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The Ball in the Mall returns to raise money for scholarships

Bradley Carlton sings during a song played by the Austin Big Band, a 17-piece jazz band that features musicians from southern Minnesota and northern Iowa Saturday at the Riverland Community College 75th anniversary gala at Northbridge Mall. Carlton said he has been a member of the band for nine years. - Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Bradley Carlton sings during a song played by the Austin Big Band, a 17-piece jazz band that features musicians from southern Minnesota and northern Iowa Saturday at the Riverland Community College 75th anniversary gala at Northbridge Mall. Carlton said he has been a member of the band for nine years. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

At least 300 tickets were sold for student scholarships Saturday night at the Riverland Community College gala at Northbridge Mall.

“As the dean of student affairs at Riverland, I’m really happy this is going to provide scholarship money for students,” Gary Schindler said. “That’s the bottom line.”

The mall was decorated in blue, white and silver to commemorate Riverland. It was the first Riverland gala since 2003 and was a capstone to Riverland’s 75th anniversary. The event had been held for 16 years before 2003.

“It’s a way for us to remake the Ball in the Mall,” Schindler said.

A variety of food was catered for the event from Hy-Vee, Green Mill, Interchange Wine & Bistro and Marketplace Foods. A silent auction was held.

Entertainment included Bob and the Beachcombers and the Austin Big Band.

“This is a real celebration for Albert Lea, the college and the students,” said Jean Eaton, gala chairwoman. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the many programs the college offers for people looking to enter or re-enter the workforce and stay here.”

Decorations hung from the ceiling and lights bounced off different areas of the mall.

“All young people should receive the chance for an education,” said attendee Marlys Swenson. “This is a wonderful chance for someone to get to college.”

Individual tickets were $75.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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