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Red Ball

Written by Megan Speight

Guests partied with a purpose at the 18th Annual Red Cross Red Ball. Named “Philadelphia’s best black-tie charity”, the event did not disappoint. More than 1,100 guests consisted of Red Cross supporters and volunteers, along with people looking to have fun on a Saturday night for a good cause.

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The event was held for the third year at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The setting provided incredible views of the City of Philadelphia and great photo opportunities looking out over the field.

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Like many events organized by the Red Cross, volunteers were on hand to help everything run smoothly. Volunteers are a crucial reason the Red Cross is so successful and many volunteers have tenure with the organization that can last decades.

So where does this loyalty come from? Jennifer Ingram, communications volunteer, shared why she volunteers for the Red Cross. “I was unemployed, looking for something to do amid job searching. With a passion for writing, I decided to volunteer with the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Communications Department. That was about six years ago and I haven’t stopped since. I continue because I like the mission and what the organization stands for. Their impact is much wider than just asking people for blood and I’m happy to support them,” she said.

Volunteers aren’t the only individuals who support the Red Cross because of its impactful mission. Guests Ron and Kristina DeGregorio shared that they are “very supportive of the mission and the wonderful job the team does rallying the broader community.”

Community is one of the reasons that I continue to volunteer with the Red Cross as well. I know that no matter what event I support, there is an almost immediate bond I feel with other volunteers. We all know we are there to do great work and support an organization that has a global impact. Additionally, when I volunteer with the Red Cross, I meet and interact with new and interesting people.

One interesting person I was able to meet at the Red Ball was the newly crowned Miss Philadelphia 2018, Aimee Turner. Aimee shared that this is traditionally the first event Miss Philadelphia attends after being crowned. The event draws a fun crowd of diverse people from the Greater Philadelphia Area and provides a great opportunity to mingle and make new connections. She also reiterated that the Red Cross is an “important and great cause to support.”

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One of the highlights and draws of the event is all of the delectable food choices available for guests to enjoy. There were over two dozen appetizer and dessert vendors that served everything from pork croquettes and pizza to water ice and strawberry shortcake.

 

 

One volunteer, Tashema Johnson, raved about the food when sharing why she volunteers for the Red Cross. “I initially started volunteering with my old job a few years ago. When I left, I had already been so involved and supportive of the mission that I didn’t want to stop volunteering. I currently volunteer at the local Red Cross House, but I also support the organization at fire safety events and of course the Red Ball. I love volunteering at the Red Ball because I get to learn about different restaurants and caterers in the city to try out and because I’m guaranteed to wear a nice dress,” she said.

Throughout the evening, guests are able to vote on their favorite appetizer and dessert vendors. This year’s winners were Mission BBQ and Candies and Cakes by Mary Ellen, who both won for the second year in a row.

My favorite appetizers were the Pork Croquettes at Walnut Street Café, Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries and Cheese, and the melt in your mouth scallops served by Devon Seafood during the VIP pre-game party. My favorite dessert was definitely the Moscato drenched water ice served by Mr. D’s Sweets.

In the end, guests partied the night away thanks to the talented CTO bands who got people on their feet and on to the dance floor. Overall, the event was a warm evening filled with fun people, incredible food and was geared towards supporting the mission of the Red Cross.

 

 

Next year I’m looking forward to another mission driven evening with great food and incredible fashion. Did I mention how incredible everyone looked in almost every shade of red in countless different styles? Red Ball 2018 was definitely a fashion moment for the City of Philadelphia.

 

 

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“I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.”–President Franklin D. Roosevelt, first Presidential Proclamation of March as Red Cross Month, 1943

Each year the president of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month.” The Red Cross uses this opportunity to thank our supporters, increase public awareness and consideration of Red Cross’ mission and drive contributions.

The City of Philadelphia kicked off the month by flying Red Cross flags around City Hall. They were a beautiful site to see.

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While four back to back nor’easters were an unplanned surprise for March is Red Cross Month, the staff and volunteer of Red Cross Eastern PA were prepared.   We opened and supported more than half a dozen shelters and warming centers for more than 700 people affected by winter weather.

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Even with the bad weather and shelter openings, our volunteers continued to respond to the Red Cross’ most common emergency, home fires. Red Cross of Eastern PA volunteers responded to more than 100 emergencies and home fires during the month of March, assisting more than 450 people. We worked with the Philadelphia Fire Department to install smoke alarms and talk fire safety at three different neighborhoods where fatal fires occurred.

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Daylight Saving Time began and people lost an hour of sleep by turning the clocks forward. The Red Cross encouraged people to “Turn and Test” – Turn the clocks and test your smoke alarm.

