Our gal stalks fashionistas, Mrs. DJ Jazzy Jeff and mini-Chipwiches at Nordstromania, then finds a little more than child’s play happening at the Delaware Children’s Museum first anniversary bash.
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Night at the Children’s Museum
To view photos from this party, click here.
Someone just turned 1 year old, Wilmington: your very own Delaware Children’s Museum in the heart of the Riverfront. Of course, this particular bash was adults-only, a party theme a certain blond bombshell by the name of Donna Halakos definitely enforced. It was difficult not to notice Halakos: Her purple fitted dress clung just right, and she had enough bling going on that Gabby can only imagine she came straight from the Nordstrom jewelry cases. Halakos was a dancing machine with friends Jess Romero, keeping it classic in black with some killer heels; and Jennifer Steiner, all corkscrew-curls and lovely in a one-shouldered white silk dress with a statement-making purple-and-pink orchid print from—where else?—Nordstrom.
Speaking of smashing: cue Rick Deadwyler Jr., please. As soon as the DCM board member walked through the doors, a chorus of “Aww look at Ricky!” went up from various ladies in the room. Deadwyler, who’s been on the DCM board for three years, was as giddy as a kid in a candy store. “To be here to get the doors open, and now being here, celebrating a fantastic one year—that makes me very proud, and very happy,” he said. “I’m a Wilmingtonian, born and raised, so I focus a lot of my philanthropic and volunteer work around kids. What better way to help than on this board?” Deadwyler gave props to the community for coming together and getting the doors open. “Considering the difficult times over the past year or so, seeing how the Delaware community—families, individuals, corporate and philanthropic—came together and were so gracious and engaged … that’s a real accomplishment,” he said. His M.O. for the evening? “I plan to play like a kid.”
The museum patio was transformed into a gala space well fitting of any posh soiree. Local designers, artists and boutique owners outdid themselves by designing oversized, fantastical party hats available for auction. Gabby flipped for the “Inspiration Board” party hat designed by Trolleywood fashion artist Dallas Shaw and shutterbug Laura Novak (who, by the by, looked pretty picture perfect herself in a fresh, springy pink frock, natural makeup and minimal accessories). High above partygoers’ heads hung a magnificent lighted chandelier that Gabby was shocked to find out was handmade out of wax paper by a group of very dedicated moms who make up Mothers of the Museum. One of them was Nichelle DeWitt, who was enjoying a mom’s night out while husband Khary took care of the kids. “It took about 900 wax paper circles,” DeWitt says. Talk about arts and crafts hour. DeWitt, proud owner of an annual membership, is at the museum almost every other weekend. DeWitt’s husband co-chairs Dads at the DCM with Lt. Gov. Matt Denn.
Denn was one of many politicos in the crowd. Sen. Chris Coons was never without someone to gab with: Gabby swears the man didn’t get a moment to himself the whole night. And Sen. Tom Carper was in the house, too, and really stole the show with his keynote address to the crowd. “This is the place,” he told Gabby, “where 140,000 kids, and their parents and grandparents are going to come through these doors. They’ll be excited about math, science and engineering. We need more scientists, chemists, biologists, engineers, and this is the place that’s going to get them engaged at ages 3, 4 and 5.”
There was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment at the gala, and committee member Erin Ford Sicuranza put it most aptly. “My children are kind of ‘Riverfront Rats,’” she said. “They’re always down here for something or another: the museum, walking, outdoor concerts, and they love it. As a Wilmington native who grew up in the city, I watched failed attempts at revitalization down here my whole live. For my kids to be able to come down here to see it in their lifetime … it’s phenomenal. It gives me chills to be a part of something like this. It’s just a miracle what they’ve been able to pull off.” … Till next time, stay fabulous.