By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The Rose Garden Banquet Hall held 140 people Friday for a Valentine's Day banquet and dinner, but the venue offered an intimate night-out for guests.
The many tables were filled by singles, dating couples and spouses who have been together for decades. They all converged on the dance floor underneath a disco ball for music provided by the Flatland Band, a country rock ensemble.
Pamela Burgardt, co-owner of the Rose Garden Steak Haus & Catering, said the evening is one of several seasonal events the restaurant organizes, such as dinners for Thanksgiving and Easter.
"It's just wonderful," she said. "We take time out of our holidays all the time to make other people happy."
Dinner also was offered at the event inaugural Valentine's Day event.
Shane and Rachel Loving, Hays, were at the event and said they have been married seven years. The two met while working the evening shift at Hampton Inn & Suites in Kansas City.
"It was nighttime, so there wasn't a whole lot to do," Shane said. "So we just got to talking, and it took off from there."
The couple said they clicked on the first date.
"I'm not much of a talker," he said. "We talked the entire night. We knew it worked."
Ron and Cheryl Sturgeon, Osborne, said they met in second grade, but they have been married two months. They began dating in September 2011. The evening was their first dance together.
Cheryl said couples should have a deep connection before they enter into a union.
"Be best friends before you marry each other," she said.
Randy and Dorothy Gideon, WaKeeney, said they were married in September after meeting at Hays Medical Center.
The two have seven children from previous marriages and grandchildren.
"He has a really good sense of humor, he made me laugh, and he likes to dance," she said.
Burgardt said next year's Valentine's Day program might be a fundraiser for CASA of the High Plains.