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The University Star

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The University Star

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The University Star


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Seniors dance the night away at Golden Sweethearts Ball

Marisa Nuñez
San Marcos residents Mike and Angie Harelick on the dance floor at the Golden Sweethearts Ball, Friday Feb. 9, 2024, at the San Marcos Activity Center.

For 23 years, Golden Sweethearts Ball has brought people ages 50 and above to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a night full of music, food, dancing and socialization. 100 people from all over Hays County attended the annual ball on Feb. 9 at the San Marcos Activity Center.

“It’s something that they could come here knowing that it’s just for that age group,” Nick Riali, the senior program coordinator, said. “It’s a good safe place… [and] we’re able to provide them with a nice evening here in a great location, great environment and it’s something special for them.”

In 2023, only 85 tickets were sold. Riali said this is the biggest turnout they’ve had since after COVID-19. Golden Sweethearts Ball will continue to be put on as long as attendees purchase tickets.

“We’re here to try to help serve the public and show people a good time and hopefully, someday some of these Texas State students will be coming in to join us as they get older.”

Riali has been in charge of the ball since 2014, providing a fun environment at an affordable price, giving seniors a chance to get out of the house, socialize and make memories.

Since 2013, Cindi Scheid, former assistant director of accounting at Texas State, and her husband Doug have attended the Golden Sweethearts Ball. Because they are regular ballroom dancers, they enjoy this ball because it has good music and is a fun time.

“We’ve been dancing for a long time and we love it,” Cindi said. “So when we heard there was a sweetheart dance, we said, ‘Oh, we have to go,’ and so we’ve been coming every year that they’ve had it since then.”

The Scheid’s ballroom dance about four times a month and were out on the dance floor the whole night, only taking a few breaks for food and refreshments. They continue to ballroom dance because it’s good exercise, fun to be able to use different dance styles and it keeps their romance alive.

Dan and Sandi Bryant traveled to the ball from Martindale, Texas, after having such a good time attending the dance in 2023. A group of volunteers dancing with the attendees made them excited to come back.

“It was fantastic last year we had so much fun,” Dan said. “The food, the music and the sorority girls last year were just a blast when they were dancing.”

The Bryants both have knee replacements so they can’t dance as much as they’d like to but they enjoy watching attendees dance just as much. They plan on coming back again next year.

“[The San Marcos Activity Center] offers an awful lot that couples can do,” Sandi said. “It’s something to get out and do things together.”

Angie and Mike Harelick attended the Golden Sweethearts Ball for the first time this year. They fell in love dancing and came out to the ball to do just that.

“We were seeing other people when we were younger and just happened to run into each other at dances,” Mike said.

They said dancing at the ball made them feel closer and that was natural for them.

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