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REMODELED AND REFURBISHED, the Callaway Event Center is available for celebrations and gathering of all types -- from weddings to parties to meetings.

Callaway offers up event center

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In need of a dance hall for a wedding reception? A location for an anniversary celebration? Or even seating for a business meeting or Christmas party? Callaway has the answer.

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After several years of dwindling usage, the city is revitalizing its former community center and reopening the Callaway Event Center.

"We wanted to refresh it and give it a new look," Mayor Gretchen Stalboerger said.

Before moving into this building, the community center was housed in a steel building with no heat or insulation. So it was used during the summer for events, and flooded in the winter for ice skating.

The Lions Club contemplated building a new building. Instead, it bought the existing event center, which served as a couple different businesses and the K-4 school in Callaway. When the school building added on and students that were in the community center building could move back to the school, the Lions decided it was more feasible to purchase that building instead of building new.

Donations from residents, the fire department and money from Lions gaming refurbished the building and added on some space that was used for "mostly dances and community events," Stalboerger said.

The Lions then donated the building to the city, and Lions members volunteered and took care of the building and events. But, Stalboerger said, with a decline in dances and drinking and Lions members getting burned out from all the volunteer time, "it's been a tough go to make the building sustainable. It's wonderful for the community, but at what cost?"

So, the city decided to paint the inside, build a stage area and give the place a more homey feel to it. They also changed the name from community center to event center to give it a feel that it's more open to everyone, not just those in Callaway.

The building has a full commercial kitchen that can be used, place settings for 250 people, the city can provide a full bar if needed, and people can rent the front, back or entire building.

"That's what we're looking for -- diversity of use," the mayor said. "It's always been available, just not gotten as much use as we'd like."

The stage area also has storage on both sides for tables and chairs.

"We have backdrops for both business meetings or a wedding dance just by sliding curtains," she said.

There will also be new carpeting on the stage area.

On March 19, the city will be hosting a grand opening of the refurbished Callaway Event Center from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be a DJ, High Voltage, providing entertainment, and vendors including Richwood Winery, Lia Sophia, Native Harvest, Creamy Creations, May Kay, Celebrating Home, Avon, Watkins and Patty's Creations/Alterations.

The city will have two drawings -- one for a free rental of the building for a business Christmas party, and one for a free wedding rental of the facility.

"It's a step toward trying to revitalize the community. Remember, Callaway is here," Stalboerger said. "We could be just what you need."

Contact the city clerk at 375-4691 to check availability and costs.

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