The First Annual Bastille Day Fireman’s Ball

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On Tuesday night lifestyle tourism and fashion entrepreneur Chloe Johnston hosted the Bastille Day Fireman’s Ball at Local 22 Philadelphia Firefighters Union (415 N. 5th Street) to celebrate the French national day. Guests danced to tunes by DJ Mr. Hollywood while enjoying French-inspire fare, including crepes from Philly’s popular food truck, The Smooth Cow, and desserts from Bruleé Bakery. There was also a Best Dressed contest: Tyler Magura took home the honor for the men and Meredith West for the ladies. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from the raffle auction went to the Local 22 Fireman’s Widows Fund.

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USO’s “Operation That’s My Dress” Comes to Philly Area

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The USO’s “Operation That’s My Dress” came to the Philadelphia area. A day of pampering for military daughters, spouses of military service people, as well as women in the military, the event took place at The Hotel ML Hotel and Conference Center in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, last week. The USO sponsors this day as a thank-you to the daughters and spouses of military service people for the sacrifices they make when their loved ones serve. The event was conceptualized and is co-sponsored with help from international fashion designer Sherri Hill, who provides thousands of new gowns and dresses to the ladies just in time for the fall social season, holiday parties and proms. The event began with a fashion show where winners of the Miss USA pageants modeled the dresses the girls would be able to choose from. After the show, the girls headed into the dress expo where there were thousands of dresses to review and pick from. Then it was onto the beauty bar, where they chose jewelry and fashion accessories. Finally, stylists provided hair and makeup demonstrations to give participants additional resources.

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Ritz-Carlton Hotel Celebrates Grand Opening of Aqimero

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On June 23rd, guests gathered at the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton Hotel for the grand opening of celebrity chef Richard Sandoval’s Latin-seafood restaurant, Aqimero. The 206-seat restaurant is located in the landmark property’s marble lobby, which is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Nearly 400 well-dressed guests including Richel D’Ambra, Jacqueline London (who stopped in before heading back to NBC Philadelphia to anchor the 11 p.m. news), and Councilman Mark Squilla filled the newly renovated lobby and restaurant to taste Sandoval’s signature dishes. Guests enjoyed cocktails at the newly designed bar, which used to be flush against the back wall, but now sits about 10 feet from the back wall creating an intimate lounge setting. Aqimero will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Franklin Square Gala

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On May 26th, Parx Casino joined Historic Philadelphia Inc. in presenting the 7th annual “An Evening in Franklin Square” to benefit efforts to sustain the celebrated park. Guests dressed in garden-party attire, participated in the silent auction and enjoyed cocktails. One of the highlights of the cocktail hour was when guests participated in the Parx Square Derby, a carousel race, that was narrated by racing announcer Keith Jones. The race was followed by a dinner, live auction, and plenty of dancing.

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2016 Ball on the Square

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The Friends of Rittenhouse Square’s annual Ball on the Square was held Thursday, June 16 at the Square. The Ball is arguably the most glamorous party of the spring season and among the square’s most important fundraising events of the year, raising much needed funds to support the beautification and restoration of the popular park. Co-chairs of the Ball Robyn Lewison and Faith Weiss headed a committee of volunteers to create a magical evening. More than 500 guests enjoyed a cocktail party, dinner by Stephen Starr Events, and the Eddie Bruce Band kept the dance floor filled into the wee hours of the night. Evantine Design captured the beauty of summer with the decorations and also added a touch of rainbow color to the tents to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shootings earlier in the week. The Young Friends of Rittenhouse enjoyed a party of their own at the Stotesberry Mansion, before heading across the street to join the main party at The Square at 10:30PM. Co-chairs for the Young Friends party were Jennifer Laurel Brown, Peter Dilsheimer, Victoria Johnston and Cory Siegfried.

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Chestnut Hill Celebrates the Woodward Family

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Chestnut Hill is a neighborhood noted for its history, design, and preservation. The Woodward and Houston families have been a big part of all three. They created the first planned residential developments in the neighborhood and helped start some of its most important institutions – Chestnut Hill Academy, the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Last week, Chestnut Hill celebrated the Woodward family with “The Woodward Celebration 2016.” Events began on Wednesday, June 8, and ran through Sunday, June 12, featuring more than a dozen events in Chestnut Hill honoring the contributions the Woodward family has made to the neighborhood. On Saturday, the Chestnut Hill Community Association renamed the Chestnut Hill Community Centre at 8419 Germantown Ave in honor of Gertrude Woodward, who had given the building to the community in 1916; the center will now be known as “The Woodward Community Centre.” After the dedication, a community picnic was held behind the centre complete with a delicious BBQ, entertainment by The Original Hobo Band, and trolley tours of Chestnut Hill. Even the Phillies Phanatic stopped by to say hello.

