News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 31, 2013

Great atmosphere welcomes 2014 with a roar

TERRE HAUTE — Hundreds of Terre Hautians rang in 2014 by stepping back in time nearly a century.

Women in feather boas and long “flapper” dresses and wearing lots of long beads and head bands were common sights Tuesday night in the Indiana Theatre during the Vigo County Historical Society’s annual New Year’s Eve party. Men wore simpler black tuxedos or dark suits, also fitting for the 1920s.

“This is a perfect building for a roaring ’20s party,” said Marylee Hagan, executive director of the Historical Society, who was dressed as Madame Brown, the famous brothel operator from Terre Haute’s past. About 300 tickets were sold to the event and more tickets were available at the door, she said.

At midnight, a complimentary Champagne toast was planned to ring in the new year. The Stonehenge Jazz Band played big band music from the 1920s while servers prepared Prohibition-era drinks.

“It’s a fun atmosphere,” said Michael Lundborg, who was attending the party with his wife, Tammy. She was wearing a vintage cloche hat from the 1920s along with other 1920s-style clothing.

“There are a lot of good outfits here,” said Ruth Nasser, a board member of the Historical Society who was working at the party with Kara Phelps, selling costume accessories, such as fedora hats for men and feather boas for women. They were also selling play money for gambling later in the evening.

Phelps, who was wearing a combination flapper dress and “art deco” outfit, agreed those at the party seemed to be getting into the spirit of the event with authentic-looking costumes.

Proceeds from the party/fundraiser will help the Historical Society meet its day-to-day operating expenses, Hagan said.

Mic and LaRysa Orman took photos of guests at the party posing on the interior steps of the theater, which ascend to the balconies above. Half of the proceeds from the photograph sales would support the Historical Society, they said.

Tickets to the party, called the “Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Gala,” were $50 each. Food was provided along with the live entertainment and the use of the Indiana Theatre, which was constructed in 1922, the same year that the Historical Society was founded, Hagan noted.

“We’re doing well tonight,” Hagan said. “The community has really supported us.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or  


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