Charlene and John Boscott of the Clinton Annual Ball committee at the small-scale version of the Clinton Ball that took place in September 2020. The traditional ball is returning this year for the first time since 2019. (Photo credit: Clinton Annual Ball committee)

Charlene and John Boscott of the Clinton Annual Ball committee at the small-scale version of the Clinton Ball that took place in September 2020. The traditional ball is returning this year for the first time since 2019. (Photo credit: Clinton Annual Ball committee)

Clinton Ball returns for 155th year

Annual event has gone ahead in modified format for two years, but returns in full for 2022

The 155th Clinton Annual Ball is going ahead May 21, after two years of holding a scaled-back event to preserve the ball’s status as the longest continuously-running event of its kind in Canada.

The decision was made following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s announcement March 10 that mask mandates would end for most settings and the vaccine passport would be lifted in B.C. on April 8. The news means organizers now have to condense seven months’ worth of work into a little over two months, said Clinton Ball Committee member John Boscott.

“We started phoning right away,” said Boscott. “We made a call to everyone on the committee we could get hold of and got their feelings, and the feeling was to proceed.”

The committee had originally planned a full ball for this year, and in January requested the use of the Clinton Memorial Hall for the event. However, they then decided to put it on hold until Dr. Henry lifted all the mandates.

“We weren’t going to put it on if people had to wear a mask, and if we had to check vaccine passports. We didn’t want to police people at the door, and alienate anyone who has supported us in the past and who wasn’t vaccinated. And how can you dance with masks on?” Boscott said.

“So we had a meeting, and everyone said as long as the mandates were on we wouldn’t proceed, and we cancelled our requests. If Dr. Henry had come out and said there was no end date to the mandates, it would have stayed off.”

Boscott said the next step was to contact Mayor Susan Swan and tell her the committee wanted use of the Memorial Hall after all. A grant-in-aid request will be on the agenda for the next council meeting, March 23.

Swan said she is looking forward to the event, which was first held in 1867.

“They said that they have a band lined up and that the decorating committee has been ready to go for two years,” says Swan. “They seem to think it’s quite doable. I was disappointed when they said it was cancelled, but if they think they can pull it together in time then kudos to them, and I look forward to going.”

Despite the tight timeline, Boscott said the ball has been going on for so long that there is a set formula in place.

“It’s easy to follow the lead of what’s been done before. It will be the same Clinton Ball, with the same traditions, and people in formal dress or period costume. We’re not changing anything.

“The hardest part will be selecting some of the pictures we’re going to use and blow up and put around the hall for this year’s theme, which is ‘Logging in the Cariboo’.”

He adds that ticket sales should be good, as there has been a lot of interest.

“Fifty per cent of the people we get every year have got their name on the list already, so we have to do some phoning to confirm they’re in. We’re getting calls every second day for seven or eight tickets at a crack, and 50 to 60 per cent of the tickets have already been sold as we speak. If you want tickets, don’t dally.”

Tickets for the ball are $75 each, which includes dinner. They can be ordered by email at clintonannualball@clintonannualball.com, or via the website (www.clintonannualball.com).

Boscott admits there is still a chance the ball might have to be cancelled but is hoping for the best.

“If something else comes down — if another wave raises its head and mandates come back on overnight — we might have to cancel it. It’s still two months down the road, and anything could break through, but we all have our fingers crossed. Everyone is hoping, because we all want to put it back on.”


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