The party crashers are pooped. We hit two parties on Saturday night: Young Audiences of New Jersey and the Diamond Jubilee of Jewish Family & Children’s Service at the Westin (see this space next week).

But don’t worry. As long as the food’s good and the party’s hopping, we’re happy campers.

The Young Audiences of New Jersey gala’s ’50s sock hop theme was carried out perfectly. First, it was in the school’s gym like a real sock hop would be. The Alley Cats came all the way from southern California to belt out tunes that made your heart pump just a little faster and believe that maybe, just maybe, the Fonz would make a surprise appearance. Later in the evening the Bobby Sox Brigade, a professional swing dance troupe, performed and gave a lesson to guests on the dance floor.

Most of the nearly 200 guests definitely dressed the part, with plenty of cardigans, kerchiefs tied around the neck, and sports team jackets. Karl Schellscheidt, Princeton Class of ’90 and founder of, gets my prize for bravest hair (see photo below right) for his take on the Squiggy do.

When we arrived, Ann Betterton, development director of YANJ, greeted us and said, “Don’t miss the fry bar!” Fry bar? I’m so there. I promptly ditched my crashing duties and made a beeline for Main Street Catering’s “Dashboard Diner.” Classic red and white cardboard boats of French fries stayed warm under a diner-style hot light with do your own toppings: cheddar cheese sauce, chili pepper powder, and Old Bay seasoning. I skipped the hotdogs, hamburger sliders, and salad in a martini glass. Potatoes are their own food group.

Choices at the mini-TV-dinner station included mac and cheese and sweet peas, chicken a la king and cabernet rice and grains, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. All were served with chunky applesauce. The dessert bar dished up mini milkshakes and root beer floats, giant cookies, and brownies.

Best silent auction item? A day on the racetrack — with you behind the wheel of a Lotus.

The event raised approximately $80,000, which will be used to support YANJ’s programming with the mission of “helping ensure that children from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to experience live performances and hands-on workshops at school throughout New Jersey.”

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