Crystal Ballroom
Staunton, IL

Manager: Pat Cerentano

Seating for 1,000
Three acre lighted parking lot
Chandelier constructed of 2,200 crystal pieces

The centerpiece and namesake of the Hall is a 260-pound chandelier imported from Italy. A kitchen, fully stocked bar, separate banquet facility and handicapped ramp round out the accommodations at the Ballroom.

The Crystal Ballroom was sold to the Staunton Knights of Columbus in the summer of 1994. Since, then, the KCs have increased the number of activities here to include bingo on Wednesdays, country dance lessons on Tuesdays and country dances on Friday nights. Saturdays are often filled with rentals, such as wedding receptions, and an occasional small dance or rock 'n roll band will also play on Saturdays. Sundays are Big Band territory, with a few polkas thrown in throughout the year.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, dated December 7, 1983:
Search For a Perfect Ballroom Ends Right At Home
By Jean M. Schildz
     As owner of the new Crystal Ballroom, John Halavonich will have the honor of holding the first wedding reception inside the building.
     It was not an honor he planned, the 60-year-old swears with a grin. "I'm not having the first one 'cause I built the ballroom. I'd rather have had it been the fifth, sixth, seventh. A lot of people were betting I'd open it with a wedding. But I wasn't planning on that either."
     Halavonich, who admits unabashedly his love for his soon-to-be bride, Norene Kurman of Hamel, managed to beat out all his friends' bets by celebrating the grand opening of his ballroom with the Big Band sound of "The Music Makers," before getting married.
     His wedding reception will take place Dec. 3.
     "It was a smash," Halavonich said, referring to the opening night festivities Nov. 26. More than 750 showed up to dance the night away in a room that seats 1,000 people.
     "We had a full house. They had to turn them away in the parking lot," which covered three acres.
     Furious preparations went in to getting the place ready for its first customers. In July Halavonich broke ground for the construction of the facility, which sits between Diamond's Restaurant at exit 41 off Interstate 55 and the Staunton Township Shed on Main Street, just outside the city limits.
     The 12,000-square-foot structure is about one-fourth the size of a football field.
     Halavonich said he had some opening-night jitters, but they soon vanished as everything ran smoothly that first night.
     Now, as he surveyed the main ballroom, Halavonich noted that, "All in all, I think it went together good."
     Halavonich said he spent about 18 years looking at ballrooms and dance halls while attending various receptions with the former Catherine Garbolino, who became Halavonich's first wife. She died in 1980.
     The places he saw never matched his dream of what the "perfect" ballroom should be, Halavonich said. He was determined he could create something better.
     "We used to go to a lot of receptions, and who were the first people to go home? Grandma and Grandpa. The tables were on the dance floor and after dinner people would start dancing and grandma and grandpa would leave."
     Halavonich made sure that his dance floor - an area 50-square-feet in size which can hold up to 700 people dancing at once - would not be encumbered by tables or chairs.
     "In my ballroom, grandma and grandpa will be the last ones to go home after seeing their grandchildren have a good time."
     While decorating the ballroom, Halavonich decided he wanted something to catch the eye, similar to the mirror balls hanging from the ballroom ceilings of yesteryear which swirled fragments of colored lights around the room.
     His fiance suggested something more elaborate - a glittering, crystal chandelier. And that's how the ballroom got its name, he said.
     The main ballroom is constructed with a dome-shaped ceiling. The room's crowing glory - the crystal chandelier - hangs from its center.
     The chandelier, which weighs about 260 pounds, sparkles in its own soft light, breaking into prisms of color.
     "Even though she saw a couple of small ones, she said 'no,'" Halavonich said, referring to his fiance's reaction to their several shopping expeditions for the piece de resistance.
     The chandelier, which cost more than $9,000, was imported from Italy, shipped to California, transported to St. Louis and ultimately carried to its present home. It has 2,200 separate pieces of crystal, stands 5-foot-7 and is 48 inches wide.
     Halavonich knows what the chandelier is made of because he was one of three people who took more than 5 hours to assemble the work of art. he pulled out a box lined with cotton that contained a few of the remaining crystal pieces.
     "These were extra. We couldn't find where to put them in," he chuckled.
     With the chandelier in place, the ballroom was ready for business. "We are still waiting for a smaller chandelier, similar to this one for the vestibule," Halavonich noted. "We ordered it a while back. I guess we'll have to trace it down."
     Currently, the Crystal Ballroom is open Friday and Saturday nights. But eventually it will be open on Sundays and during the week as reservations come in and special occasions such as New Year's Eve are celebrated.
     The structure is equipped for the handicapped, has expansive bathroom facilities, a large bar, a drive-in canopy, a smaller banquet room, dressing rooms for the bands, and will soon have a kitchen that may be used by groups who wish to have food catered in for their engagement.
     Bands scheduled for appearances include the 10-piece Art Oliver Big Band, the Continentals, the Troubadours (on New Year's Eve), the Velvetones, the Phil Schlemer Band and Dick Courtois and his 9-piece Orchestra.

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