Paramount Tall Club Presents
I Wanna Be in the Movies… the Paramount Movies
Annual Tall Club Weekend Not Short On Fun
© Copyright 2018, Journal & Topics Online Media Group, Des Plaines, IL.
A group of taller-than-average people wandering around Des Plaines and Rosemont last weekend weren’t hanging out by chance; they were there for the 72nd annual Paramount Tall Club of Chicago’s weekend event.
The club’s annual event took place Jan. 26-28 at the Hilton Garden Inn, just over the Rosemont border in Des Plaines.
About 80 club members — a height of at least 5-foot-10-inches for women and 6-foot-2-inches for men is required for club admission — from all across the country descended upon the hotel for a weekend of socializing and camaraderie.
“When you go out together as a group, it’s just something to see,” said this year’s Miss Tall International Lindsay May, a singer-songwriter from Vancouver.
Tall Clubs exist across the country and world, often hosting social weekends. The Chicago club event in Des Plaines is one of the most popular.
David Knehr, who drove in from Wisconsin for the weekend, is a member of three Tall Clubs — the one in Chicago and two in Wisconsin. He first joined after meeting fellow tall people at a dance club who told him about the group. At some points, he has attended up to 20 Tall Club weekends a year.
Knehr said one of the best things about Tall Club is meeting people from all over the world and all walks of life.
“They’re a fun group of people,” he said. “The only thing we all have in common is our height.”
In addition to making new friends and connections, Knehr gained something else from Tall Club: a fiancee. He met and fell in love with fellow member Linda Huege, whose mother was a member of the Paramount Club in the 1960s.
Member Amy Burkard said that romantic relationships happen frequently through Tall Club, especially since finding other people of tall height to date can be difficult.
Burkard, however, first attended a Tall Club event thanks to an ex-boyfriend. He became busier and busier, and when Burkard asked what had been keeping him so occupied, he told her about Tall Club.
“He was having so much fun, so [my sister and I] joined,” she said. “Once I started dancing with the guys who were taller than I was — I was in heaven.”
While Tall Club is primarily a social organization, it also has a philanthropic element. Since 1987, Tall Club International has recognized the National Marfan Foundation as its official charity. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue that generally affects taller people.
Bruce Klein, the founder of the Illinois chapter of the National Marfan Foundation, learned he had Marfan syndrome at 38. Through his work with Marfan advocacy, he learned about the Tall Club and joined his local chapter.
Friday night’s costume and movie-themed party served as a fundraiser for Marfan syndrome. Saturday night’s formal dinner was also a fundraiser, but this time for the Paramount Tall Club scholarship, a $750 scholarship awarded to a graduating high school senior in Chicagoland meeting the club’s height requirements.
The recipient of the scholarship each year automatically enters the running for the Tall Clubs International $1,000 scholarships. Last year, 16 scholarships were distributed.
The Paramount Tall Club of Chicago was founded in 1946. In addition to holding social events, club members worldwide advocate for issues affecting tall people — everything from a lack of legroom in public spaces to difficulty in finding the right size shoes.
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