Cinderella gives a young fan a hug at the seventh annual White Rock Princess Party.

White Rock Princess Party a royal success

Annual event entertained 700 while raising $34,000 for park project

A quintet of royalty entered Centennial Arena Saturday – and hundreds of pint-sized princesses didn’t let the moment pass them by.

The biggest-ever annual White Rock Princess Party – relocated from White Rock’s Star of the Sea hall – drew 700 costumed children and parents to the fundraising event, and a grand entrance by Elsa, Anna, Cinderella, Belle and Rapunzel left young costumed fans starstruck.

Before posing for photos, the Disney princesses invited young guests to sit in a semicircle and watch their choreographed routine.

“People loved it. We just had nothing but positive feedback,” said Myra Merkal, creator and organizer of the party. “There were so many activities and different things for children to do.”

The sold-out event and its sponsors raised a record $34,000 – surpassing expectations and nearly doubling last year’s total of $18,160.

The money is to be donated to the White Rock Fire Fighters Charity Association in support of its goal to build an all-abilities park on the beach.

“We’re extremely pleased with the amount of money we made this year. It’s just phenomenal,” Merkal said.

The 2016 party featured a magic castle, face-painting, hair-styling, games, crafts, a cake walk and a charitable community craft, in which children were invited to make bookmarks for residents of Crescent Gardens Retirement Community. Firefighters served lunch, and a raffle prize table – packed with items donated by local merchants – was also part of the three-hour event.

Merkal said it took 100 volunteers and the work of Alyssa Nielsen of As You Wish Princess Parties to make the event a success.

“Just to see the children walking in with stars in their eyes and excitement in seeing everything … just makes the five months of working non-stop, producing and organizing this event so worth it.”

The White Rock Princess Party and other events have raised $124,000 toward the vision for a play space on the beach that would offer equipment for all ages and abilities. The long proposed park is distinct from Peace Arch Hospital Foundation’s bid to build an all-abilities playground at Centennial Park.

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