As a longtime Back to the Future fanatic, Scott freaked out when this year’s Jump Back Ball theme was announced. The guy knew what his costume was going to be almost immediately. Because of this and because I’m chair of PlayhouseSquare Partners, the group that organizes Jump Back Ball each year, I figured a recap’s better coming from him than me. After reading it, I was right. Enjoy!
Last month I partied like it was 2015.
If you’re like me, those years immediately bring forth one thought: Marty McFly’s adventures through time in the Back To The Future trilogy. Since its release, Back To The Future and its sequels have had a huge impact on me, and are three of my favorite films.
So, when the actual year 2015 rolled around, I couldn’t have been more pleased that PlayhouseSquare Partners didn’t waste the opportunity to celebrate Doc Brown’s time traveling DeLorean in style with the 24th Annual Jump Back Ball. It was, appropriately enough, entitled Jump Back To The Future.
Back To The Future movies encompass a wide range of time periods and settings, and I was extremely pleased that they were all captured throughout the party. The movies began in 1985, so it was only right that the evening’s starting place – the Connor Palace’s VIP Area – had 80s themed centerpieces, complete with flip-up shades and Rubik’s Cubes. The radical atmosphere was complemented by Driftwood’s delicious calamari, ice cream, and various bruschetta. Outside the theatre was a DeLorean that begged to be posed with (See above.).
1955, the year Doc Brown invented time travel while Marty’s parents fell in love, was perfectly encapsulated on the State Theatre stage. Jump Back’s version of the Enchantment Under The Sea dance was beautiful, with floating sea life, an ocean backdrop, and an ice sculptor bar. We were treated to a wonderful dinner by Chef Chris Hodgson, enjoying our champagne-complemented meal in the theatre seats before be-bopping it up on stage, daddy-o, with a 50s themed band. The singer came out amongst the dancers and had some great rapport, and when the sound blew out for a short time they began singing to people for birthdays and anniversaries.
1885’s Old West was spread throughout the party. Many of the bars were themed as saloons (featuring LaBatt’s Bourbon Barrel Ale samples). A locomotive engine, complete with smoking smoke stack, greeted the partiers as they entered through the State Lobby.
Back to the Future’s take on our current year had little touches spread throughout the party. Hoverboards floated behind the card dealers, a JAWS 19 poster was hung, and Mr. Fusions were ready to accept anyone’s trash.
Even the alternate timeline of 1985a was covered by Biff’s Casino in the State Theatre Mezzanine’s table games area.
As the evening drew to a close, a variety of partiers, Martys, Doc Browns, Biffs, and Jennifers from all time periods came together in the State Theatre Lobby to close out the night with music from our own 2015.
After 24 Jump Back Ball,s you’d think the process would be stale. I haven’t been doing it that long, but each year I’ve come in to find a group of people who just could not be more excited to make the next one happen. The challenges of the decor excite them, even when the task is overwhelming – like making a train engine that smokes. The enthusiasm — it, too, is overwhelming.
When all the building, and coordinating, and priming is done, then the party starts. It is so much fun to come in every year and see what people have worn. Even people who had nothing to do with the preparation show up in incredible outfits because they want to do something different and enjoy themselves.
Somebody had a highly-detailed hoverboard strapped to their back. Others showed up with glowing neon piping. Others were in complete Old West regalia. And you know what, if you were in a suit or a dress and just having a great time oooing and aweing at what other people wore, you were just as much in the spirit of things as anyone else.
It takes a special kind of party to let people do that. To just show up and let yourself find the fun in an evening. So yes, I am certainly proud of the decorations and details that had sweat and inspiration poured into them. I’m always eager for the food, and the drink, and the music.
But what makes Jump Back Ball great, even after 24 of them, are the excited attitudes of the people who show up to have a good time in a beautiful Cleveland landmark.
And as long as that keeps happening, I’ll always be happy to attend.