Coming off a gig as Rapunzel at the Aldergrove Fair, and Cinderella at a recent block party, Langley princess Alyssa Nielsen dons her favourite gown this Saturday for the ball of the year.
She’s appearing as Frozen’s Queen Elsa at the sold-out White Rock Princess Party – a charity event raising money for an all-ability park in that community.
In the first year of the White Rock Princess Party, Nielsen’s friend was taking pictures and asked if she’d consider dressing up as Cinderella and taking part.
By that point, the Willoughby resident had been making regular appearances as princesses at community events, birthday parties, and fundraisers for several years through her business, As You Wish Princess – while still juggling a singing career as a single mother.
Nielsen showed up with the simple expectation of entertaining a few dozen kids at the White Rock event. She had no idea what she was in for.
Meeting organizer Myra Merkal, and finding her goodwill and enthusiasm contagious, Nielsen was soon on board as a partner with the event – not only volunteering to dress up and entertain, but offering to help organize.
Enchantment for kids
Merkal acknowledges it as a legacy fundraising project now in its eighth year, but moreover the White Rock [Prince and] Princess Party is a magical day for all, designed specifically for boys and girls alike, ages two to 10.
“All of our activities put an emphasis on children’s inner beauty-character qualities such as kindness, courtesy, friendliness and respect,” she said.
“We have embraced the message of the Virtues Project, an international program that helps to bring out the best in everyone. I think we need this kind of focus in our families and communities more than ever,” Merkal explained.
The 350 princes and princesses expected this year will have their fill of magical royalty this year with an “unprecedented” six royal characters in attendance – the ever popular sisters Queen Elsa, of course, and Princess Anna, as well as Moana, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Princess Belle.
The arena comes alive with crafts, activities, facepainting, cookie decorating, a magic castle, raffle prizes, food, a cake walk and a photo opportunity with these royal characters, said Nielsen, who excitedly took on the chore of decorating the new space this year.
“I guess you could call me a princess of all trades,” Nielsen said, hoping the arena will be “truly enchanting.”
Add in a charity component
It is still a charity event, as well, intended to raise money for an all-abilities, all-age park on the beach at White Rock.
Nielsen suggested that if this event continues to grow and prosper the way it has, that she and Merkal might seriously consider expanding the event to neighbouring communities – such as Langley – with a similar goal of helping fundraise for all-ability parks in those areas.
Credit for the park idea is owed to the White Rock Fire Fighters Charity Association, Merkal explained, noting that she jumped on board the initiative to build the beach park.
This year, Merkal said, a portion of the party’s funds will also be donated to building an all-ability park at Centennial Park, which is where this year’s princess party is happening. That project is being done in collaboration with Peace Arch Hospital Foundation and the City of White Rock.
To date, the princess party – and a few other related charity events – have raised $125,000.
Two year ago now, the party raised $18,000. Last year, that total was almost doubled, raising $30,000. This year’s goal, Nielsen said, will be to raise at least the same – if not a bit more.
Popularity of the event has flourished every year, with the last three years selling out. Even with a new venue last year allowed them to increase participation from 200 to about 350 kids, Nielsen noted this year’s event is once again sold out.
“It’s grown soooo much,” she said.
More information about the event, or booking for next year can be found online at www. wrprincessparty.com.