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Hear Philly: Dinner And Dancing For A Wonderful Cause Thanksgiving Weekend

By Andrew Kramer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For over a century, Philadelphia’s youth gather every year for a special event in Center City to raise money for charity.

That will happen again this year — November 29th at the Bellevue.

“The Philadelphia Charity Ball is an old Philadelphia institution,” explains the event’s president, Ron Fenstermacher. “This is our 135th ball this year. It’s just a great time — it’s dinner and dancing, we have the Renaissance Orchestra that plays a broad range of music from a traditional swing music to contemporary pop music. We have all ages attend from college age on up. We even serve breakfast around 11:30 p.m. It’s a lot of fun.”

(Credit: Sabina Louise Pierce)

(Credit: Sabina Louise Pierce)

Fenstermacher says the event spotlights younger people, with the focus being how they can make philanthropy a part of their lives:

“The main goal of all of it is to instill in young, college-aged people the value of philanthropy — the importance of volunteering. We want them to interact with the selected charity to see how fulfilling it can be to work with others. A lot of our people in the past have gone on to really important roles in the philanthropic and cultural life of Philadelphia.”

That charity this time around is Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Fenstermacher says it’s their first year working with them:

“I think that’s a really good choice for the young people. A lot of the younger people in school have worked with Special Olympics. They know about it, they know what they do and we’re really very happy and very excited to be working with them.”

Another special part of the night, Fenstermacher says, is a presentation of the Jimmy Medal, “which is an award given to someone who inspires others in their life and the person receiving the medal this year is a special Olympian and he really has an inspiring story. So he’ll be there to receive that reward.”

Fenstermacher says The Philadelphia Charity Ball is the main fundraiser and calls it a “beautiful program.” He believes you should participate for a couple of reasons:

“First of all would be just because it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a great night, it’s been going on for a long time. You can take part in an old Philadelphia tradition. Philadelphia has a lot of those, but this one is really special because of the second reason which is because you’re helping charity, you’re helping an organization that’s doing a great service, doing great work helping others, so you can have fun while doing good.”

Cocktail hour begins around 6:30 p.m. and the Jimmy Medal presentation takes place around 9 p.m. Fenstermacher says the more participants, the better.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit The Philadelphia Charity Ball website.

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