If you think the term "charity ball" is synonymous with stiff and boring, you have never been to the Riverside Women’s Association’s Snow Ball.
The event has all the trappings of an elegant fundraiser – beautiful people in equally beautiful dresses, suits and tuxedos, interesting auction items and a cash bar.
But while the goal is to raise money for scholarships and the area non-profits the RWA supports, this event is anything but stuffy. In fact, it is arguably one of the best parties in the area.
On Saturday, the women's association held its seventh annual Snow Ball at the Oakmont Country Club.
RWA is an organization of and for women. Its mission and focus is to provide social and intellectual outlets for its members while giving back to the community.
“Basically, we are all about the empowerment of women and community,” said president Gretchen Kurzawa.
The Snow Ball raises money for the two or three $2,500 scholarships RWA awards annually to local women who are beginning or continuing their education, and for RWA’s four core charities — the Oakmont Carnegie Library, the Oakmont and Verona Volunteer Fire Departments and the Riverview Community Action Corporation, as well as a few additional charities voted on by RWA members.
The event included a silent auction with items from golf, spa and getaway packages to autographed pictures of Steelers and tickets to everything from the symphony to the Penguins.
A couple of years ago, the women's association added a wine raffle and a jewelry raffle with champagne in which attendees can buy a glass of champagne and their names are entered to win a piece of fine jewelry.
The earrings from Henne Jewelers were donated by Jen Bonaroti Gold, and the lucky winner was Stacy Sluser.
This year’s chairs, Lisa Volpe, Judene Sykes and Bridget Cratty, added even more fun touches.
“We added a theme – Black Tie and Black Jack – and included gaming tables for guests to try their luck at roulette, black jack, craps, and Texas Hold ‘Em for chances to win fabulous donated prizes,” Volpe said.
Another entertaining addition – a photo booth. For $5, guests could get a keepsake photo.
"They had a great time squeezing into the booth — two, four, and even ten at a time,” Volpe said.
Guests enjoyed scrumptious food and danced the night away – many of them donning one of the silly hats and wigs the creative Snow Ball chairs had available in bins on the dance floor.
When 11 p.m. rolled around, the crowd was begging for just one more song, and then one more song, and then one more song. No one wanted the night to end.
But it wasn’t just the party that was a success.
“Our expectations were exceeded before the evening ended," Volpe said.
"We sold more than 185 tickets and our guests were generous at the gaming tables, the raffles and our silent auction."