For our 850 guests, the party begins on Saturday night. But for Las Patronas, the party starts on Sunday morning and lasts 365 days! And after a year of planning, we are ready to party.

Creating The BallFor the year leading up to the Ball, we offer no apologies for bad hair days or paint-splattered clothes. If you see us looking like we’ve fallen in a vat of glue and sawdust, you know we’ve been to “The Warehouse,” where we’ve been busily drawing, stenciling, painting, accenting, whitewashing, marbling, sponging, lettering, sawing, lifting, nailing, and moving – all to benefit Las Patronas’ carefully chosen and deserving San Diego County charities.Jewel Ball work week is when it all comes together – when we hit the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club running and the only racket on the tennis courts comes from the sound of power tools. Husbands and children are quickly enlisted to unload trucks from the Las Patronas warehouse and help put up the scenery that transforms the Beach Club into a fantasyland each year.

The heart of the operation is Ball Central, where we gather daily for our marching orders and sustenance, mainly in the form of caffeine, M&Ms and Tylenol. Centerpieces are assembled in the relative peace (and sub-zero climate) of La Sala. Plants are brought in, lights go up, tables and chairs are placed around the dance floor, napkins are folded, and the silverware is set.

Saturday afternoon finds us rushing to finalize every detail and then get home to complete an even more miraculous transformation as we go from grungy to glamorous, sometimes in less than half an hour!

For that whirlwind week, we share hard work and a few aching muscles, laughter and camaraderie, and an incredible sense of accomplishment when it all comes together on Saturday night. When you see us that evening, dancing until the last guest leaves, you’ll know that we had a rollicking good time. And that we can’t wait to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

studio m / michael spengler photography