By Erin L. Souza Posted October 19, 2009, 5:40 PM EDT
BOSTON Massachusetts General Hospital for Children celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Storybook Ball with a Jungle Book theme in the Westin Waterfront Grand Ballroom Saturday night. Despite a 30 percent cut in its event budget, the 400-guest gala raised $1.25 million ($250,000 more than the goal) for the emergency transport team, a service provided by MGH to pediatric patients and their families who need emergency transport from suburban hospitals.
“It is about the experience,” said Kelly Snyder, director of special Events for MGH Development. “It’s a beautiful, fun gala where guests like to lose themselves a little bit. Though we scaled back, I don’t know if our guests would notice that.”
To cut expenses, Snyder’s team secured the hotel ballroom for the event, a big move from the Park Plaza Castle’s raw space of years past. The Westin provided the evening’s on-theme menu, including a “Bare Necessities” salad and umbrella drinks, and using the hotel’s chairs saved funds without sacrificing the overall look.
Rafanelli Events employed strategic lighting and audiovisual techniques to transform the ballroom from generic to jungle. “We delivered a luxe event by capitalizing on the best attributes of the space,” Bryan Rafanelli said. Jungle and animal images were projected on a screen that spanned the length of the ballroom, and two smaller screens showcased the specially designed 10th anniversary Storybook Ball animated logo: rotating concentric circles containing the titles of all Storybook Ball themes.
Green and pink lighting from Port Lighting Systems warmed the room alongside illuminated projections of vines and leaves on the walls. Table centerpieces by Winston Flowers kept it simple with glass vases filled with greenery and well-placed pops of canary yellow and vibrant orange flora.
The biggest draw was the series of carnival games such as the ring or bean-bag toss—where guests scored high-end prizes from Salon Mario Russo, Barneys New York, the New England Patriots, and the Sports Club/LA, to name a few.
After dinner, dancing, and a live auction, each guest left with a copy of the Jungle Book.