2-14-15-Dick Vitale

Photo: former Pistons coach Dick Vitale presenting the 1981 door prize Cadillac

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Every Valentine’s Day, romantics feel the pressure to find just the right way to express their feelings and impress the object of their affections. During the late 1970s and 1980s, many Troy residents successfully fulfilled these goals by taking their sweetie to the annual Valentine’s Day Party held by the Troy Kiwanis Club.

The parties, which originated in 1977, featured fine dining, glamorous door prizes (think Cadillacs, diamond jewelry, color televisions and romantic getaways), all wrapped up in the opportunity to do good for others. The party was the Troy Kiwanis Club’s major annual fundraiser, enabling the Kiwanis to provide support for the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, as well as for scholarships and other Club projects.

Another attraction of the parties was the attendance of celebrity guests. In 1981, for example, former Detroit Pistons coach Dick Vitale and former Detroit Lions player Charlie Sanders gave happy partygoers their door prizes. The top prize that year was a 1981 Cadillac, which Vitale can be seen handing to its new owner in his own inimitable style, in the photo, reproduced here with the permission of the Troy-Somerset Gazette.

400 support Troy Youth at fundraiser; Oakland Press; February 22, 1978.

KIWANIS VALENTINE BENEFIT – A GOOD PARTY FOR ALL; Troy-Somerset Gazette; February 16, 1981.

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at ed@thvmail.org.

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