Olympia’s Cirque de Soleil

Austin Oberbillig

Austin Oberbillig

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Exotic light shows, enthralling performances, entertaining song and dance, the embodiment of human creation through artistic exploration: The Illuminated Ball.  Held annually, the Illuminated Ball is a 100 percent volunteer fundraiser with a single goal in mind: Funding the nationally recognized 18th annual Procession of the Species while providing an enjoyable Saturday night.

This year, the Ball was held on Saturday night, Feb. 6th, at the Eagles Grand Ballroom. The returning volunteer staff, organized by Eli Sterling of Earthbound Productions, work with over 100 sponsors every year to create the event and Procession of the Species Celebration. Whether it be the art-passionate families, local public figures, or businesses such as ACME Fuel inc., everybody is willing to donate.

Even after thousands of dollars worth of set design equipment was stolen the day prior, the Illuminated Ball trudged on. After talk of cancellation the day before, organizers decided it was important to remain on track. “It’s discouraging, but we’re still going to go forward,” Sterling said.

Showcasing a rainforest theme, aerial dancing, choreographed routines, drinks and desserts, light shows, and a silent auction containing more then 42 items of art, jewelry, and certificates valued at over $6000, the Illuminated Ball goes all-out every year to provide the community with a fun festival for local families and visitors alike.

“[It’s] a unique event that allows [creativity] and shows the best of Olympia. [It’s] Olympia’s Cirque de Solei [and] a great artist party,” says Dave Sederberg, volunteer and owner of Pacific Stage Concert systems.

“Olympia is a lucky place to have an event like this, a taste of the Procession,” says Tim Sweeney, returning guest.

“Art puts our beauty on this earth, and [puts on display] our capacity for [creation]. Everything you see in this room is made in the studio,” says Eli Sterling, founder and director of Earthbound Productions, referring to the brilliantly executed pieces of art.

On March 3rd, there will be a volunteer callout seeking extra hands leading up to the Procession. February 25th/26th will be host to a batik workshop at the Procession studio in the alleyway at 311½ Capitol Way North, behind the Royal Lounge. On March 10th, a Community Studio open house will be held to showcase the culmination of many volunteer hours, displaying some of the creations.

For more information regarding the Illuminated Ball or the Procession of the Species Celebration visit http://www.procession.org/ or contact Eli Sterling at (360) 705-1087.

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