For the 10th annual Kandy Kane Ball on Dec. 8, a semitrailer was parked outside Joe's Bar waiting to be filled with toys from the party, described by event organizers as the largest private toy drive in the city. More than 1,000 patrons, many clad in holiday attire, attended the event that required a toy donation for entry plus a $50 ticket.
The 20,000-square-foot space was whimsically decorated by Derrick Taylor and Company to resemble Whoville from the beloved Dr. Seuss book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" Even the waitstaff wore hairdos like Cindy-Lou Who, one of the book's characters. A surprise appearance by celebrity illusionist Aurora Sexton delighted the crowd as she posed for photos dressed as the Grinch.
Throughout the evening, classic holiday movies were shown on 120 plasma TVs, and the Albany Park Neighborhood Choir of the Chicago Children's Choir, conducted by Youna Cho, sang a selection of seasonal songs. DJ Sye Young and the band Sorry for Partying kept the crowd on the dance floor into the wee hours.
The Rev. Jeremiah Boland of Holy Family Parish, one of the charities that benefited from the toy drive, said, "On this 10th anniversary of the Kandy Kane Ball, I can't imagine the thousands of children who have had a better Christmas or holiday because of this event. The committee is terrific, and we can't thank them enough for the difference they have made in our community. More than 400 children will have a great party with wonderful food and gifts." This year, hundreds of toys and almost 200 bikes will be donated to Catholic Charities of Chicago, Rush Medical Center and Kelzer Care Center, among others, as well as to families affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers
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