A new book recounts the Columbus landmark's history and hints at its future.
Landa Masdea Brunetto remembers a time when seemingly everyone’s parents had their first date at the Valley Dale Ballroom on Columbus’ northeast side, including her own. Her father, Bruno Masdea, went on to play with the house band in the 1970s, and her husband, drummer Rick Brunetto, took up residence there in the 1990s.
Masdea Brunetto leaned on her family history and archival footage for her book “The Valley Dale Ballroom,” which came out in December. “I wanted a beautiful story to be told about the city of Columbus and one of the very last living ballrooms in the country,” she says.
Originally opened as a stagecoach stop in the 1880s, a dance hall was added to “the Dale” in the early 1920s. In Masdea Brunetto’s telling, the ballroom has had two heydays: in the 1940s, when seemingly every big name of the swing era played there (Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Dean Martin), and another in the 1980s as a rock venue.
Throughout most of its illustrious run, the Peppe family has owned or been involved with the Dale. Mike Peppe bought it from his father, Lou, in 1980 and continues to own it with his wife, Kathy. After an abrupt closure in early 2015 and more than $1 million in renovations, Valley Dale reopened with a focus on weddings under the new management of catering company Made From Scratch Inc.
If Masdea Brunetto has her way, the past will be a prologue for Valley Dale. She hopes to work closely with the Peppes to bring popular local and national acts to “Columbus’ jewel” once again.
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