Chef Tommy Fitzgerald, the man behind the creation of Juice Ball last year, definitely out did himself this year. The "Big Top Juice Ball 2011" doubled attendance, and more importantly, raised enough money to buy 244,000 juice boxes for Kids Food Basket. 2,500 Juice Ball revelers in "circus" theme costumes started arriving at the JW at 7PM. The
hotel had anticipated about 1,500 guests, but by 8PM, it was for certain that this year's party would have set new records.
The filming of the Food Network's Ice Brigade show during the party also elevated the event to stratosphere status.
Kids Food Basket is a local non-profit with a mission of feeding over 3,300 underprivileged children everyday with sack suppers. The juice box is the most expensive part of the nutritious meal volunteers pack each day. This party, has transformed fund raising events in Grand Rapids into a whole different mind set by giving the guests the opportunity to really let loose while raising funds. There are a lot of local volunteer leaders that helped make this event happen and the JW Marriott couldn't have pulled this event alone. Big thanks go to Bridget Clark Whitney from KFB and the rest of her team. Also, Kelly Boos, Jimmy Le, Phil Weaver, Todd Ernst, Scott Erickson, Chad Leroux to name a few of the behind the scenes heroes of this event. This party wouldn't have been possible without the help of the many sponsors including AudioSpace and Mini of Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids bands such as Hip Pocket and Bimini Brothers performed to a packed ballroom. DJ Super Dre and Jim Thias did the same, and by the end of the evening, you can certainly call this party a smashing success.