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The Harlem Globetrotters named the Red Cross their “official charity” and we had the opportunity to raise funds and engage our volunteers at nearly 300 performances across the country. Our volunteers “passed the bucket” to collect donations from those attending games in Reading, Allentown, Philadelphia, and Wilkes-Barre.

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The Lehigh Valley-Bucks chapter gave a sneak peak of the upcoming 2018 Cabaret and Cuisine: Back to the 80s. Doc Brown even showed up to encourage people to attend the event held Friday April 20th at Olympus Headquarters in Center Valley.

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The Northeast chapter honored 19 local heroes at the NEPA Heroes celebration. The evening celebrated the prior year’s local heroes for using their First Aid, CPR, AED training and/or other actions to save lives or make Northeastern PA a better place to live and work.

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The Southeastern chapter hosted Philadelphia’s premier party and best black-tie charity gala, Red Ball. The evening was a big success with more than eleven hundred guests enjoying live entertainment, delicious delight from more than two dozen restaurants, a silent auction and much more at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Red Cross Month wrapped up with Giving Day on March 28th. The Red Cross geared up for the big day, asking people to #help1family. Thousands responded and more than two million dollars was raised to help 28,000 families with urgent relief like food, shelter, and other essentials.

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It certainly was a busy month and that’s how we know we are fulfilling the mission of the Red Cross.

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Capture a waving Red Cross flag in a photo between March 1 and March 6? Post it to Twitter or Facebook to enter a drawing for tickets to the Red Ball!

 

March is designated as the month to recognize the achievements of the Red Cross locally, nationally and internationally.

In the Philadelphia area, we celebrate by flying the telltale red and white flags around Center City, and City Hall. The effect is striking in several ways: the stark red and white of the flags looks striking against the brisk blue sky of early March, they add to the grandeur of Liberty Square, and they remind one and all of the essential role of the Red Cross in our community.

City Hall is not the only place flying flags. Starting Saturday, March 1st, there will be dozens of Red Cross flags flying in downtown Media and West Chester, as well.

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For the week leading up to our 14th annual Red Ball – the Red Cross’s grand celebration party at the Please Touch Museum on March 8 – we invite our social media community to play a modified game of Capture the Flag. If you see a Red Cross flag in your community, take a photo and post it with the location to Twitter or to our Facebook page and mention us (@redcrossphilly) and use hashtag #redcrossflag. Feel free to be creative and by all means, feel free to make them selfies. We’ll RT as many as we can.

We will enter you in a drawing for two Main Event Red Ball Tickets on March 6 for each photo you send. (Maximum of five entries.) We will select one suburban photo and one Philadelphia photo winner. They will be announced on our Twitter and Facebook feeds and the tickets will be available for pick up at the Red Ball. For details on the Red Ball, visit theredball.org.

While you’re snapping those photos, enjoy some of the other ways the Red Cross is celebrating. Look out for lights as well! Even coffee clutches are getting in on the action!

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The beautiful Ben Franklin Bridge will be dressed in red starting March 1st. The red lights can also be seen at One Liberty Place, Hyatt Penn’s Landing, the Cira Center and on the PECO Crown Lights. Wawa coffee will sport the red and white and we all know the coffee at Wawa is HOT! Protect yourself with the help of the Red Cross. Enjoy!BenFranklinBridge

Please TouchIn some ways, the Red Ball, a gala event sponsored by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross, is as old fashioned as the Red Cross itself.  It takes place in the architecturally stunning Please

Touch Museum, a carefully preserved monument to Philadelphia’s Beaux-Arts heyday.  Guests wear their finest party clothes, as they would have 100 years ago. There is fantastic food from

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Philadelphia’s best chefs and dancing to live music.  And there is profound sense of community:  We come together to support the work of the Red Cross in our City of Brotherly Love because it embodies our most deeply held values. It’s a really special event.

That said, let’s talk about the clothes! How often is there an occasion for a fabulous full length ball gown? What about those incredibly sharp tuxedos with the red satin cummerbund and bow tie? Still yearning to make up for that disappointing prom dress? Now is your chance. Treat yourself to some amazing attire. And guys, this is a formal occasion. Show your date, and the cause, some respect and look in an actual tuxedo. And don’t borrow Dad’s from the 70s. Stop by Black Tie Philadelphia. You’ll be amazed at how comfortable you are in one that actually fits.

