Royal Children's Ball

DeKALB – Even at the age of 4, Eddie Turza of Cortland is a young man who knows what he wants.

“The first thing he decided was he was going to dress up as a knight,” his mother, Maggie Turza, laughed. “He loves everything knights and castles. The second thing he decided was that Maddy (Kane) be a princess. He made a date.”

The two best friends were among the estimated crowd of 600, many of whom dressed in medieval costumes, who attended the third annual Royal Children’s Ball Friday night at Altgeld Castle on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

According to board member Keri Nelson, the DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau hosts the annual gala, which includes dancing, music, raffles, crafts, an obstacle course, a magic show, balloons and hair styling.

“This is our signature fundraiser,” she said.

Noting that Kishwaukee Community Hospital is its biggest sponsor, executive director Jason Nicol said the idea for the ball grew out of the traditional daddy-daughter dance.

Like many others, Kay Coover of DeKalb said she and her daughter, Katherine, have attended the ball every year. This year, they went with Samantha Humes, 4, of McHenry.

Attending for the first time were Madigan and Avalon Rhode and Seara Backens of Rockford.

“The girls have been looking forward to this for weeks,” Teara Rhode said, adding that they heard about it from her husband, who works at NIU.

Another first timer was Riley Wadle, 5, of North Aurora, who dressed up as a wizard.

“We just decided to do it up,” his father, Jake Wadle, said.