We were fortunate enough to have been asked by Saint Clement to help support their annual fundraising gala, Anchor Ball, for this year’s event. My longtime friend and colleague, Nicole Zenner, was at the helm and we were soon joined by Joannie Weber to round out the dream team. This event was just as much fun planning as it was day of, and they blew their fundraising goals out of the water. What could be better?
As it was the 30th Anniversary of Anchor Ball, the traditional gift of “pearl” was used to theme the event. Guests were greeted at the front entryway to Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile by a strong team of volunteers from the Saint Clement Young Adult Community. There was an extensive Silent Auction with generous donations from around the Lincoln Park area and beyond, a “Pearl Dive Wine Pull” with the chance to win valuable bottles of wine, freshly shucked oysters from Oysters XO and upgraded champagne for purchase, and plenty of delicious hors d’oeuvres and beverages from the Marriott. This was the first “in person” event since 2019 so everyone was thrilled to be together supporting a cause dear to their hearts. Brad from Cobalt Photography made sure each moment was capture for posterity.
As guests prepared to enter the ballroom for the dinner and program, Four Star Brass Band appeared with a New Orleans-style Second Line to lead the way into the next portion of the evening. AV Chicago handled the hybrid streaming to guests enjoying the experience from home as well as all audio-visual needs for the evening. They had decked out the stage and backdrop for a definite “wow” factor as guests made their way out of cocktail and into their assigned tables for dinner.
Father Peter Wojcik, Pastor at Saint Clement and Kristen Fink, principal of Saint Clement School opened up the event with a welcome and blessing of gratitude that we were able to finally all be together celebrating the vibrant community they call home. In honoring the legacy and vitality of their parish family, awards were presented to previous pastors, Father Tom Hickey and Father Ken Simpson.
The fun did not stop there. Bobby D from Raising Paddles, our auctioneer for the evening, kicked off the event with a fun rendition of “Heads or Tails”. These folks were serious about their bracelet purchases: some had twenty or more! Every purchase benefitted Saint Clement and everyone in attendance was more than generous.
Then came the live auction and Paddle Raise. In a bit of friendly competition, there was a race to see whether the church or the school would reach their fundraising goal first. I won’t reveal who won bragging rights (I’m sure a member of the Saint Clement community would be glad to share!) but there was success on both sides. I was helping to tally up the paddles as they were called out and I could not believe what I was reading–we exceed our goal by almost double! It was a truly incredible event and outpouring of generosity. Guests celebrated on the dance floor with Okyne MediaLab and in the ShutterBooth Photo Booth until last call.
These women worked tirelessly to bring this event to fruition. Saint Clement is so lucky to have them on their team, and Five Grain Events was fortunate to have played a small role in this world class event!
Cheers to continued success, Saint Clement!