A good old-fashioned "Orchid Inn style" dance was held for the community on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the new Event Center.

In mid-July of 2015, the city council approved a study of renovating the Orchid Inn or building a new event center. After two years consumed with looking at options, looking at locations, finally deciding to go forward with a new facility adjacent to the hotel, and construction that took less than one year, the Sleepy Eye Event Center hosted the community with a truly “grand” opening on Saturday night, Oct. 21.

Even though several weddings and business meetings have already taken place in the Event Center, Saturday night’s grand opening event was the first time the general public had been invited to come see the new space, socialize, and dance the night away.

“I think we had 600 to 700 people come,” said Lisa Steffl, Event Center Manager. “Tables and chairs were set up in advance for 350; we had to bring out many more chairs and lots of people were standing. And, even though we had to guess how much food to have on hand, it came out perfect—just a few handfuls of chex mix were left.”

Music was provided by Heide and the Good Ole Boys and Sandra Lee & the Velvets. The crowd loved the entertainment and the dance floor was hopping all night long.

Steffl said the next event is Bridging Brown County’s dinner on Thursday (Oct. 26) and then she actually has a weekend off. “Then there is another big wedding the following weekend.”

The Sleepy Eye Event Center is owned by the City of Sleepy Eye. Construction costs were paid as incurred, with no money borrowed for the facility.