The Cinderella Ball held at the Omni William Penn


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Fairy tales really do come true -- with hard work, much planning and a dose of good luck.

A magical setting in the Omni William Penn ballroom created some enchanted evening on Saturday for the 21 debutantes who were presented at the 87th Cinderella Ball.

Rose Egan was the lucky young lady whose name was drawn by handsome Prince Charming Sean Hannon, a senior at Notre Dame and the son of Michael and Judy Hannon. Ms. Egan is a fourth-generation debutante -- her great-grandmother, Jane Marshall Fisher, was presented in 1928, her grandmother Joan Fisher Humphrey in 1949 and her mother, Constance Humphrey Egan, in 1976. An aunt, Luceille Egan, was chosen as Cinderella in 1973.

Such tradition is what sets The Cinderella Ball apart from the others -- it's the second oldest debutante ball in the country and cherished and nurtured by successive generations of women. For many years it supported St. Margaret Hospital, but today, under the guidance of the Cinderella Women's Committee and its president, Becky Keevican, the ball supports a different organization annually. This year it was the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and its president, Kevin McMahon, was present to acknowledge the donation. In addition, the girls are required to volunteer for the organization. Athena Petredis was awarded the CWC Scholarship for contributing 91 hours of service to the Cultural Trust. Next year's beneficiary will be the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania.

The ball has been opened up in other ways as well. All girls are welcome to participate, although many years there is a waiting list. The committee rotates as well, with former debs and founding members passing their knowledge on for the future. From the entrance march of the floor committee -- 100 or so young men in white tie and tails -- to the curtsey each girl makes as she is presented, the evening is rife with many other traditions that began when ball chairs Catherine Loevner (with Mark) and Diana Rath (with Frank) waved their magic wands.

As more than 600 guests arrived after cocktails in the lobby, there were audible gasps of delight. Both the ballroom and the Urban Room next to it were bathed in pink light, and more than 10,000 coral roses, white hydrangeas and other flowers were arranged on tables or in towering, 6-feet-tall displays -- all by Bill Chisnell of BCP.

The ballroom has never looked prettier, and the excitement and energy were palpable as a vocal crowd cheered last year's Cinderella and Prince -- Danika Baum and Jeff Broad -- and this year's debs. The Rick Purcell Big Band provided the elegant music for the formal waltzes before dinner was served. Catering director Lora Peluso and executive chef Jacky Francois made sure it was absolutely perfect -- butternut squash soup, filet mignon with gorgonzola walnut butter and a trilogy of wonderful desserts.

When Gary Racan and the Studio-e Band took over after dinner with their irresistible repertoire, the dance floor swelled with all the guests who joined the debutantes of 2013. They are Isabel Aiken, Anna Arnn, Samantha Ballengee, Stephanie Betts, Lyndsay Bozzone, Maclean Calihan, Hanna Chait, Rose Egan, Katherine Girdhar, Samantha Goodman, Olivia Loevner, Sydney Mordoh, Caroline Muse, Campbell North, Athena Petredis, Madison Pollock, Brooke Roberts, Caroline Stamy, Maegan Stump, Julia Teti and Meryl Warshafsky.

At the stroke of midnight ... fortunately, everyone came in cars, not carriages.

mobilehome - mainevent

Marylynn Uricchio: muricchio@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1582. First Published January 29, 2013 5:00 AM


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