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Monday, May 27, 2024
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Hear ye, hear ye little royals near and far

Little royals came together from kingdoms near and far for the 5th annual Fairy Tale Ball to benefit Rooms From The Heart, a local non-profit that redecorates the rooms of critically or terminally ill children.

There were little mermaids and belles, sleeping beauties and superheroes. Oh, and let's not forget the pirates, princes, and snowmen. Everyone got an entrance framed by fanfare and was given a rose by fairies, introduced by a voice booming in the courtyard while a trumpet sounded.

They entered a courtyard full of their favorite princesses, princes, and superheroes.

One of the children, a 5-year-old named Brooke, said that "seeing Elsa and Anna," referring to the snow princesses, was her favorite part of the night.

Once all of the kids filtered in from photo-ops with the characters of their choice, they filled the Blacksmith shop on Poplar Street.

The kids had their choice of crafts with the dwarves, food, games with pirates, face painting, or a visit to the Snow White Salon.

A group of girls from Mercer University volunteered in the craft area in the guise of the seven dwarves. Brittany Pearson has been helping out at the event for four years.

“This is probably the best year that I’ve seen,” Pearson said.

“They’ve expanded this year, so they have more to offer to the kids . . . And it just seems like the vibe is better in here,” she said.

Terrell Stanley is also a Mercer student, but he graduated back in 1967. He said he's volunteered here for three or four years, helping to welcome kids to the event.

He said that he's changed the outfit every year- once he was a swashbuckler, this year he’s decked out in a black velvet cape. But he’s kept his hat the same.

"People like the hat," he said.

Kelly Ferrell is a first-year volunteer who heard about the event through Mercer Medical School, where she is a second-year student. The medical school helped to transform a room with Rooms from the Heart this January.

Ferrell made balloon animals while wearing a medieval ball gown.

"It's fun!" Ferrell said. "The kids are having a blast, and it's great because it helps to raise money for Rooms from the Heart."

Bren Powell, the coordinator of the Ball and part of the Rooms from the Heart Board, said they predict that they made “between 22 and 25 thousand, but that is just an estimate.” They will know the actual total later in the week.

Chloe and Olivia were two little princesses that came to the ball with their friends and family. Chloe, who is 8, said that her favorite part of the ball was “hanging out with [her] friends and playing all of the cool games.”

Her friend Olivia, who is “9-and-a-half,” echoed Chloe.

“I think it's really great because we get to spend time with our friends," Olivia said.

Sally Ussery is a Board member for Rooms From the Heart who has helped put on the Ball for the past five years. She said that this year’s ball was an adjustment because they expanded and moved things around but that it’s “getting bigger and better.” But her favorite part was the beginning of it all.

“I like the entrance,” Ussery said. “I like it when they come in because they’re so awed by all the princesses out there and hearing their name called, that just makes them feel so special.”

“That is our purpose,” she said. “To make children feel special. And to give them a night, you know? They don’t often have a night just for them.”

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