The final details for the 98th Foresters’ Ball at the University of Montana are falling into place, including a return to the event’s longtime home.
For the past three years, the Foresters’ Ball has been held in the Adams Center. The main motivation behind the move back to the Schreiber Gymnasium is a financial one. The cost to rent the Adams Center for the week needed to build the set and hold the ball is $6,000.
Schreiber will only cost the organizers $500, although they will also pay $3,000 to have a fire engine and crew at the ball as the gym doesn’t meet the fire code for the number of people who are expected to attend.
“It has a long history in Schreiber. The ball is going home,” said Foresters’ Ball publicity officer and chief push Lara Antonello.
While the event is normally held in March, this year it is being held a month early, on Feb. 6-7.
“In past years, they had it right before midterms. People weren’t wanting to spend money to go out to a concert-dance thing. They were staying in to study or going to review sessions,” Antonello said.
Changes made to the Foresters’ Ball a few years ago set off rumors about the event.
“There was a rumor going around that we were going to breathalyze people at the door. We’re not, but rumors like that scare people away,” she said.
All participants will have to go through a sobriety check and a quick search to ensure they aren't carrying alcohol into the gym. The ball will run from 7 p.m. to midnight each night, with the doors closing at 10 p.m.
The majority of the money from ticket sales funds scholarships for students in the College of Forestry and Conservation. The rest becomes seed money for next year’s ball.
“Personally, I think it’s a great move for us, not only for the cost, but for construction,” Antonello said.
This year, there will be 1,000 tickets available each night. Between the earlier dates and slightly lower ticket prices, Antonello said organizers are hopeful the event will fill.
The theme for this year’s ball – “Timber Tippin’ Rotors Liftin’ ” – honors advancements in aviation technology, particularly helicopters, in forest management and firefighting.
The Foresters’ Ball construction team will start moving materials into Schreiber Gym on Saturday, Jan. 31, and the week of construction will start Monday, Feb. 2. A free community forestry education day will be held Saturday, Feb. 7.
Because Foresters’ Ball has had a long history of being held in Schreiber, Antonello said organizers were able to look at decades of floor plans for construction, and see the best ways to handle the venue.
“We're going to regain the reputation for a rocking good time,” Antonello said.