“This is not an average Halloween costume party,” organizers of the Victoria Masquerade Ball note.
Too true, that.
In fact, what Derek and Julie Sanderson promise is an evening of glitz and glamour, mystery and intrigue at “the castle on the harbour,” the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Oct. 25.
North America’s only Venetian-style Ball, the Victoria Masquerade Ball, will provide guests with a red-carpet welcome before ushering in an evening of performances, roaming appetizers and Martini Mashed Potato stations, dancing, auctions and more. Prizes will be awarded for Best Male, Best Female and Best Couple costumes.
First noted in Italy during the 15th century, and particularly popular in Venice, masquerade balls were costumed public festivities. Typically elaborate dances for members of the upper classes, masquerade balls became common throughout mainland Europe and Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries.
“Julie and I took the ball over four years ago and we’ve just taken it bigger and better each year,” says event chair Derek Sanderson, noting the ball has raised $200,000 for local charities in the last three years.
Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the BC Cancer Foundation.
“We don’t have to do this, we want to do this,” says Sanderson, owner of Island IT. “We think it’s fun and different and in North America there isn’t another proper Venetian Ball, so it’s a good fit. There’s just an electric feeling about the event.”
With photographers snapping their arrival, guests will enjoy a glass of champagne as they browse silent auction items and enjoy a variety of music and dance performances before dancing to the Midnights and a live auction at 9:30 p.m.
Adding to the spectacle, masquerade-appropriate dress is required, including a mask, Venetian ball apparel or evening wear – tuxedo or suit for men and ball gown or dress for ladies.
However, Julie Sanderson notes, while some guests create stunning masks each year, it’s not a requirement; a simple store-bought mask is all that’s needed.
“There’s so many different levels of entertainment, a terrific band and auction – it’s just a great time for a great cause.”
For details and ticket information, visit victoriaball.com.
The Victoria Masquerade Ball is at the Fairmont Empress Hotel on Oct. 25.