|by Fay Jacobs|
|On the Horizon for New Year's Eve
By now, it's a tradition. Every New Year's Eve for the past four years, The Rehoboth Beach Convention Center has been the place to be for the women's crowdand quite a few men, too.
The Starburst Gayla women's dance always attracts a happy, energetic and diverse crowd of locals and visitors, dancing to the music of DJ Peggy Castle, who puts the emphasis on danceable music. "It's a great mix of oldies, dance tunes, Motown, you name it," says CAMP Rehoboth Treasurer Natalie Moss.
And she should know. Natalie has been involved in the Gayla from day one and continues to guide a committee of enthusiastic volunteers in producing a great event and raising money for charitable organizations at the same time. Roni Posner of Lewes, along with Cathin Bishop and Laura Simon from Rehoboth have also been on the Gayla team since the beginning. And it has been their vision that has made the event so memorable.
"We really cater to the crowd," says Natalie, noting that the event is very different from Rehoboth's traditional Sundance, Love and even Spash dances every year.
The Convention Center is only partially a dance floor, with tables and chairs, enough for most everyone to sit down, around the rest of the room. In addition, the Starburst Gayla crew is big on themes.
This year, it's a classy 1930s cruise ship dcor, with art deco touches and creatively produced table decorations. While the theme is elegant, the attendees are free to come in any attire they chooseand the party usually runs the gamut.
You'll see folks dressed to the nines or casual and comfortable, jeans to tuxes. And you'll also see women bring their relatives along, their men pals, and a whole mix of people celebrating the new year.
Natalie is thrilled that this tradition of a New Year's Eve dance has taken hold here in Rehoboth.
"I remember trying to put this kind of thing together in D.C., years ago," she recalls. The D.C. parties often wound up in unsafe neighborhoods, with no nearby parking and in rental halls with frozen pipes. "It was awful, and we all had to drive so far on New Year's Eve, which was unsafe in itself."
Now, for the fourth consecutive year, Rehoboth boasts a safe, warm location, where people who come to the event have only short distances to drive. "It's wonderful to have this opportunity to have a great event and raise money, too," says Natalie.
For the first time this year, proceeds from the event will benefit Tau House, a local half-way house in Georgetown for women recovering from chemical or alcohol dependence, along with donations to WomenHearta non-profit group that fights heart disease in women, and CAMP Rehoboth. There have been over $45,000 in proceeds from the past three years, thanks to the generous sponsors who cover the events costs.
In previous years, the Gayla has attracted between 400 and 500 people. This year, with New Year's Eve on a Saturday night, more women will be able to come from out of town and the committee is getting ready for a record-breaking year.
According to Natalie, tickets have been sold for parties of ten and twelve who are coming from Baltimore, D.C. or Philadelphia. And they will all be assured of a great music mix, from slow dancing to a touch of country western.
The Starburst Gayla is planned for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve, with great music, open bar, Midnight champagne toast, plus a dessert buffet. Tickets are $50 and can be obtained at the Camp Rehoboth office or by calling 302-227-5620.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 15 November 23, 2005