The night after the senior class of 2018 threw its caps in the air, they put on their dancing shoes, sparkling dresses and formal suits to walk the red carpet into Castle Gould. After walking the carpet past a crowd of proud parents, the new graduates were met with the 2018 Gambol theme—the millennium.
“The theme is a surprise until they walk into the castle,” said 2018 Gambol chairs Laurie Passauer and Rita Di Lucia, who spent all year running fundraisers and planning the event with the committee. “They were born in 1999 and 2000, so they are millennials.”
The night featured casino games in which students could utilize fake money to play along with end of the evening raffle prizes ranging from $100 gift cards to $500 prizes. In one room, there were video games from the year 2000 and beyond including pinball, Pac-Man, a giant Foosball table that accommodated a 10-person game and more.
Because the celebration continued until 2 a.m., and both Gambol chairs wanted the night to be like an elegant New Year’s Eve party, they had a countdown to a confetti drop at 1 a.m. to send the grads off into the future. Throughout the evening, a montage of high school photos played as graduates danced, ate and celebrated at one of their last events together.
The 2018 Gambol chairs explained that they had been asked throughout the year what the theme would be, but the two kept it under wraps to enjoy the excitement on students’ faces as they first walked in.
“We love seeing the kids faces when they walk in,” said the co-chairs. “They’re walking into this big huge space and seeing the theme, how it unraveled. We call it the black box because we’re literally getting a big black hole. Everyone comes together and decorates, constructs and paints. It transforms into this beautiful event.”
While watching students faces see the millennium themes for the first time is one of their favorite parts of the Gambol, the chairs’ other favorite part is when students walk or sometimes dance down the red carpet.
“When they walk they step out of that car, they put their foot on the red carpet and see themselves on a big TV screen and they love it,” explained the co-chairs. “They feel like this is special.”
The 2018 Gambol is Port Washington’s 66th Gambol, which may be for the students but proves to be a community event with its local volunteers, donations from local businesses and restaurants and the community viewing hours before its start.