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Tablescapes: Charity is served; Big Brothers Big Sisters benefits

A collectiitems Harbour ConstructiPlainfield will use for its construction-themed table Joliet's first Tablescapes decorating competitiluncheOct. 20.  |  Supplied

A collection of items Harbour Construction in Plainfield will use for its construction-themed table at Joliet's first Tablescapes decorating competition and luncheon Oct. 20. | Supplied photo

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What: Tablescapes: Designs to Change a Child’s Life

When: Oct. 20. Table set-up is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., judging is at 11:30 a.m., cocktails begin at noon, the luncheon starts at 1 p.m.

Where: Jacob Henry Mansion, Victorian Ballroom, 20 S. Eastern Ave., Joliet

Tickets: $600 for a round table seating 10. $75 admission for individuals.

Register: By Oct. 15 by visiting www.bbbswillgrundy.org/tablescapes

Contact: 815-723-2227

Updated: November 14, 2013 6:37AM



Nicole Puracchio of Channahon had never designed a themed table when her employer, Pat Harbour Jr., a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties in Joliet, asked Puracchio to create one for the organization’s first Tablescapes decorating competition and luncheon, to be held Oct. 20.

Puracchio, business development coordinator at Harbour Contractors in Plainfield, drew from her experience of planning 38 birthday parties over the years for her four children ­— three of whom are boys.

She concocted an interactive display that includes cone drinking glasses, tool pouches to hold silverware and napkins, a blueprint table runner, and a 24-by-18 construction zone centerpiece with a battery-powered remote-control dump truck.

“It probably won’t be the most elegant table,” Puracchio said, “but guests can get into the action by playing with the working construction tower.”

Although similar table-decorating events are popular in other communities, this is believed to be a first in the Joliet area, said Sue Pritz-Bornhofen, Tablescapes coordinator along with Joliet residents Lori Bergman and Sue Gulas. Pritz-Bornhofen also is co-owner of the Jacob Henry Mansion in Joliet, where Tablescapes will be held.

“The nice thing about this one is that it’s for kids,” Pritz-Bornhofen said. “There’s nothing better than committing your time and effort for them. If we can make a difference in a child’s life, well, that’s why we’re here.”

Any man, woman, business or organization can decorate a table, which will then seat 10 guests, Pritz-Bornhofen said. Teams may sit at their own tables or simply sponsor a table for another to embellish.

The fundraising contest will include a luncheon with entertainment by Richmond Punch, a violin virtuoso, graduate of The Julliard School and a former “Little Brother.” A panel of judges will award the prizes during Tablescapes but all guests may vote for the People’s Choice award, Pritz-Bornhofen said.

Tables in need of decorating still are available. Moreover, it’s not necessary to design a table in order to attend Tablescapes, organizers said. Simply buy an individual luncheon ticket.

Selected tables will be auctioned off, and anyone in attendance may bid on them, Pritz-Bornhofen said.

Stuck for ideas? Pritz-Bornhofen suggested several themes she has either used at the mansion or that have caught her eye at other places: “A Hole in One” (or any sports theme), casinos, auto racing, birthday surprise, “Springtime in Paris,” Easter bonnet, “The Great Gatsby,” anything Irish, “Downton Abbey” and Kentucky Derby.

The most important element in creating a successful table, Pritz-Bornhofen believes, is an imagination that is free to roam.

“I saw a Cinco de Mayo table with deep rich colors and a Victorian one full of beautiful silver and crystal,” Pritz-Bornhofen said. “We did an eco-friendly theme once and there was actually a potted tree in the center of the table.”

Lisa Morel Las, CEO, said money raised from Tablescapes will benefit the more than 65 children from single-parent homes waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister. It takes $1,000, Las said, to match one child with one mentor.

That’s why Jen Howard, a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors and owner of TCBY in Shorewood and Naperville, is decorating a table.

“You can’t go wrong when you’re helping a child,” Howard said.

During Halloween and Christmas — Howard’s favorite holidays — Howard has decorated her tables at home as part of the overall holiday schematics. Tablescapes, Howard said, is a bigger adventure, especially knowing her creative efforts will be judged.

“My table will basically center around witches,” Howard said. “I think anyone, from young parents to grandparents, can appreciate a whimsical Halloween theme.”

Guests can recreate Howard’s theme at home as most of her table items will be raffled off at Tablescapes.

“I’m enjoying putting it together,” Howard said. “I want others to enjoy it, too.”



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