The Royal Ball

By Tim Buckley   |   April 25, 2019

Partying with Pride

Xorin Balbes, Truman Davies, Colette Schabram, Palmer Gibbs, Justine Roddick, Mark Ismond, and Steve Thompson at the Rosewood Miramar Beach (photo by Megan Sorel)

Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF) has again partnered with Merryl Brown Events to deliver its 2019 gala, which will be held at the Rosewood Miramar Beach. Limited to 400 guests, this Royal Ball is the first major fundraising event at this stunning new resort. Because planning and production on the event are so significant, PPF presents the event only every other year, with full license to dazzle. Co-chaired by Lynn Brown and Justine Roddick, the Royal Ball is in its sixth year, and once again promises a unique, regal experience.

Merryl Brown gave me some inside information on her vision of the event. “Our theme this year,” she says, “is Platinum Palace. It will be elegant and chic, with décor primarily in platinum, with elements of muted gold, and ivory floral and masses of silver.” Ms Brown will be working closely with Theoni Collection, which has donated all the décor. Attire is black tie, coat, and tails, or regal silver, gold, or glimmering attire. Diamonds, jewels, crowns, and/or tiaras, are strongly encouraged.

High-energy dance music will keep the party moving with DJ Alex Merrell, who has provided party soundtracks for celebrity clients such as Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Selena Gomez, and others. Additional entertainment includes an epic floorshow with Boy Band, stunning dancers, and costumed greeters.

Most of the funds are raised through underwriting opportunities and sponsorship in advance of the event. PPF also consistently offers unique items through a silent auction, with highlights viewable in advance on their website. Luxury packages available include a three-night stay at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City with first-class airfare, as well as trips to Hawaii, Mexico, and Palm Springs.

Top level donor Royal Boxes and tables will include elegant Theoni Collection furnishings, intimate, candlelit dining tables and stunning floral elements. VIP sponsorships are available at various levels, from $1,000 to $50,000. At the top spot, attendees receive a Royal Suite at the Ball for 24 guests – complete with private butler, specialty favors, and surprises in a custom minibar. Individual tickets are available for $350.

Pacific Pride Foundation has been serving the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities in Santa Barbara County for more than 40 years. In 2017, PPF moved its location in Santa Barbara to 608 Anacapa Street. The new space has been customized, with new resources like a community room for group gatherings and events, workstations for volunteers and counselors, and a fresh, clean, and transparent look and feel. Because of the move, PPF is now a more visible, welcoming, and impactful center for the more than 10,000 clients annually.

Justine Roddick (photo by Megan Sorel)
Mark Ismond and Steve Thompson (photo by Megan Sorel)

Mental health has been a focus point for PPF, with 2019 marking the second year of funding through Cottage Hospital’s Behavioral Health Initiative, partnering PPF with Antioch University. PPF’s counseling services have also expanded into Santa Maria, with affordable counseling available in both English and Spanish and a team of seven counselors countywide specializing in LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS topics.

The majority of PPF’s fundraising is done via The Royal Ball, its biennial event, which provides a significant portion of two years of operation budget for the organization.

“We are so grateful for our Royal Ball supporters and our donors year-round,” says Colette Schabram, Pacific Pride Foundation Executive Director. “Together,” she adds, “we are making a real difference in this community.”

You can book a Royal Ball box or table at or call Jackie VanLingen, Development & Events Manager at (805) 963-3636 x106 for more information. The event is pretty much sold out, but there are a limited number of spaces left at date of this publication.

C) Justine Roddick (photo by Megan Sorel)


You might also be interested in...