More than 300 people pulled out their best green formal wear and high-steppped to the 2011 Mayors' Shamrock Ball Saturday night at in Florissant.
The event, started four years ago with the premise of being a fundraiser for a good cause was a success, said Hazelwood City Clerk Colleen Wolf, a Mayors' Shamrock Ball Coordinating Committee memeber, with more than $35,000 in support from sponsors alone.
“We were hoping to get well over 300 attendees, and we did,” Wolf said. “We start planning this event in September to ensure a quality event, and over the years that has shown as more and more people come out.”
The event has grown so much it had to be moved from its original site at Florissant City Hall to this year’s location at Garden Villas North.
Wolf’s husband, Chief Carl Wolf came up with the concept, which he developed from attending the St. Louis Mayor's Ball during Mardi Gras, said Tim Davidson, Hazelwood’s communications coordinator.
Mayor Matthew Robinson, Mayor Robert Lowery and Mayor Norman McCourt co-hosted the event in matching sashes and top hats, while residents and employees of all three cities, as well as supporters from as far as St. Peters and Glen Carbon danced the night away.
“This is one of the worthiest causes,” said Mayor Lowery. “These employees are so deserving of the support, and it’s great that all three cities come together for this special cause.”
The Shamrock Ball is a fundraiser for the Sheltered Workshop in Hazelwood. Valley Industries is a nonprofit organization that provides employment for adults with developmental disabilities.
Valley Industries’ Employees of the Year, Robert Collier and Eileen Prelutsky, were crowned king and queen of the ball. They wore crowns throughout the event showing so. The company began in Florissant and later moved to Hazelwood. The money goes toward operational costs, such as employee payroll, which Hazelwood City Councilman Don Ryan said is very important.
“My younger brother Chris worked at Valley Industries,” Ryan said. “He has a developmental disability, and it was great for him to work there.”
During the past three years, the Mayors' Shamrock Ball has raised more than $30,000. The first year of the event, the organizers went to the Hazelwood, Florissant and Black Jack mayors, asking if they would take part, as Valley Industries serves many residents in those three municipalities.
“We just want to help them because they help our residents,” Mayor Robinson said of the fundraiser for Valley Industries. “Everyone should have the opportunity for gainful quality employment, and what’s better than making sure the disabled in North County have a supportive place to work?”
The night included great Irish-themed food, beverages and baked goods from local eateries including , Choices Catering, , , , , , and Garden Villas North.
Bob Kuban and his band entertained the crowd with live music and brother-sister duo Jacob and Abbigail Sieve provided a traditional Irish dance performance. Jacob recently qualified to compete in the 41st Annual World Irish Dance Championships in Dublin in April.