed on a mailing list, call 715-836-2787 [ARTS].

-30-

JS/NW

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