Princesses gather for last year's Princess Party in White Rock.

Calling all princesses and princes

Sixth annual fundraising event teaches virtues of friendliness, community spirit and empathy.

What’s sure to be a day filled with beauty and magic will also include plenty of virtue, as the White Rock Princess Party returns this month.

Set for Aug. 22 at Star of the Sea Community Centre, the annual fundraiser promises a fairytale-like experience for little princesses and princes alike, according to organizer Myra Merkel.

“This year we are welcoming both Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, who are packing their trunks and heading to White Rock,” Merkel said of the characters from the popular Disney film, Frozen, set to make an appearance at the party.

The popular event – now in its sixth year – also includes crafts, cookie decorating, a cakewalk, face painting, prizes and a visit from Korki the Klown.

In addition to creating a magical, memorable experience for little ones who attend, Merkel said there is an emphasis on embracing the virtues of friendliness, community spirit and empathy.

“We wanted to raise the awareness in both the parents’ and children’s minds about practising these virtues in the home,” Merkel said, noting many of their activities – such as the courtesy cakewalk – are designed to include elements of respect and consideration.

The princess parties have steadily gained popularity since Merkel first launched the idea in 2010 as a way of raising funds to build an all-abilities park on White Rock’s waterfront.

Last month, Merkel and her son, firefighter Evan Bird, appealed to White Rock council for the city’s support of the park project. Council voted unanimously to endorse the project and work on finalizing a location.

Merkel said the princess parties have become a important event in the lives of not only the children who attend, but the many volunteers – including the White Rock Youth Ambassadors – who help make the special day a success.

She said seeing the young partygoers experience the magic of the party is “incredible.”

“It just reignites in all our volunteers the memories of when you were a little girl,” she said.

Tickets for the White Rock Princess Party are $31, which includes entry for one child and one adult. They can be bought online at www.wrprincessparty.com or at 15414 24 Ave. Children and parents from across Surrey and White Rock are welcome.

Merkel pointed out the age suggestions for the event – two to 10 for princesses and two to five for princes – are simply a guideline, and up to parents’ discretion.

While the event usually sells out each year, Merkel said there are plenty of tickets currently available for the party, which she promises will be both magical and meaningful for the young attendees.

“It’s not only about looking beautiful,” Merkel said. “It’s about making each child feel special, with the belief that their true beauty is from within.”