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What’s the point in looking incredibly good, if there’s not a way to show off? The Red Ball has its own Red Carpet, and as soon as you place your foot upon it make sure to prepare for your Joan Rivers interview because that’s how stunning you’ll look. Professional photographers will be there to take a picture of your date, your mate, your friends and anyone else in your entourage. Check out some of the fun and finery from last year’s ball here.

Did you know the Red Ball is a place where skilled chefs compete for your approval? They display their comestibles at several tables near the dance floor, and guests have the opportunity to sample, enjoy, and vote for the best by placing a special token in a box by each chef’s table.  If you are a chef or restaurant representative and would like to be involved, check out this restaurant brochure.  In the VIP room, fine Italian cuisine will be provided by Catelli Duo.  At the end of the evening, the winner of the Red Ball Restaurant Award is announced.Red Ball Food

The Red Ball’s Auction and Raffle prize selection will include fitness, beauty, and entertainment packages galore! It’s so satisfying to take home a prize to remember the evening and know you supported a great cause – especially if the prize is something fun like tickets to a local sporting event or a massage at an excellent spa.

Dance the night away at the 2014 Red Ball with the CTO Band. Since our very first Red Ball, the CTO Band has kept the dance floor moving. For those who enjoy softer jazz, George Veasley will return to play the Carousel Room and the ride will be open to Main Event guests. The VIP room will feature not one but two dueling pianists providing light background music.

rco_blog_img_REDBALLBANDMarch is a great time of year for a party. Not only is spring on the way but March is also Red Cross Month. It is a time to recognize the efforts of our volunteers and staff and honor the roll of the Red Cross in our community. The Red Ball is a party with an essential purpose: It raises money for the Red Cross House and directly impacts the lives of those who have suffered devastating loss and who benefit from the kindness and generosity of our donors.

8549399695_fa0ec4f209_oThe party was fantastic! The Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania once again proved to be a wonderful host to the 1,200 people who chose to attend this year’s 13th annual Red Ball and support Red Cross House.  Altogether, they helped us raise more than $400,000, breaking the record for the most money raised for a single day SEPA Chapter event. We will use this money to continue to provide shelter, food, care and necessities to those who have lost their homes to disaster.

Once again, the Please Touch Museum proved to be the perfect venue for our “red tie gala”. My role was to greet partygoers as they arrived to have their pictures taken in front of our Red Cross banner and, I was lucky to be working with our wonderful volunteer photographer, Michelle, who made an effort to make every photograph a great one. Everyone looked fabulous and I especially appreciated several red silk vests adding flare to the classic tuxedo attire of certain gentlemen. Many party goers expressed their admiration for the work of The Red Cross and their pleasure in supporting the work of Red Cross House.

I arrived at 4:30 to help set up. For those who have never witnessed the planning and staging that goes on to prepare to host 1,200 people, please understand that it takes a small army of willing, able and energetic workers to carry it off. Last year, I was amazed by the dedication of our volunteers and my opinion has not changed: What a fantastic group of people. Many of our volunteers were working so hard throughout the evening that they missed a few things, like a taste of the seafood at this year’s restaurant winner, Devon Seafood’s table. However, we did try hard to give each other breaks so that we had a chance to wander through the party and enjoy the atmosphere. I sampled many delicious foods during my own short break and may have gotten a little carried away at one of the cupcake stands. I’m very passionate about cupcakes.

Never mind. . .it’s important to note that the VIP Lounge had the lower floor all to itself and, while VIP party goers had full access to the rocking party upstairs, downstairs they enjoyed a quieter atmosphere of mellow jazz from artist Gerald Veasley, soft lighting and incredible food from Chef Daniel Stern of R2L. I thought this worked very well. There was plenty of space for the main event party goers to spread out and enjoy themselves, and their access to the carousel added to their enjoyment of the evening. In addition to the food and the music, demonstrations by professional dancers added elegance and sophistication to an already spectacular event.

Red Cross House furniture, set up at both entrances, reminded our guests of the why we are so grateful for their support of our work at Red Cross House. All proceeds from The Red Ball directly benefit the House, SEPA Chapter’s one-of-a-kind short-term housing facility in University City where hundreds of local families every year begin their recovery from fires, floods, and other disasters.

Several local blogs and news organizations posted photos and news about The Red Ball. Feel free to explore some of the links below.

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/03/11/american-red-cross-red-ball-2013-photos/

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2013/03/10/the-red-ball/#photo-385768

http://philly.happeningmag.com/centercity/2012-red-ball-recap

http://www.thehousewifediaries.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

http://www.phillytrib.com/outandabout/item/8130-13th-annual-american-red-cross-ball-a-success.html

http://phillystylemag.com/galleries/red-ball-1