Fairy Tale Fundraiser to Help Star of the Sea School
In a last-minute venue change, Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School will host the Enchanted Princess Ball and bring dozens of fairy tale characters to life for Grosse Pointe kids. The event is a fundraiser to help the school purchase technology.
The fairy tale fantasies of hundreds of Grosse Pointe boys and girls will come to life this month at the Enchanted Princess Ball, a fundraiser that will bring dozens of princes, princesses and even villains to Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School in the Woods.
The touring theatrical presentation is being hired by the school for three two-hour shows on Oct. 15 and 16, marking the first time the Port Huron-based company has performed in Grosse Pointe. Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at the school office or online for an additional service fee at the show's Web site. Star of the Sea Principal Julie Aemisegger said all proceeds will go toward technology and the new computer system that the school has installed.
This is no amateur production, notes Sandi Jablonski, who founded the touring company, Enchanted Productions, six years ago.
The school’s gym will be “transformed into something completely unrecognizable,” boasting a 60-foot long, 16-foot high castle, a gazebo with a six-foot wishing fountain, an enchanted bridge with pools of live goldfish, and gossamer-enveloped walls and ceilings hung with chandeliers.
Children will be seated at linen-covered tables, where they will watch beloved fairy tale characters act out famous scenes as other characters serve them cookies and pink lemonade from glasses that light up. A fairy godmother will hand out coins, and the kids will be given ribbons to twirl and invited by the characters to dance.
More than 40 characters—including Cinderella, Prince Charming, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, The Little Mermaid, Belle, the Beast, Mulan, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan, Pocahontas, and Alice in Wonderland—are portrayed by paid gymnasts, dancers, musicians, and singers wearing elaborate handmade costumes.
Jablonski said attendance at each show is capped at 200 persons to allow children, who are encouraged to dress up in gowns and other “royal” attire, ample time to meet and interact with all the characters. Before the show there are opportunities for storytelling, which is free, and face painting and fingernail polishing, which costs $5.
The company, which has brought its performance to parochial schools in St. Clair County for the last two years, takes the stress out of fundraisers by setting up and disassembling the show, selling tickets, and handling advertising, leaving minimal work for the host.
The show, which takes up to 14 hours to set up, had originally been booked by St. Paul Catholic School in the Farms, however the school was forced to cancel last week after determining that its newly refinished gym floor would not be ready for traffic by the scheduled date.
The company then approached Star of the Sea about booking the show for the same weekend, and the school grabbed the chance.
Diane Yenchick, a member of St. Paul’s School Committee who was instrumental in getting the show to Grosse Pointe, became familiar with the show after her daughter, Ali, was hired to play the Evil Witch in Snow White and Pocahontas in St. Clair County-area productions.
“It was just such an amazing opportunity for the kids and parents to come and share together,” Yenchick said. “It made me feel sad that there was nothing like this when my daughters were young. They were so enamored with these characters, and to see them we had to pay an arm and a leg to take them down to Florida.”
Two shows will be held on Oct. 15 at 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m., and a third will be held on Oct. 16 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Jablonski, who has a dance and theater background from Wayne State University, calls the production “a memory-making event. We only do eight or nine locations per year and we have a lot of schools on our waiting list. People leave saying it was beyond expectations.”