Since we decided to have the marathon, I have done lots of research. Gay Mill Marathon Dance Classic began on approx October 3, 1930 at Gay Mill Ballroom, Miller (Gary) Indiana. Shortly before the Marathon, the town of Miller was annexed by the city of Gary. As I said in my last blog, Dance Marathons became popular during the depression. Most of the participants were local people who wanted to win the cash prize. Some of the participants were “professional marathoners” who travelled around the country providing excitement and entertainment at the marathons. They were good dancers with lots of stamina because of their experience. Many of them were Vaudeville entertainers who would not only show off their dance steps but would do crazy antics to bring in crowds to watch. Don’t forget, TV hadn’t been invented yet and the radio was fairly young so hanging out at a Dance Marathon was a relatively cheap form of entertainment.
Dona Henry-Dance Marathon Chair
So far, the only information I have been able to locate is from the Vidette Messenger in Valparaiso Indiana.