By Jason Schock
If the notion exists that the Harkendorff Event Center isn’t spacious enough to host a horde of one’s family and friends, it is a dated misconception Mark and Pam Harkendorff hope to dismiss right before your eyes at an Open House event next Sunday afternoon.
The Harkendorff’s will officially drop the curtain on the new event center — located at the former USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Office building north of Community Medical Center on Old Highway 73 (officially 3423 Barada St.) — from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. As many as 400 people at a time can see the big picture for themselves. From the comforts of a chair, if they choose.
The Harkendorff Event Center — named in honor of Mark’s great-great-grandfather, John Harkendorff, the first white man to settle on the Muddy back in 1854 — launched in August and has received rave reviews after hosting several events, with five more as of now scheduled before the end of the year. Currently the only private venue in the area capable of hosting large wedding receptions, they also offer the center for family reunions, and anniversary, Christmas and birthday parties, to name just a few. Elegantly adorned with chandeliers or rustic wagon wheel lighting, the center offers versatility and can be arranged to accommodate smaller private dining or meeting areas, as well.
“We have the largest decorating inventory in the area,” Pam said, noting that they no longer provide rental services and work exclusively out of the Harkendorff Event Center.
All events include tables, chairs and table linens. A&G Restaurant is the resident caterer and Would Eye Bar & Grill handles the bar business.
Pam, who previously offered bridal rental services as “Takes Two Bridal & Event Rentals,” will lend an astute hand at decorating, as will Debbie Palmer, of “Natural Designs.” There is a large hardwood dance floor, warming kitchen, and a separate stocked bar area. Waiting staff members do all the setting up and, maybe most alluring, all the cleaning up.
“Anybody who has set up or taken down after a wedding knows how much work that is,” Pam said. “There are no surprises – you will see it set up and you can make your own decisions. We provide a very personal touch.”
The venue is handicapped accessible and includes four restrooms. Parking is not a concern, either, as the Harkendorff’s have leased land to the west from CMC to provide an additional 140 new parking stalls. Merz Farm Equipment offered parking space in the rare event of overflow and the Harkendorff’s expressed their gratitude to both Merz and CMC for their help.
The false impression that the building lacks adequate space for large gatherings is perhaps an honest one for those envisioning the layout of the former conservation office, which was cordoned off and allocated to multiple small work spaces. The USDA moved its offices to East 14th Street and the Harkendorff’s, who have owned and operated Falls City Sanitation for nearly 40 years, purchased the N. Old Highway locale in December 2014.
The extensive renovation, which utilized all local labor and supplies (Terry Wiltse, John Chittick, Robert Fisher, Meyer Home Center, Jim Hill’s, Dwight Thompson), took seven months to transform a collection of closed offices into a a modernized and spacious event center with an exposed beam ceiling. There are no bad seats or “blind spots,” Pam said, so everybody can easily view the head table and wedding party, for instance. Two five-ton air conditioning units were installed and easily kept up during the dog days of summer, Mark said.
“It’s an event center that offers you many options and lets you enjoy your event,” Pam said.
For more information, call 402-245-0038 or 402-245-4949. The Harkendorff Event Center is also on Facebook.