With a whirl of feathers, pearls, poker chips and hot jazz tunes, the Arts Ballroom in Center City was swept back to the Roaring Twenties for a night of fun — Drexel’s 2012 Crystal Ball. Students dressed to the nines and gathered to eat, dance and be merry Jan.27 thanks to the hard work of the Campus Activities Board’s Traditions Committee and adviser Ed Kovacs. The winter semiformal has been a running tradition since at least 2004, giving a new and exciting experience with each passing year.
When it comes to preparations for this wintertime fling, you need to start the hunt while it’s still shorts weather. According to event head Stacey Sassaman, the first order of business is location, location, location. The ball is typically held in more traditional, wedding-esque venues such as hotels and the Crystal Tearoom. For 2012’s dance, though, CAB was seeking a trendier spot, leading them to the gaslight-illuminated Avenue of the Arts. Crowd size and theme coordination are also matters of consideration during the search.
After a ballroom had been picked out, it was time to make it shine. To go with the 20s motif, members of CAB hand-selected period-appropriate decor, such as vintage glassware in a myriad of sizes and colors picked up at thrift stores. Flowers, favors, lights, tableware — every detail played a part in setting the perfect party scene, right down to the seat cushions.
Finally, the night arrived. Dressed in a glittering black dress and long silk gloves, I made my entrance on the arm of my fedora-adorned man. We were greeted by a ritzy scene plucked from the pages of “The Great Gatsby.” A quartet of musicians treated us to some jazz as we were directed to our assigned tables. This was a special treat, according to Sassaman, who commented that the only music usually comes from a disc jockey, but the 2012 theme cried out for that special touch of authenticity. Each place was marked with a complimentary jar of old-fashioned hard candies and toffees, including a strand of plastic pearls for the ladies and a deck of cards for the gents.
One of the highlights of the ball, naturally, was the luscious dinner. With perfectly juicy cuts of steak, rich lobster macaroni and cheese, creamy mashed potatoes and savory spinach ravioli, it was a spread to make Drexel’s dining hall green as the roasted asparagus spears with envy. A smiling bartender stirred up virgin beverages such as Shirley Temples and ginger ale-orange juice mimosas. Near the end of the evening, a selection of petite cookies, brownie squares and biscotti drew quite a line.
Throughout the evening, guests entertained themselves by trying their hand at the poker table on the second floor and taking black-and-white photo strips in CAB’s photo booth. At one point the members of the homecoming court were presented in anticipation of the king and queen’s coronation the following day at the basketball game. Once the band took its leave, the DJ took over and kicked off everyone’s favorite tunes. The ballroom exploded as people poured onto the dance floor to show off their moves, backed up by LMFAO, the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and other hot artists.
Watching the partying crowd, Sassaman remarked that apart from the moment when all 400 student tickets finally sold out, the best part of the entire Crystal Ball process was happening right then — seeing months of hard work come together in one fantastic night. As I boarded the bus home, I wholeheartedly agreed with her. The toil of the Traditions Committee truly paid off, giving these 400 Dragons a roaring evening they won’t soon forget.