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Princess and Pirate Party

Party is an annual fundraiser for family grief camp

— Little boys ran around on Saturday wielding swords and bearing names like, “Red Eddie Byrd,” while girls ate dainty finger food in their poofy princess gowns – and it was all for a good cause.

Disney princesses and beloved pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” welcomed dozens of children to the Princess and Pirate Party, a fundraiser for Parker’s Place camp.

About $3,400 was raised through the evening dinner and auction. Organizer Sarah Brown said on Monday that she hadn’t yet calculated what was raised from the party. About 20 boys and 40 girls attended.

Pirates were new to this year’s party at the Old Flour Mill.

“I think the pirate party was a huge success,” volunteer Amie Meese said. In the years before, boys who came to the princess party would sit around looking bored, she said.

“The pirate party was lots of fun,” Josh Brown said. “The little kids actually thought I was Capt. Jack Sparrow.”

Brown donned eyeliner and a swashbuckler’s outfit for his role, speaking to children in a gravelly voice and doling out high fives during games, which included walking the plank and climbing a rock wall.

Meanwhile, the third annual princess party featured songs and crafts with local volunteers dressed as Aladdin, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Merida from “Brave” and others. Girls sat patiently to have their makeup done like royalty, while others assembled tiny castles and had tea parties.

Local volunteers and businesses donated about 50 pounds of chicken and countless desserts for the auction and dinner, Sarah Brown said.

“Everyone thought the dinner was fabulous,” she said. “I’m amazed by the donations the community donated.”

“It’s a cause close to our hearts,” Meese, a friend of the Brown family, said. “We just like to see this grow and grow every year…. I know it brings their family closer together too, and after their loss it’s a huge thing.”

Parker’s Place was founded in 2011 to help bereaved families following the death of a child. It’s named for 8-year-old Parker Brown, who died of leukemia in December 2009.

His parents, Sarah and Josh Brown, started the camp. This year’s camp was in June in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and drew 46 campers that included local families.

The money raised helps pay for families to attend the camp. This year’s event brought in half of what was raised last year, but Sarah Brown chalked it up to having the event the week before school starts.

It is usually hosted in the spring.

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