Royal affair returns to White Rock
Dozens of Peninsula princes and princesses will have the opportunity to meet the queen this August.
Queen Elsa, that is.
The blond monarch from Disney’s smash hit, Frozen, will be on hand at the annual White Rock Princess Party Aug. 23 at Star of the Sea Community Centre.
The entire fundraiser has been influenced by the movie, organizer Myra Merkel told Peace Arch News.
“Our theme for this year is ‘unfreeze your heart’ and the focus is on being more loving, being kind and being accepting,” Merkel said.
The White Rock grandmother started the Princess Party five years ago as fundraiser for an all-abilities park in White Rock, which her son, White Rock firefighter Evan Bird, had first suggested after the August 2010 loss of a playground in Semiahmoo Park.
Over the last five years, in conjunction with the White Rock Firefighters’ contributions, approximately $50,000 has been raised for the park – a far cry from what is needed.
“It’s like a stepping stone,” Merkel said, noting that a park like the one she envisioned could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We don’t have an exact date yet, but as the parties grow and more people become aware, the closer we get.”
Each of the Princess Parties combine fun and education, as Merkel and co-organizer Alyssa Nielsen put a strong emphasis on inner beauty and tie in character qualities such as kindness, friendliness, courtesy, thankfulness, courage and community spirit.
For example, this year, the children will be able to decorate cookies in the shape of snowmen and snowflakes – a nod to the movie – for the caring cookie activity, Merkel said.
“We’ll engage them in conversation about what it is to be caring,” Merkel explained.
She noted that the kindness is not only restricted to the kids. Many local businesses have offered their assistance for this year’s party, including White Rock’s Spiritual Ingredients Bakery, who will be donating all the cookies, icing and sprinkles, as well as offering their services to create a Frozen cake for the raffle table.
“You can see their generous hearts just thumping,” Merkel said. “I really want to involve local businesses because I want to surround myself with good people who inspire me.”
The mini royalty will also participate in a number of activities that include a cake walk, making bracelets and other crafts. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with 126 of the 200 spots filled.
Last year, the fundraiser brought in $13,111 for the all-abilities park, and this year, with community support, Nielsen and Merkel hope to beat that and perhaps spread the message to other communities.
“For me, personally, it’s a lot of work, but I get to be part of creating a legacy and I feel so lucky. I always say to myself, ‘aren’t I lucky that I get to meet so many wonderful and generous people and I get to hang out with people who are making a difference,” she said. “I really want to inspire others in the community to do something like this.”
And this year, Merkel and Nielsen will have help from her two granddaughters, as well, who asked to volunteer instead of just participating.
“That was the most beautiful thing. Through being a role model and setting an example, now the girls want to do it. I see a few years from now, all these princes and princesses being the ones that volunteer,” she said.
Raffle prizes, donations and sponsorship are still needed. Contact Merkel at 604-538-8000 to help.
For tickets or more information, visit www.wrprincessparty.com