Plays Well With Others

Dallas do-gooders become kids at heart for nonprofit's birthday bash

Dallas do-gooders become kids at heart for nonprofit's birthday bash

Annie Verret, Mary Ellen McWilliams, Amy Gale, Paige Chenault, Arden Ellis, Allison Dukes, Candice Trevino
Annie Verret, Mary Ellen McWilliams, Amy Gale, Paige Chenault, Arden Ellis, Allison Dukes, Candice Trevino Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Paige Chenault
Paige Chenault Photo by Steve Wrubel
Crowd at the Bomb Factory
Supporters packed The Bomb Factory. Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Mr. Potato Head cake
A fitting cake for the Toy Town theme. Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Debra Hayes, Robert Hayes
Debra Hayes, Robert Hayes Photo by Steve Wrubel
Jamie O'Boyle, Brian O'Boyle
 Jamie O'Boyle, Brian O'Boyle Photo by Steve Wrubel
Ryan Lilly, Laurie Wilgers
Ryan Lilly, Laurie Wilgers Photo by Steve Wrubel
Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra
The Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra entertained attendees. Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Lit cupcakes
Supporters held lit cupcakes aloft after the speeches. Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Holly Mercer, Sam Mercer
Holly Mercer, Sam Mercer Photo by Steve Wrubel
Hamilton Reynolds, Mallory Reynolds
Hamilton Reynolds, Mallory Reynolds Photo by Steve Wrubel
Julie Chisum, Kelli Griffin, Tara Tevis, Lauren Burch
 Julie Chisum, Kelli Griffin, Tara Tevis, Lauren Burch Photo by Steve Wrubel
Kathryn Arce, Rebecca Grinnals
Kathryn Arce, Rebecca Grinnals Photo by Steve Wrubel
Zak Gambrell, Ashton Gambrell
Zak Gambrell, Ashton Gambrell Photo by Steve Wrubel
Twister dance floor
The dance floor was a giant Twister board. Photo by Rebecca Marie Photography
Annie Verret, Mary Ellen McWilliams, Amy Gale, Paige Chenault, Arden Ellis, Allison Dukes, Candice Trevino
Paige Chenault
Crowd at the Bomb Factory
Mr. Potato Head cake
Debra Hayes, Robert Hayes
Jamie O'Boyle, Brian O'Boyle
Ryan Lilly, Laurie Wilgers
Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra
Lit cupcakes
Holly Mercer, Sam Mercer
Hamilton Reynolds, Mallory Reynolds
Julie Chisum, Kelli Griffin, Tara Tevis, Lauren Burch
Kathryn Arce, Rebecca Grinnals
Zak Gambrell, Ashton Gambrell
Twister dance floor

In perhaps its most literal celebration yet, The Birthday Party Project threw a Toy Town-themed blowout for its sixth anniversary, and supporters were more than ready to revisit their youth for a fun-filled evening. Raggedy Ann and Andy partied with Princess Peach and Mario for a night of nostalgia and giving, all in the name of raising funds for the Dallas-based nonprofit.

Co-chairs Lauren Heiler and Emily Clarke, food and beverage chairs Dana Blaugrund and Jennifer Harris, event production chair Jacqueline Hill, and event production and design chair Sidney Miller transformed The Bomb Factory into a sophisticated playground, with Beanie Baby centerpieces, a LEGO wall, and a spiral slide that made getting down from the balcony way more fun, with each ride costing only a $5 donation.

DJs Souljah and Julio Rivera got the crowd warmed up before the energetic Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra took the stage, drawing Care Bears, Power Rangers, Strawberry Shortcakes, piñatas, whoopee cushions, Barbie dolls, and Rubik's Cubes to the giant Twister dance floor.

Themed bites — think cheesy Mousetrap risotto — from The Joule, Hotel ZaZa, Five Sixty, Panini Bakery, and a host of catering companies (Food Glorious Food, Wolfgang Puck, Cassandra Fine Catering, Michael Owens, Proper Catering & Events, Farm to Market, and Sodexo) fueled the fun, while the VIP section enjoyed even more snacks. A Mr. Potato Head birthday cake greeted guests when they first arrived, and Candy Club, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and FunkyTown Donuts made sure there were always sweets within reach.

Gifts for the Good Life set up a pop-up shop, with TBPP swag available for purchase. As with the ticket sales, all funds went straight toward throwing birthday parties for homeless children across the country.

Live and silent auctions organized by auction chairs Amanda Albritton, Missy Rogers Peck, and Bailey Lloyd brought in even more donations, with the crowd bidding fast and high for such prizes as a 16-person luxury suite experience at a Dallas Mavericks game, dinners out at some of Dallas' finest restaurants, and trips to Aspen and Italy.

Rainbow Brite, aka TBPP founder and CEO Paige Chenault, honored Engage! Summits' Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce​, along with past chairs Jamie and Brian O'Boyle, who have been contributing to The Birthday Party Project and its mission since its inception. Then the entire TBPP crew took the stage, holding aloft cupcakes and singing "When I Grow Up" from the musical Matilda before blowing out the candles and making a wish.

All told, the night raised more than $550,000. Founded in 2012 and now located in several cities, The Birthday Party Project brings joy to children living in homeless shelters throughout the U.S. through the magic of birthdays. Since its inception, The Birthday Party Project has celebrated over 4,500 birthdays for more than 30,000 children, with the help of 9,500 birthday enthusiasts.