Guests came in costume for the 17th annual Sapphire Ball, a “Venetian Masquerade,” held at the John S. Knight Center on Saturday evening.

Stilt walkers from Pickup-Stix greeted everyone and masks were provided for anyone who arrived unmasked. Eliana Antoniades chose a red mask to march her dress, and noted even the table centerpieces were adorned with masks.

Honorary chairs Tom and Ginny Knoll were happy to greet 800 costumed guests.

“It’s an exciting evening, and everyone is enjoying the theme,” Tom Knoll commented. 

Gino and Barbara Faciana were corporate committee chairs, and Roger Chafee and Michael Hughes served as physician chairs.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and conversation as entertainers circulated through the room. Robin Compton and Crystal Claar were fascinated with Billy Matsumoto’s juggling, while John Flower, known as the Mad Mountain Juggler, chose illuminated sapphire balls to juggle. Contortionist Sami Harper amazed the crowd with her agility, while nearby, Frank Ward sang an aria from "The Barber of Seville."

"Phantom of the Opera" masks were chosen by Joe Ridle and Michael French, and Kim Hendrickson, Fred Munkachy and Maureen Votypka added to the atmosphere with Venetian costumes. Gina Corso’s violin music had some folks dancing in the aisle.

Enjoying the entertainers were Jim Simon, Frances Seiberling Buckholzer, Dr. Tom and Mary Ann Jackson, Froncie Repetti, Bob Harp, Gena Drosos, Brian Fortney, Ernie and Bonnie Estep, Karen Budd and Steve and Julie Gorsuch.

Pickup-Stix came inside to escort everyone to dinner in the ballroom, decorated with a backdrop of scenes from Venice with giant masks all around the room. Wes and Kaylie Buchanan joined Bob Staneslaw and Carol Paulenske for dinner while the baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire played dinner music.

Following dinner, mistress of ceremonies Sara Shookman introduced Dr. Cliff Deveny, interim president and CEO at Summa. Deveny thanked sponsors and supporters and announced the ball had already raised more than $1 million for Summa Health Cardiovascular Services and other key clinical areas.

The evening concluded with dancing to the Motown music of Shout!