Monday, May 31, 2004

As Council Leader for Full Circle it is my happy job to announce that the Beltane Ball was a resounding social & organizational success.   Our 100+ attendees and 30+ volunteers looked absolutely fabulous and everyone had a very good time.  Pictures will be up on our website soon, (once we’ve all had a chance to rest!)  Special thanks to go an anonymous donor and to our Gold Sponsor: Xcentricities Corsets; for making this event possible.
It was a wonderful evening.  The dance music was great, the weather was perfect, and the Art Décor Ball Room, our Vendor room and the Craft Room looked lovely.  Our wonderful photographers brought their gorgeous background and they kept busy taking pictures of everyone all night long. They even took a free photo for our Costume Contest winners, all three of whom also won free tickets to this year’s Witches’ Ball.  (1)
The Face Painter (a new offering this year) was a huge hit.   She is a delightful gal and a very talented artist and we’re thrilled that she was such a success.  I don’t think she had more than a few moments' rest from the time her booth opened to the time she closed 5 hours later.  The afternoon before the ball, she painted many of our Staff at the pre-ball party and we all felt very magicakal as a result.  Our senior staff are now her devoted followers and we will be wearing her work again at the WB.
Our Food Vendor had an array of tasty treats ranging from healthy and vegetarian goodies to offerings for carnivores, not to mention chocolate decadence for us all. He also offered bottled water, tea, and coffee (bless him!).  He did a bang up business, not just from us, but also from the many theatergoers next door.  We are very glad that he choose work with us this year and delighted that his booth was such a success. 
In fact, all our Vendors were financial successes and this makes us very, very happy.  When they buy a table from Full Circle, they trust us to make it worth their while, and we try very hard not to let them down!
I would also like to thank our Director, Ravensong, our Senior Staff, and all our Volunteers who made Set Up and Take Down such a breeze. My thanks also to the Volunteers who worked the Ticket Table and to the hardworking Staff who ran the ball.  They made everyone feel welcome and appreciated.   This was one of the best-run events we have ever put on.  My compliments to everyone on jobs very well done.
I would also like to thank the brave and sexy band known as FLARE who act as our Operations Staff. We always feel safe with you folks around, and it’s a pleasure to know you.
While our ball was going on, the Children’s Theatre at the Lucy Stern center was offering their version of The Phantom Tool Booth.  At the same time, a light opera company was performing “Joseph and the Technocolored Dream Coat” at the Stern’s Musical Theatre.   Some of my favorite memories from the Beltane Ball include watching our children play with the other kids in the garden courtyard under that beautiful moon, and seeing the upscale opera crowd wander through our halls, munching on Pagan treats, chatting with Pagans about their costumes and watching (somewhat wistfully) as adult Pagans got their faces painted.  (Yes, folks, this Path is as much fun as it looks).  I would like to thank our attendees and our FLARE folks, who were, without exception, gracious and friendly to all, and who represented our Pagan Tribe to curious outsiders with kindness, patience, and good will.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who attended.  You were charming, friendly, and courteous. We couldn’t ask for a nicer crowd.  Our special thanks go out to those friends who came in from L.A., Idaho, Oregon and Arizona for this event, to our “regulars” who always give us such great support, and to the newcomers who trusted us to give them a good time.  
As I said, the Beltane Ball was an outstanding success, both socially and organizationally.  But! … it did not raise any seed money.
We had 100+ attendees (we usually have 300 people at such events), and basically, we broke even.  Believe me, our group is organized and we know how to do great, great things “on the cheap”.  We’ve never had such a small turnout at a ball before, so this was a surprise; especially as so many people expressed an interest in coming in the last year, as we’ve been planning this.  To be fair, the Beltane Ball was a brand new event, which came during May; a month full of events.  It occurred right after tax season, in the middle of an economic downturn, during a war, in a depressing election year, while the state is cutting jobs and services, as gas prices were rising… again!  (…am I missing anything?) When we look at it that way, we feel grateful and pleased that so many folks came out to support us (and we have to be glad that we didn’t loose our shirts!). The turn out may have been small by our usual standards, but the people who were there that night were fabulous, which is why it was so much fun for all concerned. 
Over the years we’re realized this truth: In Boom Times, people want to party, so our events were a success.   In previous years, people ached for well run Pagan events, especially the social kind where all are welcome and courtesy is the norm.  These were few and far between, so again, we had great success.   In times of national tragedy, people want to come together and they need something life affirming and safe.   This is why we had 600 people attend the Witches’ Ball in 2001 (only a month and a half after 9/11) and we had a huge success.  But, in times of economic hardship, people tend to “circle the wagons”, and the mindset is “Katie, bar the door.”   People are worried and anxious these days, and no wonder.  We all try to save our money and we tend to keep to ourselves.  This is why all non-profit groups have been hurting, and why so many good stores and groups have closed their doors. 
Our success has led other groups throughout the state to copy some of our events and ideas and to form groups of their own.  That’s fine. If you can do something well, and you serve the community, we will honor what you do.  Meanwhile, our FCE calendar has helped other groups grow and expand, it’s put thousands of people in touch with each other, and it’s helped to get new groups started.    We’re glad of that, too.  But then what do we do if we need support from the people we’ve helped along the way?  Well, I guess we ask for it, which is what we’ve done here.
Will we do another Beltane Ball? Will we even be around in 2005?   I honestly don’t know the answer to that.   We’d like to do it again.  Frankly, it was a lot of fun.  We’d like to do it at the Lucy Stern Center, too.   It’s beautiful center, and (by comparison to the other 20+ halls we’ve considered over the years) it’s very cheap.    With your help and support, we’ll offer this year’s Witches’ Ball there, and we will offer all our other services, as well … as I said above, it’s up to you folks now…
Once again: My thanks to all those who came and to all those who planned and worked the ball – you were lovely company throughout, and we were honored to have you with us.
With feelings of gratitude and pride,
Sia & the folks at Full Circle.

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