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Bring Philly HOME 2016 Young Leaders Event at PAFA

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On June 2, 2016 over 400 young professionals from the Philadelphia area attended Project HOME’s annual fundraising “Bring Philly HOME” 2016 Young Leaders Event at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Historic Landmark Building. In its ninth year, the Young Leaders Event was co-chaired by Ursula Henwood Keating, Comcast and Kate Hagedorn, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, over $100,000 was raised at the event, which helps support Project HOME’s mission to end and prevent homelessness in Philadelphia. Brian Taff, 6ABC anchor, was the emcee of the evening’s events and talked about why the issue was near to his and his wife Mara’s hearts. Every person is important, and we all matter. Kate Hagedorn spoke on behalf of Ursula Keating and herself, as Ursula was hosting another big event in her life — the birth of her child. Kate spoke about making a difference and working towards ending homelessness, as well as treating the homeless that we come across every day in Philly with respect; buy them a coffee or something to eat when asked, if you can. We don’t know really know their back-story, but we can make their day a little easier. Then a young man, Joseph Hills Cole, spoke about his homelessness, living in foster care and how Covenant House and then Project HOME helped put him on the right path, connecting him with helpful programs. Now, he lives in one of Project HOME’s residences and attends college. It was a very uplifting evening, filled with a lot of hope.

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25th Anniversary of Old City’s First Friday Fête

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Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of Old City’s most popular event: First Friday. Local galleries have been keeping their doors open late night for the past quarter century to welcome art patrons, students and anyone else looking for something different to do on the first Friday of every month. Earlier this week, a celebration reception was held at La Peg to mark the 25th anniversary. Several owners of art galleries that have been partaking in First Friday since its beginning celebrated the occasion and posed with Old City District Executive Director Job Itzkowitz, Councilman Mark Squilla, and Sheila Hess, city representative, with a city citation. Each of the owners received a copy for themselves. “Through the efforts of those individuals who helped organize the first First Friday and the Old City Arts Association, Old City, 25 years later, is now Philadelphia’s premier arts district,” said Job Itzkowitz, executive director of Old City District. Guests then enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and a delicious cake by Swiss Haus, which was decorated with the new First Friday logo.

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Mural Arts 2016 Wall Ball

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The Mural Arts Program’s 2016 Wall Ball was held Thursday night at the Fillmore Philadelphia. Presented by Citizens Bank, Wall Ball drew nearly 500 art patrons to the fundraiser, which helps support the Mural Arts’ mission: to create powerful and engaging public art projects that transform our spaces, communities, institutions and individual lives. The highlight of the evening was Dawan Williams discussing the Philadelphia Restorative Justice Mural Arts Program. Inmates in the prison system participate in Mural Arts projects, which helps them pass their time in prison in a meaningful way. Dawan worked on a mural alongside his son; he spoke about how he was able to reconnect with him as they worked on the project together. Jane Golden, executive director and founder of Mural Arts Program, always stresses that it isn’t just about paint and paint brushes — it’s about building a community.

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The Arts & Business Council Annual Awards Celebration

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The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia hosted its annual awards celebration Tuesday night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ten awards were given out to notable individuals and business that have made a difference in Philadelphia.

Institutional honors included the PNC Arts Alive Award for Innovation in honor of Peggy Amsterdam which was given to Blackstar Film Festival and the Business & Arts Partnership Award: Large Business with an Arts & Cultural Organization awarded to Century 21 Department Store and Moore College of Art & Design.

Individual honorees included Frances Sperling Feldbaum, CPA Principal, St. Clair CPA Solutions (Business on Board Volunteer Leader of the Year), Edward P. Pazicky, principal of E*P*P Consulting (Business Volunteers for the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award ), former governor Edward G. Rendell and Honorable Marjorie Rendell (G. Fred DiBona Jr. Individual Leadership Award), and The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence). During Trotter’s acceptance speech, he thanked the bullies that picked on him in South Philly when he used to walk to the subway to attend the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, stating that they helped motivate him become the artist he is today.

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