Headbands and legwarmers were back in style at the La Crosse Center on Thursday night, and Charlie Berens was the emcee, as the La Crosse Area YMCA celebrated 140 years of fitness programs and other community activities.
The city’s YMCA first opened in 1883, and expanded its local facilities more recently to Onalaska and other parts of the region.
Comedian Charlie Berens was back in La Crosse to serve as emcee for the program. Berens announced some of the prizes to be given away to people attending the party, including a first prize of $2,500.
“You know what you can do with 2,500 dollars, folks?” Berens asked the audience. “You can buy, like, 30,000 Budweisers.”
The program featured highlights of Family YMCA activities that are popular with the organization’s members.
About 400 people attended the festivities with a birthday cake at every table.
YMCA director Bill Soper told the audience about the first meeting held in 1883 to form the La Crosse organization, and quoted the written summary from that meeting: “And so, were taken the first steps towards what we trust will prove a great blessing to our city.”
Soper said the founders would be “very proud” of where the YMCA is today.
Many guests at the YMCA party were dressed in retro workout clothes of different colors and patterns from recent decades, at the suggestion of event organizers.