Tuxedos and sequined evening gowns were de rigueur as approximately 400 Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan-wannabes descended on Newport, RI for the January cohort’s final Newport Ball. The event, held in Mrs. Astor’s Beechwood Estate on the edge of Narragansett Bay, was sponsored by the Student Association and planned by Katherine Liu, NH and Christina Aragon, NI.
While the venue was actually chosen last year by the Class of 2001, Aragon and Liu spent over 100 hours planning all of the details of catering, music, drinks and decorations. They were thrilled with the results.
“I think everyone had a good time, and the weather turned out to be great,” Liu said. She had been concerned, since the forecast had b;een for rain. She said that the revenues from the admittedly steep $120 ticket price covered all of the expenses. Any profits will be returned to the SA.
The ball actually began earlier in the evening, with section pre-parties at local restaurants. Several buses circulated around town to transport people from location to location.
The party featured Italian and Asian cuisine both inside and in tents on the grounds. A DJ played a wide variety of tunes, from swing to hip-hop. The DJ was chosen over a live band because of their ability to play a wider variety of music. The swing band at last year’s event left a lot of attendees sitting on the sidelines because they didn’t know how to dance.
“It was a great night and very well-organized,” said Justin Livengood, NK. “It will definitely not be my last time in Newport.”
The mosquitoes were a problem, despite the tuxedoed and white-gloved attendants who were there to open and close the screen doors for the partygoers. “I should have brought the Off!, but otherwise it was great!” said Olga Swiatkiewicz, NK.
Bugs aside, the major comment was that they wished the party could have lasted longer. Unfortunately, Rhode Island law prevented the organizers from continuing the party after midnight, and the bars actually closed about 30 minutes before, surprising several partygoers. The parties continued at rental houses in town, but the Newport Police broke up at least one party, claiming there were too many people inside and around the house.
On Saturday, those who remained went sailing in the bay (see related article above), played golf in events organized by the HBS Sailing and Golf clubs, went shopping, or recovered from the prior night’s festivities.
Because of the size of next year’s cohort, it is unlikely that HBS students will be able to visit the Beechwood mansion again. A search has begun for a site large enough to hold more than 1,000 students and partners.
Many thanks to Christina and Katherine for all of their hard work, and all of us look forward to next year’s trip to Newport-this time in May.