Mandan citizens get ready for after-grad party
By Dustin White
As graduation nears, a group of Mandan residents are busy putting the final touches on an Ultimate party. Beginning as a way to give graduates and their friends a safe and friendly place to gather after their big day, the event has grown considerably over the years.
It was 30 years ago that the Mandan Ultimate After Grad Party was initially established. As the community searched for a way to provide a safe haven for their children who were graduating, a group of parents decided that the best means was to host an exciting party.
After the success of the first event, as well as the support the community had provided, making the party an annual occurrence seemed like the right step to take.
Today, now nearly 350 seniors, juniors, and invited sophomores attend the event. Yet even with the success that the party has experienced, there are still many individuals and businesses who are not aware about the Ultimate.
“There are people who haven’t heard about the Ultimate and what we do,” Lisa Helbling, President of the Mandan Ultimate After Grad Party committee, said. “But those who do know about us have been very supportive.”
Wanting to give back to the community that has supported this event over the years, the Ultimate committee has kept much of it local, from hosting the event at the Midway Bowling Alley to purchasing Mandan Money as part of the prizes for the night.
In order to support the event, the committee has relied heavily on the community. Throughout the year they have hosted number of fundraisers, and have sought donations from individuals and businesses, who want to see the area’s graduates have a safe place to celebrate their big day.
The payoff this year is an Ultimate party that is incorporating more events than years past. Highlighting the night will be a hypnotist, a D.J. and karaoke, photo booth and black jack, as well as a number of prizes in which the students must be present to win.
As with every year though, finding the volunteers to help plan and manage the event has been difficult.
“This is something that volunteers completely provide,” said Helbling. “Our organization is outside the school, so we rely on individuals in the community to step-up and make this possible.”
This year’s Ultimate party will be held on May 25, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. For more information on how to donate to the event, or how to volunteer, call Lisa Helbling at 701-527-3330.