(EDITOR'S?NOTE: Staff writer Shae Dalrymple has a had long-standing friendship with the couple featured in this article and introduced them to each another. She coincidentally was on the scene to witness the proposal.)
STEUBENVILLE - Love was in the air on the opening night of the Spot Bar's Dean Martin Festival this year, where a young couple nabbed the distinction of the first public engagement at the festival in its 18-year history.
On June 12, the Spot Bar hosted a Dean Martin-themed karaoke contest, and the winners were invited to sing as the opening act Friday evening, when the festival would be in full swing.
YES SHE WILL — Mel Arthur said “yes” when Michael DiCarlo popped the question during a karaoke contest on the opening night of this year’s installment of the Dean Martin Festival in Steubenville. DiCarlo serenaded his bride-to-be in the audience with “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” before he called her onstage to ask for her hand in marriage.
-- Shae Dalrymple
About a dozen singers participated, and impersonator Tom Stevens served as judge for the competition.
Renowned local heart-breaker Michael DiCarlo, 24, was contestant No. 8. After stammering a bit through an introduction and some questions from Stevens, DiCarlo belted out "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You," with a glass of Jameson whiskey in hand - in true Dino fashion.
As the applause died down after his number, DiCarlo invited his girlfriend, Mel Arthur, 26, to join him in the spotlight. She had driven all the way from Louisville, Ky., to attend the festival and visit her beau for the weekend.
"The Dean Martin Festival seems like the perfect time and place," DiCarlo told the audience. "While I have this thing here that makes my voice loud, I thought I'd let you all join us in a special moment," he said as he took a knee in front of Arthur, who was already tearing up and smiling simultaneously. "Will you marry me?"
The crowd erupted in applause when she said "yes." Although he didn't place in the contest that evening, DiCarlo stole the show. Every woman in the house swooned.
DiCarlo grew up in Mingo Junction and graduated from Indian Creek High School in 2008. He is a founding member of the local band, Vanilla Sounded Chocolate, and he works as a bartender at the Schutzen Club.
Arthur graduated from Ohio University in Athens in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in pre-law philosophy. She is in the process of relocating from Louisville to Hilton Head, S.C., where DiCarlo intends to visit often until circumstances allow them to share a home together.
The couple had been dating for nearly two years prior to their new status as engaged.
The couple met when DiCarlo was visiting me, your humble narrator, at school in Athens. Mel and I were roommates and great friends when I was in my junior year at Ohio University. DiCarlo, one of my closest friends from high school, drove three hours to join me for Halloween that fall, dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and again for my 21st birthday that spring. These were the first two times they crossed paths.
A little more than a year after that, Mel and I were once again roommates in Athens, this time with my boyfriend in the mix.
In January 2013, DiCarlo moved in with us, and seven months of fun times ensued between the four amigos. When our lease ended, Mel moved to Louisville, and the rest of us returned to the valley from whence we came. Mike and Mel have stayed dedicated to making the long-distance relationship work.
They have yet to set an official wedding date. In the meantime, I'll be planning a bachelorette party and wishing all the best for two of my favorite people on Earth.