Inaugural Ball Fireworks

Guests brave the cold to watch the fireworks from the Ballroom balcony. Friday February 28 2014 Inaugural Ball honoring Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian at Resorts. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Ben Fogletto

ATLANTIC CITY — More than 600 people turned out to Friday night’s inaugural ball at Resorts Hotel and Casino to honor new Mayor Don Guardian and raise funds for the city’s students.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation to provide scholarships for Atlantic City residents.

“I want to thank the people that came out tonight,” Mayor Guardian said. “I’m hoping everyone has a good time and knows the benefits of this program. It’s going to send a lot of kids to college.”

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A handful of guests braved the chill air to view an 8 p.m. fireworks show on a balcony, but most simply pressed up to the windows to catch a view. Dozens gathered below on the Boardwalk to watch the show.

Inside, Guardian — decked out in a top-hat and cane, a la Mr. Monopoly — shook guests’ hands as they filtered in to the ballroom.

Plates were $250 per person, and individuals and groups could also sponsor the event for donations ranging from $550 to $30,000. All told, the event raised more than $300,000 for the foundation.

Guardian said he chose Atlantic Cape Community College because, at $4,000 tuition, it makes for the best use of resources.

“That’s the best bang for our dollar, it’s doing more with less,” he said.

The event was titled A New Beginning — just what many in attendance said they believe Guardian is for the city.

Margate resident Sam Lashman said he’s hopeful the mayor will make the city better for the future.

“I support the mayor and hope he brings some good change to the city, and some growth,” Lashman said.

Ventnor resident Martin Blumberg went a step further, saying he’s already seen a larger police presence near his Atlantic City office since Guardian took over in January.

A fan of Guardian’s since he directed the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Special Improvement Division, Blumberg said it’s Guardian’s charisma that allows him to get results.

“He has an amazing talent for picking good people to work under him, and also to inspire everybody who works under him,” he said. “He has amazing energy. I mean, I see the change already.

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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