Students “Let Their Hair Down” at Crimson Nights

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Christopher Samuels

(Photo by Chris Samuels)

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(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

The sights and sounds of Mardi Gras came alive Friday evening at the Union Programming Council’s Crimson Nights.

The regular drab of the Union was transformed into a party that welcomed over 3,500 students. Purple, green and yellow balloons were strung from the ceiling and strewn across the dance floor, and bright beaded necklaces were scattered across tables.

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Doors were set to open at 9 p.m., but crowds arrived as early as 8:30. Security was on hand to ensure no one snuck in before doors opened, but several students tried to enter through the accessible button outside the Union entrance. Those who managed to find a way in were soon escorted back out to wait with the crowd.

This year marks the first time Mardi Gras has coincided with Crimson Nights. Hans Harris, director of the event, said UPC wanted to move away from the familiar venues of face painting, bouncy houses and hand molds to give a fresh face to the event.

“There is so much for the senses to take in this year,” Harris said. “We have a photo booth, street performers are walking around, and on the dance floor you can dance with LED hula hoop girls. We wanted to create an event where everyone could let their hair down and forget about everything for a few hours and just have fun.”

Some students in attendance, however, seemed less than impressed with the flashiness and chose to take a seat on the chairs by the Union ballroom with earplugs in and read a book. Others took naps and worked on homework.

Most students hit the dance floor to the beats of DJ Christo 3lektric, while others visited the on-site reptile handler or had their fortunes read by a tarot card reader.

Students such as Nora Abu-Dan, a senior in economics, enjoyed the living statue the most.

“My friends were taking a picture of me next to what I thought was just a normal statue, and then all of the sudden it moved,” Abu-Dan said. “I jumped about a foot in the air. He was so lifelike.”

Crimson Nights was free to all students carrying a UCard. Any students from other colleges were welcome to attend with a valid student ID card, but they had to pay a $5 entrance fee at the door.

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