As I mentioned previously, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2011 UPMC Children's Ball with my family on Saturday, March 19. To say that we had a great time is an understatement.
I've attended several charity events over the past several years and I have to say that this was one of the best planned events I've ever attended. The food was plentiful, the entertainment was first-rate and the lines weren't long at all.
We started out our night with the check-in table, where the boys received their very own disposable camera and glowstick necklaces. My kids go gaga for anything that glows and they adore taking pictures so they were in heaven before we even entered the Ball.
The Ball was held at the Carnegie Science Center. We are members, so we visit the Science Center quite often. This gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time doing all of the "special" things they had set up just for the evening.
We started out with Face Painting (Matthew chose a cool design while Ben opted for the spider) and balloon hats. Airheads Balloon Art twisters were in attendance and had even made an entire taxi out of balloons. It was amazing. I spoke to them after the Ball ended and he told me that it took nearly 2,000 balloons to create taxi, which even had working blinking headlights. Amazing.
We ventured to the lower level for dinner after being properly painted and ballooned. Dinner was perfect. The had separate stations for both kids and adults. The kids had options like chicken fingers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. Adults had a "create your own pasta" station where we could choose our own ingredients, sauce and type of pasta. The pasta was accompanied by a salad and dinner rolls. Soft drinks were complimentary and beer and wine was available for purchase.
After we filled up on pasta, we headed upstairs to see the hula hoop performer, peruse the train and robots and do some art projects. We eventually made our way to the ice cream sundae bar. We over-indulged on big scoops of ice cream covered in toppings like strawberries, oreos and crushed peanut butter cups.
We had just enough time to run to the fourth floor and get the kids' goodie bags. They consisted of a great backpack (which my kids insisted on bringing to school the very next Monday) filled with goodies like a stuffed animal, silly bandz and even a discount ticket to Kennywood!
Before we knew it, it was time to head down to the Omnimax theater lobby to see Pittsburgh's own Zany Umbrella Circus. All of the kids in attendance were absolutely mesmerized by the clown, tightrope walker and unicyclist. They performed acts that both held the kids attention and amazed the adults. I can say without a doubt that I enjoyed it as much as my kids did.
The Children's Ball was just such a wonderful event from start to finish. In addition to the setting of the Science Center, of the best childrens' spaces in Pittsburgh, the entertainment, food, decor and staff was just above and beyond expectations. I had hesitated in years past because it's not an inexpensive event (at $100/adult and $40 for kids tickets), but I can say that it was well worth it. We felt like such royalty at this ball and the cause (UMPC Health for Life Summer Camp at Braddock) is such a wonderful one that benefits area kids.
We'll definitely be back next year.