When it comes to Drexel dances, nobody can serve as the life of the party quite like a towering T-rex skeleton. The 2013 Crystal Ball masquerade, hosted Jan. 25 by the Drexel Campus Activities Board at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, brought together 350 students to party like it’s 65 million B.C.
As the members of CAB start to plan each year’s Crystal Ball four to six months in advance, they begin by working backward.
“We begin looking for venues in August and continue to plan up until the week before the event,” Traditions Committee director Elanor Williams said, “First we have to assess last year’s event and decide what we want to change and do differently.”
For 2013, the Crystal Ball committee wanted to take the ball out of the usual banquet halls and make the night a cultural and entertaining experience. After whittling down the list of possible locales to two or three, they drop by each venue to discuss cost and food options. The committee then makes a final choice after weighing the pros and cons of each spot.
Once a verdict is reached, the fun begins. Theme, decor, invitations, music and the menu are all synchronized to ensure an event that is fabulous from start to finish. This year, guests were welcomed to a special mask-decorating seminar two days before the ball, where they could bedazzle their complimentary gold masks with glitter, feathers and even tiny fake butterflies that would feel at home in the Academy’s butterfly room.
The dance, according to Williams, was a hit long before it arrived. “I was really proud to have sold out more than a week in advance and still had people calling the CAB office nonstop asking for tickets,” she said.
However, that isn’t to say there weren’t a few bumps on the big day. An unexpected snow squall set the committee back two hours in arriving for final setup, which was accomplished in just 45 minutes. Williams also admitted to worrying that people would balk at the thought of braving the unappealing weather to come to the ball.
In the end, a picturesque party spot greeted the record-breaking crowd of 350 guests as they arrived. Everybody was dressed in their most elegant attire, including my man and me in matching gold and black. Guests made a beeline for the “locavore grazing table,” which offered a spread of local breads, fruits and veggies to dip in a vat of heavenly cheese fondue.
The hottest attraction of the evening was the photo booth set up near the dance floor. Students could dress up in goofy hats, wigs and glasses scattered about in the curtained room for their photo strip souvenirs. The butterfly room was also open to explore; my roommate made a new friend who decided to relax on her purse while she took photos!
After some time, dinner was served. The menu showed that CAB truly accepted nothing less than the best. The thinly sliced steak was juicy and tender, and the lemon-basil chicken was bursting with flavor. Baked macaroni and cheese made the perfect choice for a chilly winter’s night, and even the simple salad and rolls were fresh and tasty.
With everybody’s bellies happily filled, it was dance time. The disc jockey kept the tunes rolling one into the next, taking requests for greatest hits and crowd favorites. Along with staples like the “Cupid Shuffle,” the whole room broke into the latest invisible-horse-riding dance craze that is “Gangnam Style.” All members of the homecoming court were also presented before the official king and queen coronation the next day.
To the members of CAB, these sorts of happy moments are what make months of hard work worthwhile.
“The most satisfying aspect is the success of [the] event determined by smiles on the face of everyone who attends the ball,” CAB marketing director Kunal Shukla said.
In the future, CAB has even bigger plans for Crystal Ball, looking for larger venues and even more ticket sales.