The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Event Center will host an 80s-themed prom night Aug. 23. Make sure you tell the DJ to play anything by A Flock of Seagulls.

If you’ve ever wanted to totally go back in time to the righteous 80s, well, get your Aqua Net and poofy dresses ready: The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Event Center later this month will hold an 80s-themed prom.

But wait ... Why?

“Mankato needs more exciting things to do,” said Bob Iddings, the hotel’s chief engineer and DJ for the prom. “I think Mankato’s really hungry for change.”

The hotel and its staff, seems, are ready to fill what they see as a void in Mankato’s entertainment scene. (They’re also ready to take your hotel booking for the night, by the way.)

According to assistant general manager Ashley Fenzke, this is the first time the hotel has put on an independent event for the general public. She says everyone involved is ecstatic about it.

“We wanted something different. We wanted to showcase our event space,” Fenzke said.

Added Nicholas Mack, the hotel’s sales and events manager, “We’re at a perfect location with plenty of parking, unlike downtown, and you can stay here.”

Both Fenzke and Iddings have a lot of experience with 80s-themed parties. Fenzke used to work in an 80s-themed bar in Los Angeles, which grew over the years.

“I know the 80s sells, and I know the 80s works,” said Fenzke.

Iddings has many personal experiences with the era, which is why he will be the DJ for the event.

“At my age, I’m just happy that the music is still out there. I was a roller rink DJ out in the 70s,” Iddings said.

The prom night entrance fee includes two free drinks and appetizers. Many of the foods will be 80s-themed including: “Marty McFries,” “Valleygirl Cocktails” and more. The drinks will also have light up ice cubes to add to the ambiance.

Although the event is advertised as a “prom night,” attendees need not worry about dress codes or formalities.

“We promote it as a prom, but come as you are,” Mack said.

People can wear their prom dresses, new or old, they can dress up to match the theme, or wear whatever they feel comfortable in. The theme is simply meant to give people an idea of the night’s festivities.

“Basically don’t let the word prom scare you away. It’s a dance party at the Marriot,” Iddings said.

This Courtyard Marriott is hoping to communicate the idea that the hotel’s restaurant and event center are avail to more than just hotel guests.

Fenzke and Mack believe that this is the first time an adult prom has been done in Mankato in recent memory, but Fenzke hopes it is not the last. If the event is a success, she wants to make it an annual one.

“It is something different. Memories last a lifetime,” Mack said.

The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Event Center is planning more events for the public in the future, including an NFL-themed event and holiday activities for families.

They’re also planning a block party on Aug. 25th, as well as a “Star Wars” viewing party to celebrate the new film coming out in December (they’re partnering with The Dork Den on that one).

Robb Murray is the Features Editor for The Free Press. He can be reached at 344-6386 or Follow Robb on Twitter @FreePressRobb