Dancing in Duncan, Iowa…A Long-Standing Tradition

Located in the small Czech village of Duncan, Iowa is a beautiful dance hall known as the Duncan Community Ballroom. This ballroom proves that the small towns in America's heartland are still active today with great pride in volunteerism as well as their heritage.

In September of 1899, 13 men gathered at a country school and organized the Catholic Workman, Branch 51. As the town grew, a community hall was needed. In 1922, members of Branch 51 organized the construction of a new brick community hall. On the night of the grand opening the Duncan Band played, while a generator and Model-T engine hooked together supplied lights in the hall. The Community Hall was a very active place and held many fundraisers, dances, and Czech plays.

June 25, 1951 was a disastrous day for Duncan, Iowa. A tornado arose from the southwest and destroyed the Community Hall, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, homes, businesses, and farm places. Through the strength and faith of the community, the town of Duncan was rebuilt. Through collaborative efforts, a new Duncan Ballroom was built. The community that worked together could once again celebrate together.

Many of the popular old time bands played in Duncan – the Six Fat Dutchmen, Babe Wagner, Elmer Scheid, and Roman Rezac to name a few. Local bands also played for dances, including Malek Bros. Accordian Band and the Hrubes Huskers. In the late 1970's more room was needed. An addition was constructed, including a new bar, restrooms, and extra seating.

Branch 51 (now affiliated with First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, FCSLA) is still very active today, and continues to keep the ballroom operating, with meetings held monthly. Improvements are made each year, and the majority of the labor is donated. Activities at the ballroom include weddings, public old time and country dances, anniversaries, fund-raisers, graduations, birthday parties, and fireman dances. Duncan Ballroom's two biggest fund-raising events are Winterfest and Duncanfest. Winterfest is held each January and includes entertainment, a raffle, and a catered meal. Duncanfest, which attracts visitors from all over the Midwest, is held each September and includes live old time bands, dancing, food, and a queen contest.

This air-conditioned, smoke-free ballroom showcases a beautiful 50 x 75 ft hardwood dance floor, a full bar, large stage, kitchen, seating for 500, blacktop parking lot, and is handicapped accessible. More recently, a campground was added with electrical hookups. Duncan Community Ballroom, in downtown Duncan, is located just off of Hwy 18, between Garner and Britt, Iowa. For more information, visit the website www.duncanballroom.com.

For booking information call Dawn at 641-843-3353, or for information on Duncanfest or public dances call Eric at 641-923-9903.