Ball on the Mall: Beautifully Setting the Standard

Kate Michael

Luckily for the patrons of the third annual Ball on the Mall Saturday, the hosts did not rest on the event's reputation of being a "good cause" -- as the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service -- to provide a so-so party.

Instead, the L'Enfant Society, AKA the Young Professionals for the Trust for the National Mall, worked to create what probably only seemed like a night of effortless entertainment.

In the grassy expanse between Madison Avenue and 7th Street, with the U.S. Capitol in front and the Washington Monument in back, the Ball on the Mall's tented outdoor venue had the perfect location.

Even before you crossed into the threshold, a fusion of music, conversation and lights drew you in. Red, purple, pink and white lights draped the tent in a bath of color. Adding to the color was the creative floating origami diamonds and birds dangling from the ceilings.

Of course, although venue and decorations are nice, the key to a successful ball is gorgeous people, good food and a short line for cocktails. Thankfully, the L'Enfant Society had endless streams of all three, especially food and drink.

Delicious food never was lacking. From mini burgers to shrimp balls with ricotta and herbs, the food never ran out. And the wait for drinks was mercifully short, thanks to two enormous diamond-shaped drink sections abutting the packed dance floor. The line was never more than two people deep -- an absolute miracle for a sold-out charity event.

As the event wound down, a delightful dessert bar appeared with a large selection of ice cream(!), chocolates, macaroons and even cookies rested on heated stones. Marvelous.

Each guest left with a packed swag bag filled with treats such as a full bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009, the "Inception" Blu-Ray + DVD combo pack, "The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" DVD, miscellaneous beauty items and even the new James Blunt CD.

For the $150 ticket price to support the restoration of the National Mall, this combination of location, food, drinks, goodie bag and a collection of interesting D.C. people is well worth the price. Something to add to your calendar for next year.

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