DeKALB – Children of all ages and their families can don their fanciest attire – ball gowns, tiaras and black tie optional – to attend the ninth annual Royal Children’s Ball, hosted by DeKalb County’s Youth Service Bureau.
The Royal Children’s Ball will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Northern Illinois University’s look-alike castle, Altgeld Hall. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.dcysb.com/royal-childrens-ball or at the door and cost $15 each or $13 each for groups of six or more. For information about the ball, call 815-748-2010 or visit www.facebook.com/royalchildrensball.
The ball will feature a royal salon, face painting, magic, games, dancing, performances by Dimensions Dance Academy, crafts, food, balloon animals, professional photography and more.
MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton met with Diana Hulst, executive director of the DeKalb County’s Youth Service Bureau, to discuss the event.
Milton: What is the Youth Service Bureau?
Hulst: We offer individual, group and family counseling and services for youth ages 8 to 18 and their families. We also offer specialty services, as well. There is always a great turnout, at least 600 attendees each year. It’s fun for the whole family, for children and their families. The Royal Children’s Ball is our biggest fundraiser. It’s held every year at Altgeld Hall, the castle, at NIU during spring break.
Milton: Why host a fundraiser ball?
Hurst: I think that it’s a great way for the Youth Service Bureau to interact with families, for them to get to know us. If they do need our services down the road, they know who we are. They would be familiar with us as an organization and aren’t intimidated. We help many students that are bullied or witness violent acts. We have trauma-certified therapists, so no matter what their experiences might be, we can help. We work closely with schools and court services for mental health and behavioral support for children ages 8 to 18.
Milton: What are some of the activities at the ball?
Hulst: There will be a DJ with family friendly music for dancing, a salon for tattoos and hair, two performances by Dimensions Dance Academy and professional family photos by Kyler Photography for $10. Stage Coach Players will dress as 16 storybook characters, including princesses, princes, the king and queen and the fairy godmother. The fairy godmother will lead a story time. There will be crafts, games and an obstacle course where you can slay a dragon with a foam sword. There is also a balloon artist, face painting, and James the Magician. There will also be raffle prizes including a YMCA family membership basket valued at $900 and Cubs tickets. There will be food, including hors d’oeuvres, finger food and snacks and lemonade.
Milton: Do attendees have to dress in costume?
Hulst: Costumes are welcome, some people also dress up for a family photo. It doesn’t matter what you wear, you could even wear comfy clothes. Just come and have a blast.
Milton: Do tickets have to be purchased in advance?
Hulst: No, you can purchase tickets at the door. However, if you buy your tickets in advance, your name will be on the guest list, you’ll get your hand stamped and you can walk right in. You don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets before entering.
Milton: How has the ball changed through the years?
Hurst: It has definitely expanded and we’ve added more activities. I’ve been helping run it for four or five years now. One lady brings her granddaughters every year, they get dressed up and come together. What I think will remain the same is that the ball will continue to be accessible and affordable to everyone.
Milton: What do you like the most about the event?
Hurst: It’s a great opportunity for families to spend time together and it’s much less expensive and closer to home than a trip to Disney. It’s a way for children to meet their favorite characters, dance, have fun, participate in activities and be treated like royalty for an evening.