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July 23, 2013

DDA invites community to have a ‘Ball’

Annual light show might shrink

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — For the fourth year in a row, the community can pitch in to help the Downtown Development Authority make sure this year’s Big, Bright Light Show goes off without a hitch by attending The Big, Bright Ball.

The family-friendly ball — held 4-7 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Royal Park Hotel, 600 E. University — serves as a signature fundraising event for the annual light show.

“It’s for people that love the show and want to contribute in some small way to help it continue, and hopefully expand, in the future,” said DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow.

Every fundraiser the DDA hosts for the Big, Bright Light Show is important, Trevarrow said.

“Every year, we’re faced with budget constraints. With our tax capture this year, our budget is going down again, and we’re really looking seriously at what we can do with the Big, Bright Light Show so that we can continue it,” she explained. “There is talk this year that the Big, Bright Light Show footprint might even be reduced because of our funding issues, so every dollar that we raise at the Big, Bright Light Show is crucial to keeping the lights on.”

This year’s ball is highlighted by a strolling dinner, provided by a variety of downtown Rochester restaurants — including Kruse & Muer and the Rochester Chop House, Main Street Deli, Meeting House, O’Connor’s Public House, Penny Black, Rochester Mills Beer Co., Rojo, the Royal Park Hotel and Sanders Rochester — and also features a silent auction featuring items donated from local businesses.

“We have some fun things and some favorite things that people love in the silent auction this year,” Trevarrow said. “For instance, O’Connor’s donated a VIP Snug Party for you and eight friends to have food and drinks in the snug, a room right off the bar in the main dining room; beer for a year, a $1,500 value, from Rochester Mills; a bowling party for 10 at Classic Lanes in Rochester Hills; a week of socks from Cockeyed Sock Co., which is inside South Street Skate Shop; a Trek Hybrid bicycle, a $550 value, from Rochester Bike Shop; and a Santa brunch for four at the Royal Park Hotel.”

The event also includes activities for all ages. Kids will be entertained at the make-a-magic-wand station sponsored by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts. Families can dance to tunes provided by a live DJ, and adults can purchase a $5 “Light The Town” Raffle ticket for the opportunity to flip the switch on opening night of The Big, Bright Light Show Dec. 2. After heating up on the dance floor, kids can cool off at the ice cream sundae bar, sponsored by Sanders, and people of all ages can have “bling strands”  — which are described as being similar to a thin line of tinsel in different colors — put into their hair, courtesy of Studio One Salon.

A lot of people ask if the event has a dress code, Trevarrow said.

“Anything goes, but I can tell you the kids usually dress up — the girls are in their fancy party dresses. It’s a really fun evening,” she explained.

Moon River Soap Co. owners Carlos and Liz Aprea are big supporters of the Big, Bright Light Show and the Big, Bright Ball, which they plan to bring their granddaughter to this year.

“The Big, Bright Light Show is actually one of the main reasons why we chose to relocate to Rochester in 2012. It really puts Rochester on the map during the holiday season,” Liz Aprea said, adding that the event provides a “really nice boost” to end-of-the-year sales for downtown merchants.

Tickets for The Big, Bright Ball are for sale through July 26 and cost $30 for adults. Children 5 to 12 years old get in for $10, and kids younger than 5 get in for free. Tickets are available in advance at the Rochester DDA office, 308 1/2 Main St., or online at www.downtownrochestermi.com/shop. For more information, call (248) 656-0060.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.