The Grand Ball is the premiere event of the holiday season for the city of Bridges, and is held in the Ballroom on Market Center.
Falling on New Year’s Eve, it both ends the social season for one year and begins it for the next, with many women choosing their gowns for the year based on what the women who were invited to the Grand Ball wore.
The Ball is invitation-only, and each Family is allowed a certain number of invitations, which they typically give out to their close friends, main men, officials they wish to woo, and extended family members.
This is just one of the ways the Four Families both control public opinion and manipulate government officials, as (for example) a Mayor or Chief of Police who is not seen at the Ball will be considered powerless, and eventually sidelined.
The Family hosting the event rotates, with a new Family hosting the Grand Ball every four years. Each Family tries to outdo the others in the sheer magnificence of the event when hosting, and it's always a sumptuous affair.
The Ball-house, as all of Market Center, is considered neutral territory. However, to prevent any mishaps, the timing of each group’s entry into the ballroom is rigidly controlled. Guests must enter at their appointed time to prevent meeting other groups in the hallway without their men to protect them.
While firearms are not allowed for the main guests, their guards at the entrances may arm themselves.
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