JSC community gets its groove on at the 39th annual Casino Night


Mary Fafard

Rachele Funk and Alyssa August win big

On Friday, March 11, the doors of the Stearns Dining Hall opened at 8:00 p.m. to welcome the JSC community to the 39th Annual Casino Night for a groovy evening of eating, dancing, and gambling.

The SGA sold 180 tickets to Casino Night, 103 of which were during the preceding two weeks for a discounted price.

The event wasn’t only for entertainment: $1,156.50 of the night’s proceeds went to The United Way of Lamoille County, a rise from previous years.

“I loved watching community members come together for a good cause,” said Mary Fafard, chair of the SGA’s Casino Night Committee. “Seeing everyone smiling, dancing, and having a good time made all the stress of planning worth it.”

This year, Casino Night’s theme was “Disco Fever,” which meant that the decor was largely made up of multicolored lights and assorted 70s-style cutouts, including a nearly-lifesize Elvis Presley near the DJ. Some attendees took the theme into consideration when dressing for the event, from tie-dye to full-body spangles.

Tables arranged around the hall offered an assortment of games, including Blackjack, Roulette, and Texas Hold ’Em. A table in the corner held two slot machines, which required special coins rather than the poker chips that the other games used.

Each of the gaming tables was manned by a volunteer who dealt cards, gave players the appropriate winnings, and kept the game running smoothly. “During the event I was very pleased and impressed by every member who stepped up and worked the tables,” said Fafard.

The music, DJ’d by Eric Wilson of Good Guy Productions, alternated between modern pop, remixes of older songs, and actual disco, but was always loud and danceable. At points when the game tables lacked open seats, the open area in front of the DJ became a spot for the more actively inclined attendees to show off their moves.

For those who didn’t feel like dancing, the far corner of the dining hall had an arrangement of snacks and beverages, including some juice and soda “mixed drinks” and a three-tiered chocolate fondue.

Attendees over the age of 21 had the option to enter a more private room to the right of the main hall, where they could order alcohol and try to find a seat at one of the room’s two card tables.

Around 11:15 p.m., the game tables closed down and attendees formed a long queue to exchange their chips for fake $100 bills. This process took a fair amount of time, during which the event’s large crew of volunteers broke down the tables and attendees loitered around, counting their winnings.

Once everyone had cashed in their chips, the auction began that made everyone’s hard gambling work worth it.

Fafard MC’d, offering a variety of objects and taking bids for each. Attendees who had decided to stay until the end of the night formed a crowded horseshoe around her, shouting out bids overtop of one another until they reached the limit of their night’s winnings. The overall effect was rather chaotic, but the spirit of competition kept up the energy among participants. Some even got a bit carried away by it, as in the case of Sam Lewis, who bidded on and won a gift card for a ski tune-up before exclaiming, “Wait, I just remembered I don’t ski!” and returning his prize.

Once all of the gift cards, SGA t-shirts, stuffed animals, jars of peanut butter, and assorted other items had been successfully auctioned off, the night was over and the crowd steadily dispersed.

“The whole SGA did an amazing job,” said Fafard. “They came together for a quick and efficient set up at 3 p.m. . . . By the end of the night, everyone still had energy, and with the help of SLAP [Student Led Activity Programming] members we were able to clear out, clean up, and reset the dining hall within 50 minutes.”

Casino Night is one of JSC’s biggest annual events, and is one that staff, students, and community members can all enjoy.

“Personally, I love Casino Night because it brings to life the atmosphere of a casino without the attached price of a real casino,” said Lucien Pease, a JSC sophomore who attended the event for his second time this year. “The food is great, and seeing everyone dressed up is nice. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t attended.”