Uncertainty follows the change of Grad Nite from the traditional timing to an all-day park experience, including the distribution of Dippin’ Dots
Grad Nite, one of the first in-person senior events for the class of 2021, had a rocky start. While originally planned at Great America for 8pm to midnight, within a week the Grad Nite committee had to change gears quickly to stay within local Covid-19 regulations and transition into a daytime event. While this does allow more time in the park, some seniors noticed other changes such as the event mixing with members of the general public and the previous high promises of unlimited food and Dippin’ Dots.
Unlimited Dippin’ Dots, a major selling point for the event, has been removed from the wording of the package. With a pint of Dippin’ Dots often costing more than premium ice cream pints like Ben & Jerry’s, the change is one of the most drastic. There is also a question of how “unlimited” the food package is. Michelle Soares, a member of the Grad Nite committee, expressed a number of parameters around the package.
“Now that we are a daytime event the students now get unlimited food for the day. What does that mean? Every 90 minutes you can go to any of the four designated restaurants and get a meal and drink by scanning your Grad Nite wristband. You will also get a $10 midway game card that is included,” says Soares.
The limitations on food items seem to correlate with the lengthening of the event, but the Grad Nite committee has not specifically explained the change in Dippin’ Dot availability. It is also unclear if Grad Nite’s non-refundable policy is flexible to refund the select number of students who bought in hopes of unlimited Dippin’ Dots or were only available for the after-hours event.
While the changes in food packages are disappointing for some, mixing with the general public may cause concerns for others. Soares mentions that the number of additional people outside of FUSD is still within Covid-19 safety measures.
“The park has strict rules they have implemented and are following and they only can have a 25% capacity which is around 3500-4000 people. FUSD Grad Nite has 2000 of those tickets. Now that the entire park will be open there is lots of space for everyone,” says Soares.
Dippin’ Dots will still be available at Great America for those willing to pay the extra price. While select seniors mourn long lost dreams of swimming in a sea of cold Dippin’ Dots, many remain optimistic towards the limited number of activities provided to seniors. Is the situation perfect? No, but it’s not like seniors can go to prom instead.