LUDLOW, Vt. – On Sunday afternoon, when the Saints were still leading the Rams in the NFC Championship game, soon-to-be groom Angelo Onello and the rest of his bachelor party were in recovery mode, hanging out and watching football at their friend’s ski house in Proctorsville, a place Angelo’s family has been coming to for almost 30 years. At this point, most of the group had been partying for three solid days, as well as skiing at Okemo Mountain, decked out in their ‘80s regalia, and were enjoying the break.
Angelo and his bachelor party were thrust into the national spotlight after Will Novak from Arizona, having erroneously received an email invitation to Angelo’s bachelor party from Angelo’s brother Devin, responded that, although he didn’t know Angelo or much about skiing, he was coming. The group countered with a real invitation. The plan? Skiing at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt.
In two short weeks, Will Novak had set up a Go Fund Me page, secured over $4,000 for his trip (though his goal was a modest $750), and gained the attention of his local news media. The story then went viral and was picked up by national news outlets like The Washington Post, New York Post, USA Today, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. People have continued to follow the weekend highlights through Will Novak’s twitter feed, other news reports, Facebook posts from Okemo, and other folks around town, and by following #angelosbachelorparty.
On Sunday afternoon, Will Novak from Arizona was already gone, having left earlier that morning. After the group helped push Novak’s rental car out of a snow bank, he was driving down to New York City to prepare for an appearance the following day on Good Morning America. Angelo, his brother Devin, and Bill Novak, the REAL Will Novak, would all be joining him in NYC for the GMA interview that took place Monday.
Although the group has received so much attention this past weekend, the ‘80s clothing, the late-night partying, and good-natured craziness is just standard for this group. According to Angelo, this is “just do what we do every weekend.” The fact that his bachelor party has become national news seemed somewhat fitting for Angelo.
“The text messages I’ve been getting from my friends…‘Dude, of course your bachelor party would be on the freaking national news.’” According to Angelo, the most surprising thing people might discover is “how hard I go in anything I do in life.” His bachelor party, and the attention it’s given all of them, is certainly in keeping with that philosophy.
In meeting Will Novak from Arizona, the group greeted his Saturday 3 a.m. arrival with fireworks and “red carpet rollout.” The group partied until 5:30 a.m. that first night and have pretty much continued right on through. Everyone hit it off right away but agreed that filming inside the house was off limits. “We was cool. He gets it,” said Angelo.
Bill Novak, who during the weekend wore a t-shirt that read, “I am the REAL Will Novak” made sure the bachelor party stayed focused on Angelo. “I love that he [Will Novak from Arizona] came out and everything … me and Devin just wanted to make sure it was an authentic bachelor party. Not to get drunk but just to do what Angelo wanted to do. …It’s not about that. It’s about us being together.”
With so much social media buzz and excitement over their arrival, Okemo Mountain Resort and Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce both went out of their way to welcome the group. Okemo had signage up all over the mountain asking, “Where’s Angelo?” and hung a 30-foot banner near the entrance to greet them all. They also handed out hats and other swag.
Carol Lighthall and Diane Stockton-Breeze from the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce gathered gift certificates and small gift items from local businesses and dropped off goodie bags for the group at their cabin Friday morning. Okemo Mountain School, The Vermont Country Store, Knight Tubs, Blue Sky Trading, Neal’s Restaurant, Aubuchon Hardware, Depot Gallery, and Big Eyes Bakery all contributed. Killarney’s offered free wings to the group, and Du Jour VT set up an après ski party.
According to the guys, one of their most memorable highlights of the weekend was receiving a ride into town, courtesy of the Proctorsville Fire Department. Firemen Chris Marks and Bobby Glidden shuttled them from the ski house to Killarney’s on the fire truck, complete with lights blazing. “That fire department took us to the bars. That was so awesome,” said Angelo.
Everyone agreed that meeting lots of new people was another highlight of the weekend. Devin Onello, Angelo’s brother, said, “Honestly, we met so many cool people. We really did. Down to earth people just wanting to hang out.”
When asked if all the attention was overwhelming, Devin responded, “I don’t think it was too much. Being on the slopes definitely felt different than it usually did. Everybody taking out their cameras, videotaping. Everywhere you went, someone wanted another picture or someone wanted to speak to you. That was cool.”
Devin summed up the whirlwind they’ve all been enjoying. “You got to live in the moment. One moment, I was sitting there typing an email and the next moment I’m on Good Morning America. It went extremely fast. You got to just take it all in. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
Angelo will be married in two weeks and will become a father soon after. Will Novak from Arizona has pledged that the additional funds from his Go Fund Me page be passed on to Angelo and his bride to-be.