Fournier's for a Night

Posted: August 5, 2015

People called it "THE place to go." Eau Claire's Fournier's Ballroom grew from a small dancing academy in 1900 to a rockin' dance hall in the 1950s and 60s. Begun by French immigrant Wenceslas Fournier with dance instruction and weekend dances, Fournier's later hosted nationally known performers such as Buddy Holly and Louis Armstrong.

Regionally loved musicians played there too. Mickey Lynnes of The Thundermen says playing at Fournier's meant you were the "best" in town. The most famous night at Fournier's was in 1959, when Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Dion and the Belmonts played there, just days before the tragic plane crash that took of the lives of Holly, Valens, and the Bopper.

When the owners decided to close Fournier's in 1971, generations of Eau Clairians felt it. Fournier's may be long gone, but it is not forgotten! Celebrate Fournier's and Eau Claire's musical history at the 5th Annual Chippewa Valley Museum Heritage Celebration on Thursday, September 10, 2015 from 5:30 to 11:00 pm at The Florian Gardens in Eau Claire!

"Fournier's for a Night" guests can feast on a '60s supper club meal featuring beef stroganoff, set on a bed of egg noodles, Waldorf salad, honey glazed baby carrots, bread sticks, and pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.

Guests can also dance to the live music of The Thundermen and enjoy a photo slideshow of Eau Claire in the early 1960s while reminiscing about Fournier's. A silent auction will feature baskets and items from around the Chippewa Valley.

Cost is $50 per person. Price includes dinner and music. $15 tax deductible. Cash bar. Dance only reservations available for $25, 8:00-11:00 pm. 1960s attire admired but not required. Proceeds from the celebration support the Museum's exhibits and educational programs.

Call the Chippewa Valley Museum at 715.834.7871 by September 3 to reserve a spot!

The Florian Gardens is located at 2340 Lorch Avenue in Eau Claire.

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