The Crow Bar and Casino Lounge bustled with activity last Saturday. Inside the inconspicuous building was a re-do of what some call “the best night of your life”: prom.
Illuminated by the bright glow of neon signs advertising various alcoholic beverages were at least 80 mingling Augustana students.
Silver ribbons separated the raised island in the back of the bar from the rest of the establishment. Sparkly spirals and stars hung from the ceiling, and glittering grad cap garlands were draped between posters on the walls. All decorations were borrowed from senior Bryce Wollman’s mother from a play he participated in during high school.
The idea for the first annual Crow Bar prom—affectionately referred to as “Crom”—had humble beginnings: a bathtub tweet sent from junior Elizabeth Petersen on Feb. 22.
“Okay, get this,” the tweet read. “A prom……. But for adults. Located at the Crow. Crow Prom, if you will. Not necessarily bird themed, but could be.”
“I was scrolling on my phone while in the bathtub and saw an ad for prom dresses and thought, ‘Man, I didn’t even like prom that much but I like buying dresses.’ So I was like, why isn’t there an equivalent but for young people?” Petersen said.
But where could such an event be held?
“The dumb thought was that we could do it at the Crow,” Petersen said. “Like we do everything.”
Wollman later replied to Petersen’s tweet to show his support.
“I might have been drinking when I sent that,” Wollman said. “I’m surprised she responded.”
Wollman said he saw the tweet and really connected to the idea.
“I love costumes and dressing up, so I was like, ‘This has to happen; this can’t just be a thought,’” Wollman said.
And the rest was history.
In order to prepare for Crom, Petersen pitched the idea to Jed, one of the bartenders at the Crow, and she said he was enthusiastic about the idea. She also ran the idea past the bar’s manager.
Crow Prom seemed well-received by the student community. The bartenders said the establishment was over capacity at some points during the night. At times, a line spilled out of the front door, and junior Nicole Kratz said she had to wait 45 minutes for a drink.
Even though his plans for renting a limo fell through, Wollman said the night was “amazing.”
Senior Sara Waldner agreed.
“I loved the turnout at Crow Prom,” Waldner said. “It was so nice to see so many different people and faces. I’m the most excited about the outfits, honestly.”
Waldner herself donned a blue denim blazer patterned with white stars.
Though the dress code was open-ended, Wollman told people to wear clothes they wouldn’t be upset getting a little messy. Outfits ranged from 80s prom dresses, suits and ties and even Hawaiian button-ups with jorts.
Chucking up the peace sign, junior Coleman Peterson, who dressed as an Augustana Campus Safety officer, said, “Crom is an American tradition that started this year and we are ready to make it a tradition for the years to come.”
“Frankly, Crom brings the community together in a way that no other Augustana event does,” he added.
Seniors Grace Fjellanger and Megan Kipfer dressed in double denim ensembles in tribute to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’s red carpet look at the 2001 American Music Awards.
“This is the best time to go to the Crow because all the Augie people are here,” said Fjellanger. “For the second annual Crow Prom, you guys should make it themed.”
However, not everyone was satisfied with the costumes. As John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” rang out, senior Bailey Nelson said that people weren’t dressed up enough. She wore a black business suit and, coincidentally, a pink cowboy hat.
Senior Ann Marie Anderson donned a red, 2000s-style prom dress and said she thought a lot of people were dressed “too nice.”
Nelson told Anderson she “looks like she listens to Mandy Moore in her free time.”
“It was a blast,” a bartender said. “It was big—it was huge! You guys definitely represented. You’re gonna have to do it again next year.”
The bartender said they even ran out of glasses.
Petersen said she hopes to make it happen again next year.
Since Crow Prom was open to alumni, Wollman said he would probably come back for Crom 2020.
“I think it’s hilarious that this was a tweet and now it’s become this,” Wollman said.