VICKSBURG FACTS: Skating into the New Year more than 100 years ago

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 30, 2022

Did you know about Vicksburg’s skating rink bringing in the new year more than 100 years ago?

With every new year comes a massive celebration that welcomes a new chapter in everyone’s lives. Vicksburg, like many cities, was not afraid to throw some of the biggest parties in the area to celebrate the new year. Typically, churches and individuals would host parties that were acceptable for all ages such as playing games and dancing. However, in 1907 the local skating rink hosted the biggest New Year’s Eve event in the area. The New Year’s Eve Masquerade Carnival and Ball were “attracting widespread interest among the skaters and many will attend in full costume,” according to a Dec. 26, 1907, article in the Vicksburg American. 

“The second grand masquerade carnival and ball which occurs on New Year’s Eve is certain to prove a success in every particular, and many are eagerly awaiting the coming of the eventful night,” as stated in The Vicksburg Evening Post’s  Dec. 27, 1907, edition. At this event, participants could skate, dance, compete in a costume contest and party all night long to help bring in the new year. Roller skating began at 7:30 and at 10:30 p.m. the floor was cleared to let the dancing begin. As mentioned in The Vicksburg Evening Post, “Dancing will be in order after 10:30 and Mgr. Barnes promises to wax the floor and do everything possible to promote the enjoyment of all present.” 

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On the night of the event, it was reported by The Vicksburg American in a Jan. 1, 1908, article that “The New Year’s Eve masked ball at the skating rink last night drew out the largest crowd of the season and many handsome costumes were seen.”

As promised by the manager of the skating rink, the floor was waxed after several hours of skating and was transformed into a dance floor. Before the dancing could begin, a grand march took place where all the participants paraded around the rink in their costumes.

“The grand march was led by Bernard Cashman in a Domino and Charles Amborn as a policeman,” as stated in The Vicksburg American.

Eventually, it was time to announce the winners of the costume contest. The grand prizes included “Richardson skates for the gentlemen and monthly skating tickets for the ladies.”

For the rest of the night, Vickburgers welcomed the new year out on the dance floor until the end of the event at 12:30 a.m.