WEEKEND: Animal Ball to stir sense of fun for benefit of Port Townsend Food Bank
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Aletia Alvarez, left, and Allison Dey host Saturday’s second annual Animal Ball, a benefit for the Port Townsend Food Bank. -- Photo by David Conklin

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Spotlight

PORT TOWNSEND — The second annual Animal Ball, an all-ages dance and art party, is about to bring together a panoply of creatures at the Madrona MindBody Institute.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. Saturday for this event, a benefit for the Port Townsend Food Bank; admission is by donation at Madrona, which is at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way.

The evening will include mask-making, costume-embellishing and revelry to all manner of music, said Aletia Alvarez, co-owner of Madrona. The suggested contribution is $8 to $20, while any gift to the food bank is welcome, she added.

The inaugural Animal Ball was held in February 2012 to raise money for local resident Laura McKim, who at the time was facing open-heart surgery.

McKim, a dancer and artist, had found herself brought low by a heart infection.

Her surgery was successful, but she's still in the middle of the recovery process.

“But something has shifted,” she said last week. McKim is feeling a sense of lightness, and she's painting again.

Last year's Animal Ball was a great success, McKim and Alvarez agree: People came dressed as butterflies, salmon, bison, sea otters, various birds and wild cats of many stripes.

“It was “an absolute hoot,” said Alvarez, who leads the Soul Motion free-form dance sessions Tuesday and Sunday mornings at Madrona. McKim, after moving here from Bainbridge Island three years ago, partook in those Sunday morning events in Madrona's sunlit ballroom. And though she couldn't come to the Animal Ball last year, she displayed a series of her paintings, titled “Portal,” at the institute.

The series showed “my inner spirit child,” she said, “dancing with all species of life.”

“Portal V,” a painting of ocean creatures, is still at Madrona, awaiting those who come to dance Saturday night.

From 7 p.m. till 10 p.m., guests also can bid on silent-auction items: art, services and other gifts. And they may visit Madrona's art den to fluff their costumes, paint their faces, decorate masks and otherwise adorn themselves with feathers.

Dancers can expect to hear the call of the wild, Alvarez added, by 8 p.m. when DJ Captain Peacock and other local disc jockeys start their music. Madrona's ballroom will be aglow with lights, lush with foliage and decorated with animal sculptures: “an environment fit for the untamed,” she promised.

“Finger and paw” foods, a “watering hole” and a photo booth where animals can have professional 5-by-7 prints taken for $5 apiece are also part of the festivities.

Then, at 9 p.m., comes the Animal Parade and the “Year of the Snake” celebratory cutting of the cake.

Guests are encouraged to bring cash or checks for the silent auction, as credit card transactions will be limited at the ball.

The Port Townsend Food Bank, open Wednesdays at Mountain View Commons, 1925 Blaine St., is busier than ever, director Shirley Moss has reported. The pantry serves some 270 families each week, with demand peaking toward the end of the month. In late January, Moss said, the food bank provided food for 325 households. And last month, she began opening her doors for Senior Saturdays, so that people age 65 and older can obtain food Saturday between noon and 3 p.m.

Cash contributions are the most efficient way to support the food bank, Moss wants community members to know. Every dollar in donations buys 33 pounds of food from Food LifeLine, a Shoreline-based food distribution center serving food banks and shelters in Western Washington.

Those who can't come to the Animal Ball still can make donations by phoning Madrona at 360-344-4475 or sending checks directly to the Port Townsend Food Bank, P.O .Box 1795, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

McKim, for her part, is delighted that the Animal Ball is back. The 2012 event “helped me realize who my family is these days: the Port Townsend community, the people at Madrona.

“They have played a major part in helping me feel supported and loved — the most anyone could ask for during a health crisis.

“It's been quite a journey,” added McKim. “I'm really excited. I finally feel like my energy is coming back.”

For more information about Saturday's ball and the yoga, dance and other classes at Madrona, visit www.MadronaMindBody.com.

Last modified: March 21. 2013 7:10PM
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