Dance in 2014 – Writer in Residence attends “The Biggest New Year’s Eve Party in Topeka”
January 3, 2014.
“What am I getting myself into?” I asked Downtown Topeka Ramada Guest Services Manager Daniel Sheridan. He was securing on my wrist, a pass for “The Biggest New Year’s Eve Party in Topeka.”
The hotel lobby was astir with overnight guests checking in, and across the lobby party attendees queuing for party bracelet passes. A living statue, a gent in silver makeup and clothing from hat to shoe, stood before the hotel Lower Level staircase. Mr. Sheridan replied to my question by reciting the evening events. Live bands, dinner buffet, wine tasting, midnight champagne toast.
“What trouble am I getting myself into?” I clarified.
None, he said, then added “Perhaps too much dancing.”
“Fabulous!” I said. I didn’t tell him I’d never encountered too much dancing. Tonight could be divine.
As a “Writer in Residence” on expedition from Chicago and in Topeka over the New Year, it behooved me to attend this party. Not only was it the “Biggest” celebration in Topeka, yet also the folks running it presented a marvelous celebration. Festivities began late afternoon and continued hours into the New Year.
The Blues Devils performed in the Atrium now. I dashed to my room to dress for the occasion. High heels, black dress and hair in a French Twist secured with a signature pink ribbon. Time to celebrate a respectful bowing out of 2013 and welcoming 2014 with verve.
I hoped there would be fellows to ask me to dance. And as a single gal on the road, I wondered if I’d savor a midnight kiss.
Throughout the evening live bands performed in the hotel ballrooms and the Lower Level Uncle Bo’s nightclub.
All 256 hotel guestrooms were reserved for party-goers. Plus people from the Ramada sister hotel, The Senate Luxury Suites, took a shuttle to attend. I met folks from Kansas City who came to see the Cat Brothers. I met folks from Wichita, Mayetta and Holton Kansas, and from Topeka who came to celebrate New Year’s here. For a couple hours, a Standard Beverage Corporation representative hosted a Wine/Liquor/Beer tasting in the hotel Mansion Rooms. I tried Kentucky Bourbon and Kansas microbrew beer, and toasted with fellow tasters to the New Year.
I got a cup o’ wine from the bar and toasted more as I met more people and checked out the bands. Etta Britt, Eric Vaughn, Zac Harmon, David Oakleaf. All gave vivacious performances. Live music is such a rich part of life. And tonight, we guests had carte blanche.
Dance floors were full. The most crowded dance floor was in the Atrium after the midnight champagne toast and balloon drop. I danced with a fellow to several songs during a David Oakleaf & The Open Road performance. And yes, I got my New Year’s kiss. Then we went our separate ways. I remained in Topeka, and he was heading back in the morning to Manhattan – Manhattan Kansas that is.
So many marvelous hours to celebrate ringing in 2014, now behind us, as the days persist. I have fond memories of bringing in New Year’s while in Topeka.
*** Thank you to the folks at Downtown Topeka Ramada for inviting me as their guest and for supporting the “Jacquée T. Writer in Residence-KANSAS actual and virtual expedition.” For more infor, visit the Topeka Ramada “Jacquee T. Writer in Residence” sponsor profile.
*Photos by Jared Hitchens, Marketing Director, Parrish Hotel Corporation