The ball season is well and truly underway at the ANU, albeit at a rather inopportune time for those desirous of wearing light fabrics and short skirts. The day after the Actuarial, Finance, Economics and Commerce (AFEC) Students’ Society Ball on Thursday, the Society for Arts and Social Sciences’ (SASS) Ball was held at the National Arboretum on Friday, 1 August.

The theme was Secret Garden Party, a somewhat ironic theme when the mercury hit no more than four degrees at the scheduled start time of 6:30pm, after a day where sleet and isolated snowflakes were reported across Canberra suburbs, snow falling in abundance across the Brindabellas and in Corin Forest. The cold was amplified by the location; fire-denuded hillsides, with the vegetation still growing after the Arboretum’s 2005 establishment, did nothing to prevent cold winds sweeping the venue with particular force. 

After a very well-received ball in 2013 at the War Memorial, with about 180 in attendance and a ‘40s theme, word of mouth about SASS Ball has seemed to spread. Last year’s reputation, combined with the ticketing problems plaguing this year’s Law Ball, resulted in a rise in attendance to three hundred, selling out the venue. This increase in numbers showed itself in the logistical problems which faced SASS committee members, with speeches going unheard by the back half of the tables, and a flurry of confusion around dietary requirements. The live band was excellent although having music other than jazz may have been appreciated– perhaps music to fit the theme. The architectural and natural beauty of the venue also seemed to have been underutilised, as the cavernous vastness of the interior made the sparsely-decorated tables seem slight by comparison. Good food and great company made up for these imperfections.

SASS Ball’s 2014 edition has reinforced its reputation as a relaxed, convivial atmosphere with great themes and locations and attendees who are willing to get into the spirit of the night (this writer was most impressed by the man who had weaved flowers into his beard). SASS Ball will continue to be one of the best balls of the season. The only thing the organisers need to worry about is the weather.