Right Of The Star

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

That 70's Ball

Sonny and Cher, Farah, Dirty Harry, and John Travolta. These are the sights that greeted you Saturday Night, April 30, 2005, at the 17th Annual Berry Ball for Rockford's Janet Wattles Mental Health Center, held at Giovanni's Restaurant.

This years ball was titled, "That 70's Ball," and as you can imagine it was based on the 70's. Yep, the era of Disco, Nixon, McGovern, the end of the Vietnam war, John Kerry's high point, gas lines, the bicentennial, and Carter. Despite all of these memories the ball was quite a blast, including the period costumes worn by attendees.

Giovanni's did an outstanding job on the food which included BOTH Giovanni's Special Filet and Chicken De Jonge. I loved the chicken and redskined mashed potatoes and the filet was tender and looked great but it had a bit of a herb taste that I didn't enjoy. Desert was a wonderful Triple Chocolate Truffle that had a perfect raspberry on every plate - I mean perfect - attention to detail does make all the difference doesn't it!

The MC for the evening was WREX-TV 13 News Anchor Dani Maxwell who did a wonderful job - she really is cute and tiny you know.

Music was provided by the 2004 Classic Rock RAMI (Rockford Area Music Industry) Award Winners Clutch Cargo. The music was outstanding and the dance floor was full the entire evening.

Marta Jones of Outhouse Inc. was this years Berry Ball Chair.

In attendance were popular Rockford favorites including Mr. Mustache (Bruce Lewis) former Mayors Box and Scott along with local business leaders. I didn't see our new Mayor Larry Morrissey (I - historically votes D) which seemed odd as I think I have seen Rockford's current Mayor at every ball I have attended. Perhaps this will foretell the new independent administrations direction, time will tell if this is a good strategy in a City where leaders are noticed by their absence.

If you have never been to a Berry Ball it is definitely a good time and the money goes toward supporting Janet Wattles the largest provider of Mental Health Services in Northern Illinois. From their website:
Janet Wattles Center is a not-for-profit community behavioral health center serving individuals and families in Northern Illinois. The center is supported by grants, fees, foundations, and corporate and individual donations.

Janet Wattles Center provides an array of assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation for adults, children and adolescents. The professional staff at Janet Wattles Center treats a variety of mental illnesses…from anxiety disorders and depression…to schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder…to A.D.D. and emotionally disturbed children. Janet Wattles Center offers board certified psychiatrists and a board certified child psychiatrist. The clinic provides group and individual therapy, financial assistance, living assistance and vocational help.

The qualities of mental health are essential to leading a healthy life. Whether you're poor, rich, male, female, young, or old…from the west side or east side, suburb or city, Janet Wattles Center wants you to know you have a friend to turn to…someone who cares and wants to help. Need to contact someone at Janet Wattles Center? Click here.

The Berry Ball runs unusually smooth, has the best music of any balls I have attended in Rockford, and has some of the best silent auction and regular auction items out there.

There was also a unique raffle, for $30 you could purchase one of 100 numbered bags containing a Stirling Silver Cubic Zirconia fashion necklace provided by Clodius and Company with a random bag containing a half carat brilliant cut diamond solitaire pendant set in white gold that was also provided by Clodius (value over $1000 I think). A great deal!

The regular auction items this year were:
  • Gail Sayers autographed football donated by LaMonica Beverages and Mary Gubbe Lee
  • A trip on Hooters Air including $500 at Mariott Hotels donated by Northwest Chicagoland International Airport at Rockford and Area Mechanical
  • Trane Central Air donated by Area Mechanical and the Genore Family
  • A giant (43" I think) flat screen TV donated by Merchant Police
  • An Italian Dinner for 10, including a seven course dinner - each course having it's own wine all prepared and provided by Mike and Mary Ann Abate, Mark and Theresa Hiser, Bill and Martha Hutt, and Jack and Mary Teela. This is an annual favorite.
Decoration assistance was provided by Rockford College's SOAP (Society of Artsy People).

Disclosure - My sister, Denise Noe, is the marketing and development director for Janet Wattles and Jason is a member of SOAP - but this didn't influence my opinion, the ball was a blast!

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