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Carnival Ball



The Carnival Ball was originally planned as an event to be held in case of inclement weather, but it has since become one of the most popular events of the school year at Middlebury.  The Carnival Ball is a social gathering held during the Winter Carnival weekend where students wear formal attire, dance to a live band, and celebrate the joyous occasion.  Because the Carnival Ball is the only formal dance of the year, many students have found this event to be the social highlight at Middlebury.  The Carnival Ball was a costume ball in 1937 and 1938, but this has since changed, even though the formal feel of the event has remained the same.  Also, starting in 1953, the carnival king and queen had their coronation at the Carnival Ball, whereas it was previously held during the ice show, at the very beginning of the weekend.  Even though this tradition of a carnival king and queen does not continue today, it was still an important aspect of previous winter carnivals that would increase the amount of student engagement in the events.  Additionally, the winners of the snow sculpting contest were announced at the intermission of the Carnival Ball.  During this competition, fraternities and sororities, and later just dormitories, would build snow sculptures relating to a certain theme and would then have their pieces judged by faculty members.


Even though the Carnival Ball and the Klondike Rush were both parties held during the winter carnival weekend, each of these dances had a different intention and atmosphere.  While the Klondike Rush was more informal and casual, the Carnival Ball was more proper and elegant.  But these two events were similar in that they were the only two activities that had a live band or orchestra.  Because of the presence of the live music, no parties were held by fraternities during the Carnival Ball, therefore contributing to the high attendance numbers.  But one drawback of the Winter Ball is that it is one of the most financially draining events of the weekend because of the cost of the band, decorations, and other materials needed to put on such a spectacular dance.



Pictured below are images of dance cards that were used for the 1945, 1947, 1948, and 1949 Carnival Balls, respectively.



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