It’s tough to stand out in the crowd of outlandish get-ups at the World’s Largest Disco.
But Kevin Everett was managing to do just that, wearing a white suit equipped with blinking lights and the word “Love” on the back.
“I made it,” Everett said. The Amherst resident got the idea from watching a ’70s movie “where a guy was all lit up and had fish in his shoes.” He ordered those kinds of platform shoes to wear to the party, but they didn’t arrive in time.
The Disco packed Buffalo Niagara Convention Center with 7,000 revelers who were running a Saturday night fever, unabashedly celebrating the music and fashion of the era. As the main party was gearing up on the center’s upper level, the VIP party in the downstairs ballrooms was rolling. Partygoers strolled by dressed as Wonder Woman, a motorcycle cop from “CHiPs” and Hugh Hefner.
Pat Kennedy of Tonawanda was convincing as the construction worker from the Village People. His helmet was labeled Macho Man “because I’m the epitome of machoness,” a claim reinforced by his open shirt and gold chain.
Fashion has changed – thankfully, most would say – since disco’s days, but some things about the World’s Largest Disco have not. The event again sold out swiftly, just six hours after tickets – $70 for general admission and $135 for VIP – went on sale in August.
And the party generated more funds for Camp Good Days and Special Times. This year’s event was expected to raise $400,000, pushing the amount raised for the camp past the $3.5 million mark, said promoter David Pietrowski.
About 500 volunteers helped out at the event, including Tom and Ellen Galey of Hamburg, whose daughter has benefited from going to Camp Good Days.
“We’re doing it to pay back,” Tom Galey said.
The Disco has been held annually since 1994, after a 15-year gap following the first edition in 1979. It has become a staple of downtown entertainment on the Saturday night after Thanksgiving.
This year’s featured celebrity guests were the stars of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, John Schneider and Tom Wopat. A replica of their famous car, the General Lee, was displayed at the VIP party.
Pietrowski said he appreciates the impact the party has beyond the Convention Center. “What I love is, there’s more limousines rented tonight than on New Year’s Eve in Buffalo. The Hyatt has 390 rooms; we have 370 of them. ... These are all people in Buffalo spending money in downtown Buffalo. Every parking lot is filled. It’s been a really unique experience for me that this thing kind of spun off, besides the vintage clothing stores and things.”