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5th Annual Pujols Family Foundation Autumn Prom
October 14, 2011
Contributors: Cillah Hall and Leneia Weston
The Pujols Family Foundation rolled out the red carpet for a magical evening for teens and young adults at the 5th Annual Autumn Prom. What began as a special event in 2007 has become one of the biggest parties of the year for the Down syndrome community. As guests made their way down the red carpet at the Kemp Auto Museum, they were greeted with cheers by adoring friends and family members, sending the celebratory air into frenzy! With a record-breaking attendance of over 500 guests, the dance floor stayed packed all night as the Smash Band rocked and party-goers boogied down to their favorite hits.
“This party’s going down!” said Ethan Schroeder.
Smash kept the audience on top of the scoreboard for Game 5 of the World Series, the Cardinals – Brewers game. “Cardinals 1: Brewers Zeroooo!” He boomed into the mic. The crowd went bananas! Albert hit a home run in the hearts of every guest at the Kemp, though he couldn’t physically be there to celebrate the game victory with his most adoring fans.
“We are big Albert fans,” said John Voda. He attends the PFF Autumn Prom each year with his lovely daughter, Megan Voda. Megan, a Webster High School Graduate, now works at Bethesda and is attending Meramec College. Megan’s mom chose a gorgeous bouquet for her to carry, and she was wearing her fabulous new dress like a rock star! “She just loves coming to the prom with her dad.” The beaming smile Megan wore all night said it all.
“The food is my favorite part,” said Megan. Fazoli’s, Fitz’s, Papa John’s Pizza, McAllister’s Deli, Maui Wowi, Cold Stone Creamery, Andrea’s Gluten Free, and Russo’s Gourmet brought their “A” game that night, and the food was a huge hit!
This year, many guests traveled quite a distance to take part in the festivities. From the north and south, from Chicago to Spring Hill, prom-goers gathered dressed to impress and danced the night away. Leslie Ritz made the trek with her mom, Rochelle Ritz from Siloam Springs, Arkansas. “It’s a five-hour drive,” said Rochelle. “It’s Leslie’s senior year.” Leslie’s dress was a show-stopper, and she had fun on and off the dance floor.
Stephanie Toedte,17, wore a beautiful blue dress that gave Cinderella a run for her money. It’s the dress she wore last year when she was crowned Queen at her middle school coronation in Nashville, IL. “ She was excited to put on the dress again, get her hair ready… It’s exciting,” said her sister Melissa Toedte.
Fellowship with other families and friends is a huge part of what makes the event memorable. Moms and dads get to watch their kids have a wonderful time without a care in the world among family and friends that support them. John Voda lovingly reminisced, “My two other daughters, Megan’s sisters, can be too busy for dad now that they’re growing older. Megan is always happy to see me when I come home from work.”
The Lace Images photo booth was glitzy and ‘blinging’ as the memories of the special night were captured, and Balloons by Mike topped off the night with keepsakes of fun. But the biggest surprise of the night was a special guest appearance by Rally Squirrel! Prommers shrieked with delight and waited in line to have their pic snapped with the 2011 mascot.
Brittany Hite and Colleen Nesbit, both of St. Louis, were attending their first prom night. Brittany rocked an adorable pink and black dress, and Colleen kept us laughing in red with her precious halo of curls. “This is a great night,” said Brittany.
“This is amazing, it’s amazing. It’s more than I could have ever expected it to be. It’s really neat,” said Cheryl Crumrine who traveled from Bloomington, Illinois to bring her daughter Kristin.
And it truly was a magical night filled with many memorable moments.