The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 13, 2013

Welcome to the kingdom

Princesses, pirates ready for Royal Ball

BY MARY WICOFF
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — In the magical kingdom, a fairy’s broken wing is cause for concern. How can children use their talents and skills to fix it?

That’s one of the scenarios at the fourth annual CASA Royal Ball, a live interactive fairy tale. The event for children will be from 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20, at Harrison Park Clubhouse.

Proceeds go to Court Appointed Special Advocates, whose volunteers help children involved in abuse and neglect cases in court.

This is the first year that the event will be staged during the evening on both nights; there will be no afternoon shows.

“I think it’s just a magical experience,” said Roxy Reed, event chairman and a CASA board member. “You feel like you’re transported to another place and time.”

The event is geared toward ages 2-10. Children may come dressed as princesses and pirates, if they like, but they’re not required to dress up.

“You can have a wonderful time without dressing up,” Reed said.

Merrit Spicer, choreographer and casting director, said she and Reed write a new scenario each year.

“Even if you’ve been in the past,” she said, “the show changes every year. It’s never the same show.”

The event is like a story, with an opening chapter, middle and conclusion. This year, one of the fairies has broken her wing, and children will have a chance to fix it at the fairy hospital in the fairy garden.

Children should arrive on time so they can see details from the first “chapter,” and then learn the answer — how the fairy’s wing is repaired — at the end of the evening.

A finale will take place at 9:30 p.m. on the 21-foot-long pirate ship built by employees at Time-O-Matic/Watchfire Signs.

Another feature this year is that there will be a pirate show, with two groups battling each other. That show will start at 6:30 p.m.

Also, Reed said, more lights have been added to give the clubhouse and the area outdoors more of a magical feel.

Reed also is excited about the remodeled clubhouse, saying, “I’m excited for people to come to the ball to see Harrison Park Clubhouse.” Events will take place both indoors and under tents outdoors.

In addition to the fairies and pirates, youngsters may meet the kingdom’s queen and king, princesses, princes, elves, musicians, a wizard, jesters, acrobats, dancers, tumblers and jugglers. Scott Eisenhauer, mayor of Danville, will be a guest at the kingdom and meet its royalty.

In the fairy garden, children can make magic pixie dust, as well as snow, and they can make art projects with Danville Art League members. Other attractions include a royal spa, a desert oasis tent with a Moroccan theme, a photo booth with props and a coconut tent.

In the diner, forks and spoon will dance, sing and serve snacks — fruit from County Market, cupcakes from Royal Donut and chicken nuggets from Burger King.

For $20, participants get the “whole royal ball experience,” Reed said — the snacks, mini makeovers, doing an art project to take home, designing a dragon and much more. Some activities will have an additional cost. A horse-and-carriage ride costs $5, and coloring a commemorative T-shirt costs $10; a shop will have souvenirs for sale.

Because the ticket price might be too high for some families, benevolent sponsorships are available; that is, a group or individual can buy tickets that will be given to underprivileged children.

Reed said the show is made possible by numerous volunteers and also a cast of about 50 people (from adults to children) who take on different roles.

Spicer said, “It takes a small village (to put on the show). Every year it gets bigger and takes more people.”

Mary Morrison-Gagnon, one of the sponsors, said, “It’s such a family event. It’s an experience your kids will be talking about and they won’t forget it.”

Even adults can get into the spirit, she said: “It’s a chance to be a kid again and see the world through a child’s eyes.”

It’s a great chance for parents to get photos of their children in awe of the kingdom’s characters, she said.

Successful show

Last year, the event raised more than $19,000 for CASA. This year, most of the proceeds will go to CASA, but donations also will be made to local arts organizations that have helped make the event a success each year.

“We can start giving back to the people who make this magical,” Reed said.

At CASA, the money is used to cover administrative staff and train volunteers, who follow children through the court system and advocate for them.

CASA of Vermilion County recruits, trains and guides volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in Vermilion County. There are typically 325-340 children who are wards of the Vermilion County Juvenile Court because their parents are unwilling or unable to care for them.

For tickets

Tickets are $20 for ages 2 and up; children under 2 are admitted free. They are available at Carmack Car Capitol and at http://www.casavermilion.org.

Groups, businesses and individuals also may buy tickets for underprivileged children.