[VIDEO]That’s so ravin’: 41st annual Beaux Arts Ball attracts more than 3,500



A steady stream of foil and cardboard-clad robots, roller-skating divas and neon-laden techno rave junkies marched toward the erratic beat of two rivalring concerts playing electro and pop rock.

Entering the Distillery District on Manchester Street Saturday evening may have felt like a grown-up Halloween parade. And for the night, it was.

Students and community members from Lexington brought art, costumes and music to the Distillery District for the 41st annual Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday night to raise money for charity geared toward the arts.

The Pepper Warehouse, a former bourbon distillery, literally shook from the vibrations of the rave taking place inside. The other concert, under a white tent, echoed sounds of rock music and the undertone of chatter off the warehouse walls into surrounding neighborhoods.

A fleet of police cars watched the crowd and the occasional tow truck hard at work thinning out the dozens of illegally parked cars.

On the other side of the road, a burly security guard armed with a megaphone commanded the overanxious crowd, crying out, “Alright everyone, you need to clear the road, I don’t want none of you all being bumper meat.”

The only problem: the line of waiting entrants backed up some 300 feet at times to stretch nearly back to the guard.

Telecommunications junior John Buckman, assistant director of the Beaux Arts Ball, said preliminary estimates for attendance reached 3,500 to 3,700 people throughout the night, with people coming and going to stay in code with the fire marshal.

The scene relaxed temporarily, after passing the entrance, as people moved from outdoors to indoors to port-a-potties to bars for refills. A fire dancer methodically twirled his flaming batons, introducing new entrants to the masquerade that awaited them inside.

The chill of the cool air forced most of the party-goers indoors, into the dark warehouse filled to the brim with drag queens and superheroes, surrounding a stage flanked by two elevated dance towers adorned with the most spirited dancers in the establishment. An eight-foot golden robot labeled “The Chaotic Good,” owned by a disc jockey group with the same name, took center stage, slowly dancing and breaking it down.

One of the volunteers was Laurel Christiansen, an architecture senior and director of the Beaux Arts Ball.

“We only have around 12 volunteers,” Christiansen said. “But we are making things work with what we have.”

Christiansen kept her attire cool in comparison to the attendees, sporting a black and white toboggan and a black coat.

“I’m surprised with how many people came out half-naked,” Christiansen said. “It’s pretty chilly.”

This was Christiansen’s first year as director, but she has been one of the best directors in recent years, said Brock Ward, one of the coordinators and owner of Soirée Entertainment, an event management company for local events.

No matter how much planning can be done, some things can’t be accounted for, Christiansen said, like having to shut down the outdoor concert due to noise complaints.

That won’t be the case next year, Buckman said, because they will be eligible for a permit which allows for excessive noise.

The acts that didn’t get to perform may still have a chance.

“We are in the process of putting together a make-up show,” Buckman said.

Even with minor setbacks, the Beaux Arts Ball is still bringing attention to the Distillery District, which is one of its goals, Christiansen said.

“I don’t have a lot of experience working events, but its been extremely rewarding,” Christiansen said. “Seeing everyone having a great time makes all this worth it.”