Before we even entered the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre, we saw the white tents, the red carpet, the line-up of valets. This year’s Fairy Tale Ball, a black-tie charity event, hosted by Virginia Repertory Theatre and benefitting local nonprofits, was going to be fun. And regal! As the valet opened our car doors and greeted my little one as Miss Princess, I felt a little bit like Downton Abbey had come to Richmond.
But it was much, much better than all of that Lord so-and-so stuffiness. The Fairy Tale Ball had all sort of delights for parents and kiddos alike. Starting with the food. Upon entering the theatre, my husband and I both eyed the hors d’oeuvres spread, consisting of various fruits, crackers, cheeses, and dips. Also, it was strategically set up next to a cotton candy machine, which meant the whole family could indulge and be happy, right from the get-go. Why not? We all grabbed some yummies and moved along to check out what else was in store for us.
This year’s theme was Princess and Pirate Paradise, and everything was spot on, with pirate sails and castle tops grazing the indoor skylines. The decorations even graced the bathrooms; one surley pirate informed me the view was great through the portholes painted above the urinals in the men’s room! Kings and queens enjoyed drinks and conversation with eye-patched privateer captains, while the kiddies skittered about looking for more jelly beans, treasure stickers, and a spot in line for face painting. From a sticker treasure hunt to pirate putt-putt golf, the kids had a blast. At one point, a hoard of both royal and rogue-like youngsters shouted and laughed as a ship lurched and tilted on the waves, sliding everyone port and starboard on a wild ride. Imagination play at its best!
Dinner was buffet style with a steaming veggie and carnitas Caribbean grill, the standard (and much loved) mashed potatoes and chicken nuggets, Caesar salad wraps, and drinks for both kids and adults. Top it off with cake and magical princess icing, and every-tummy was happy.
Working off the intake of calories, parents and children alike showed off their dance moves to the diverse tunes of the Jangling Reinharts. From Mumford and Sons to Tears for Fears, everyone was pleased. The band played before and after a live auction, which also featured live performances by members of the talented theatre company. Desiree Roots soothed the crowd with her rounded tone and whimsical costume in a heartfelt rendition of “Beauty and the Beast,” and Audrey Kate Taylor wowed everyone with her adorable- and impressive- performance as Annie singing “Tomorrow.”
The evening began to wind down, and my daughter pled with us for one more dance as the band performed “Some Kind of Wonderful.” All dance moves were welcomed on this intergenerational dance floor, and our last song featured a clutch of kids leaping about like frogs and twirling around like princesses. There we were, way past bedtime, laughing and dancing with candy-coated teeth. The evening was, indeed, some kind of wonderful. A fairy tale, to be precise.
(Kelly received a complimentary trial of this service in exchange for sharing her thoughts with RFM readers.)