They came, they partied, they had a ball — and all for a good cause.
Nearly 700 people attended this year's version of the Howard County Library System's biggest annual fundraiser, "Evening in the Stacks," Saturday, Feb. 25. Each year's fundraiser has a different theme, and this one was a masquerade ball held at the new Miller Branch in Ellicott City.
"We've never had so many people before," said library spokeswoman Christie Lassen, noting that the 664 attendees was one-third more than last year. "The event just gets bigger and bigger."
This year's event featured the usual food and drinking, dancing, silent auction, and celebrity bartenders, among them County Council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty and Howard County General Hospital President Vic Broccolino. But it also had a couple of twists that Lassen suggested helped swell the crowd: the new venue at the expanded Miller library, which opened just two months ago, and the presence of best-selling novelist Lisa See, who held forth in a meeting room during the evening with Washington Post book critic Ron Charles. "Some people came just to see her," Lassen said.
Whatever their reason for coming, the big crowd made the event, which benefits the library's educational initiatives, "absolutely a success," Lassen said.
The fundraiser brought in nearly $91,000, she said.