The event, which marked the end of the city's year-long birthday celebration, went out with a bang when it played host to 700 of the city's biggest fans on the streets of the Marietta Square.
"This is a dream come true for all of us, but especially for Mary Ansley," Earl Reece, who co-chaired the city's birthday events with Kim Gresh, said of the gala chair, Mary Ansley Southerland. Southerland's mother, Ansley Meaders, was a beloved mayor of Marietta for more than eight years. "She has wanted to do this to honor her late mother for years, and boy, did she."
Southerland patted Reece on the back, and wiped tears from her eyes. "This would mean so much to her," Southerland said of her mother.
Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society sponsors the gala every year, but Southerland said this year drew twice as many people as the years past. "There are people of all ages here, here to celebrate the birthday of such a wonderful city. It's a beautiful, glamorous evening and I am so proud to be a part of it all," Southerland said.
The 18-piece big band, Still Swinging, played the tunes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole on the enclosed tent's stage as couples danced and old friends got re-aquainted with each other. On any other day, the band would be playing in the street on North Park Square in front of Willie Rae's. Tonight, its members entertained a crowd of hundreds.
"This is just wonderful," Michelle LeRoux of Acworth said. "I was born and raised in South Africa, and we never had any fancy parties like this. People are so friendly and so willing to meet each other, I thoroughly enjoy the hometown feeling of this and can only help but smile."
"I think this speaks volumes to the closeness of this city, for 700 people to show up, and more wanting to," Reece said.
The party lasted from seven to 11, with a desserts reception on the terrace of the Strand serving as an option for those who wanted to escape the busy crowds of the gala's enclosed tent and music.
One of those couples was Barbara and Bob Norton. Bob said he has been in Marietta for 70 years, as he was born and raised in the birthday city. "It's grown tremendously," Bob said, of Marietta. "I remember when it was a small town and I could ride my bicycle round and round the old paved, brick Square."
"Mary Ansley put on a great show, but she always does," Barbara said. "It's beautiful. Just beautiful."