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Gamble the night away

Autumn Phillips

Sandy Pugh had a line of people trying on costumes Wednesday in preparation for New Year’s Eve parties. Several people are throwing theme parties this year, and Pugh, owner of Celebrations, is at her creative best.

“Everyone waits until the last minute,” she said.

Behind the counter, she has a list of ideas for the biggest New Year’s party of all, the Gambler’s Ball. The theme this year is “Viva Las Vegas” and for any woman who doesn’t want to dress like a chorus girl, Pugh has some other suggestions.

She has costumes for Marilyn Monroe, Ann Margaret, Dolly Parton and Cher.

For the men, she has Elvis costumes in a variety of sizes. She has Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Liberace and Wayne Newton. And for anyone with a bizarre sense of humor, she also has costumes for Siegfried and Roy.

“I’ve also been dressing the card dealers,” Pugh said. “They like the traditional look with the garter on their arm like an old-fashion dealer.”

By 8 p.m. Friday, when the party starts, Pugh will have everyone dressed and ready.

This is the second annual Gambler’s Ball, organized to raise money for the operating expense of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp and Emerald City Opera.

Money raised will go toward the staging of ECO’s summer production of “The Merry Widow.”

Last year, the benefit raised $3,800, which was split evenly between the two organizations. This year, attendees will be given a chance to win a trip for two to Vegas.

The Gambler’s Ball is organized based on four rotating gambling themes. Last year, the theme was the “Roaring ’20s.” This year, the theme is “Viva Las Vegas,” and the following two years will be “Monte Carlo” and “Saloon.”

People are given $100 of fake money to gamble during the night. The most popular game last year was craps, ECO director Keri Rusthoi said. After the players gamble away all their “money,” they can buy more.

At the end of the night, an award is given to the person who won the most.

Elvis impersonator Johnny Loos will provide entertainment Friday night. The organizers of the event found Loos online and chose him from many Elvis impersonators because he grew up in Cheyenne, Wyo.

There also will be a martini bar, a professional disc jockey and a champagne toast at midnight. Ambiente is donating its giant clock for the evening, and Elvis will lead the countdown.

The Oak Street Performing Arts Company will have a photo booth, just as it did last year, where people can get their picture taken with Elvis and a showgirl inside a wedding chapel. The photos cost $5, and the proceeds go to support the performing arts group.

Last year, 250 people came to the Gambler’s Ball. More are expected this year.

“This is a see and be seen event,” Rusthoi said. “And Elvis will be there.”

Tickets are $60 and are available at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Hotel, All That Jazz, Perry-Mansfield and in the information center at the Steamboat Ski Area. Reserved tables for 10 people can be purchased for $550.


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