Centennial Gala promises a night to remember

The center staircase in the new corporate park at 650 McHenry Road in Aberdeen will greet all revelers to the APG Centennial Gala set for Friday, Oct. 20. | Photo by Yvonne Johnson, APG News

On Oct. 20, 2017, Harford County will be the site of the “Party of the Century” – the Aberdeen Proving

Ground Centennial Gala, the culminating event of APG’s 100th Anniversary celebration.

The APG Centennial Celebration Association, or ACCA, has reserved three floors in Aberdeen’s newest business park for an evening of unprecedented entertainment, dining and dancing. Already, the Gala has been dubbed the region’s Party of the Century because of the plentiful entertainment planned. This includes three floors of bands, dancing, comedians, a casino, gourmet food stations, open bars, and performers such as dueling pianos, acrobats, dancers, magicians, stilt walkers, and other feats of daring, all in a beautiful cabaret setting. Fireworks will cap off the night followed by an After Party at the Speakeasy, on the first floor, when revelers can kick back and enjoy a nightcap with friends and colleagues.

Joan Michel, a former APG employee who worked for the Edgwood Chemical Biological Center and the Chemical Materials Agency for 12 years, and chair of the Gala planning committee, said it’s important to remember that the community is celebrating the ground-breaking innovations and contributions that have sprung from APG over the past 100 years.

“This is a great opportunity to recognize APG’s long history of providing technical solutions and innovations for the battlefield, to connect with peers at other organizations and reconnect with former colleagues,” she said.

Michel said the cabaret theme matches the historical era that surrounded the birth of APG.

“It really honors that period in history when APG was founded,” she said, noting that cabaret-style entertainment was the rage with parties featuring all types of entertainment going on at once.

It will be much the same for the gala which promises three floors of non-stop entertainment, including a casino on the first floor and entertainers, bands and refreshments on the other two. An unforgettable evening awaits Centennial revelers, she said.

“We tried to incorporate everything you’d expect from a cabaret into the night’s entertainment.” Committee members have tried to think of everything. The fireworks that close down the evenings’ entertainment will take place in a rear lot where a seating area and complimentary hot dogs and popcorn will be available for guests as well as for folks from the neighboring subdivision who’d like to watch the show.

“Not everyone will join us at the cabaret but we can still celebrate this night together,” Michel said. “Everyone loves fireworks.”

In addition, earlier in the evening celebrants will be able to take flight in a hot air balloon that will be on hand for the more adventurous guests, she said.

“Yes, you heard right, a hot air balloon, Michel laughed. “Nothing’s too good for the APG 100.”

Several members of the Gala committee are APG retirees. Assisting them is Tim McNamara, who began his career in the Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works in the 1970s and went on to eventually direct the DPW and then the installation as the deputy to the Garrison commander. McNamara is coordinating parking logistics. With an anticipated 800 guests, parking is of prime importance and logistics are already being coordinated with local law enforcement, McNamara said.

“We certainly don’t want parking to be an issue and we don’t want our guest’s first exposure to the gala to be an unpleasant one,” he said.

In addition, Michel added, discount agreements for Gala attendees have been reached with local hotels in Aberdeen and with the Uber company which also will offer special rates for party-goers.

“We want everyone to come, get in the spirit of the celebration and enjoy themselves with no worries about getting home safely,” she said.

The APG Centennial Gala will be held 7 to 11 p.m. at the Aberdeen Corporate Park, 650 McHenry Road in Aberdeen, Maryland, Friday, Oct. 20. Tickets are available at http://www.apg100.org/gala. There is special pricing for service members and civilians at or below E-9 and GS 12, as well as for community emergency responders and educators. This once-in-a-lifetime celebration is open to everyone. Discounts on groups of eight or more are also available. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to http://www.apg100.org/gala, call 410-838-ARMY or email gala@apg100.org.

By Yvonne Johnson, APG News