HughE Dillon: 12th Annual Red Ball

Kate Gosselin, a gaggle of Bachelor contestants, Beth Shak and more turned out for the event.

One of my favorite parties of the year took place Saturday night: the Red Cross’s 12th Annual Red Ball, presented by ModSpace and held at the Please Touch Museum. The glams and the glamorous were out in full force. Below: Professional poker player Beth Shak and Ben Cook. Shak is wearing Badgley Mischka. She also wore red Louboutins and says she owns approximately 1,200 pairs of shoes, including 700 Louboutins, that she keeps in three huge walk-in closets at her Main Line house. I asked Cook what kind of shoe he likes, and he said Puma. In fact, he just recently bought Shak a pair. She likes them. I wonder if she’s seen the Puma high heels?

Below: Kate Gosselin, of Kate Plus 8, was there, as it was Jon Gosselin’s weekend with the kids. I caught up with her as she was getting a tarot-card reading from Marilyn Sukonick-Zeff. Kate was really into the reading, and I later overheard her tell her boyfriend, er, bodyguard (as she barked at me), Steve, that she was still confused about her future. Seems she didn’t ask specific questions because she didn’t want the tarot-card reader to know who she was? The good thing was no one harassed her all night, as most people didn’t recognize her. When they did, she happily posed with them. She looked sexy in her short, mid-thigh cocktail party dress from Mac Duggal Couture.

Below: The evening’s hostess, Renée Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross, with her son, Cadet Alex Hughes.

Below: Senator Larry Farnese, and John and Julie Hawkins. Traditionally at the Red Ball, people are supposed to wear something red, so I tried to make an effort to shoot only people with red on, or if they were with people wearing red, or they were truly spectacular. Let’s see how I did.

Below: ABC’s Bachelor reality contestants, Michael Mandale, Craig Robinson, Lisa Pastrich, Reid Rosenthal, Tyler Vermette, Britnee Marks and Brielle Marks. A few of these mugs will be seen on the Bachelor Pad this summer.

Below: Dennis and Lorraine Kinslow, CTO Entertainment founder Carmen Tomassetti, Erin Pusz, and Marisa Stevens. CTO’s Park Central kept the crowd on its feet all the way till the lights turned on at midnight, while DJ Ricky Lee and C:Fusion kept the VIP room grooving.

Below: Looking simply splendid in her red Versace, Lorina Marshall-Blake, here with Orville Coxen, is vice-president of government relations for Independence Blue Cross. Earlier, I saw her at the Madame CJ Walker Awards Luncheon, as well as Maternity Care Coalition’s Escape to Hawaii luncheon, both at the Loews Hotel (which made attending convenient for me, too). On April 22nd she relinquishes her title as the reigning Dancing With the Philadelphia Stars champ at the annual Sickle Cell Anemia event.

Below: No one said it better than Peg Mertz, who said it’s once a year, go out and treat yourself to a red dress for the Red Ball. It’s a beautiful night to meet up with old friends, raise awareness for a great cause and have some fun. Her husband, Michael J. Lynagh, agreed. They both love this event for the diversity of the people who attend, the energy, the food and the dancing.

Below: Who doesn’t love a tiara-wearing beauty queen? I caught Miss Pennsylvania Essence Jillian Patricia Pirtle and escort Travis Yancey waiting in line for a sitting with tarot reader Marilyn Sukonick-Zeff.

Below: Musically inclined Marisa Magnatta, associate producer of the Preston and Steve show, and beau Ron Zawadsky belt out a tune on the keyboard from the 1988 movie Big, with Tom Hanks. Others spotted: former running back and CBS football analyst Marcus Allen, artists Perry Milou and Glenn Stevens, NBC 10’s Sheena Parveen, NBC 10’s Jillian Mele (who brought her brother Thomas as her date), Philadelphia Eagle Jason Babin, Amber Joi Watkins (Miss Pennsylvania USA 2011), and Hadas Kuznits, from KYW 1060.

Below: Anna Bostic and Earl Harvey look dashing. I love reading Earl’s newsletter as he keeps me up-to-the-minute on what’s happening in the African American community and with events that I get to bring to you.

Below: An ironic lesson was learned just as I was taking a photo of Frank Sestito and WOGL’s Valerie Knight. Next to us was a woman grooving to the music. Suddenly I noticed a napkin caught on fire from candle at the cocktail table where she was standing.

Below: I, of course, thought let me get a picture. The women began to blow on the fire, which only made it worse. Eventually common sense prevailed, and we threw our drinks on the flames (glad it wasn’t grain alcohol). It was an eye-opening experience and a reminder that accidents happen and you should think ahead about solutions. Also a good reminder that in disasters, the Red Cross is there to help. Disaster here was averted, of course, and the spectacular night continued.