POLO – When it comes to the Angel Ball, Mary Meiners knows how to bring a touch of class and excitement.
Meiners has been the decorator for the event for 18 years. And for the 25th anniversary celebration this year, set for 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Barnacopia, she went all out.
“I’m excited about this,” she said of the event, which is the largest fundraiser in Ogle County, benefitting the Rotary Foundation, Serenity Hospice and the Village of Progress.
The theme is Silver Bells, and Meiners has hired the Chicago-based jazz band Yazz Jazz to play. Colors are white and silver this year, and the Madrigal Singers from Oregon High School will be performing as people arrive. The dinner is being catered by Costas of Byron, which is providing the cash bar. There will be a silent auction and a live auction.
Tickets are $85 (tables for $900) and can be purchased online at www.serenityhospiceandhome.org or by phoning Serenity at 815-732-2499.
Meiners said the event, started by the Rotary Foundation, hasn’t changed much over the 25 years. She said it is like “old home week,” and a chance for people to catch up. She said the one thing that has changed a little is the fashions.
“It was a black tie, formal affair back in the day,” she said, adding that some men wore tuxedos, and women all wore gowns.
She said people still wear suits and dress nicely, but it is not as “fancy, sparkly, formal” as it was.
And the once invitation-only event, being held at Barnacopia for its sixth year after years at Maxson’s, is open to the public.
One thing that is clearly the same is the importance of the event to the organizations it benefits.
"The Angel Ball is very special to Serenity Hospice," said Lynn Knodle, executive director of Serenity Hospice. "We are blessed to be able to collaborate with two other nonprofits and to have this opportunity to show the attendees how special our mission is at Serenity. The generosity of the Angel Ball attendees is truly appreciated."
Meiners said the entertainment will be great, the food excellent and the atmosphere at Barnacopia hard to match.
She also has a soft spot for one particular aspect of the event.
“I have to say – the decorations are awesome.”