Tag Archives: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

The Ballroom at McKay Grand Opening Celebration


“Be Our Guest.”

That was the theme throughout a very special grand opening of Grand Rapids’ newest event space, The Ballroom at McKay, on Friday evening. Located on the second floor of the historic McKay Tower, and once home to Grand Rapids National Bank, the nearly 11,000-square-foot space has been beautifully restored into a world-class event venue. As you enter the ballroom, the first thing you will probably notice are the eight incredible twenty-four foot Doric columns, the beautiful chandeliers that sparkle throughout, and the original marble slab walls with gorgeous detail. The modular black lacquer bar features mirrored glass that compliments the mirrored glass on the upper walls.

On Friday evening, well over a hundred event professionals, city leaders, and friends of those involved were invited to get the first look at The Ballroom at McKay. Chaundra Derks, Director of Operations for Steadfast Holdings and McKay Tower welcomed everyone and thanked the architects and the many contractors who made the ballroom into what it is today. She introduced her father and owner of McKay Tower, Jonathan Borisch, who was elated at the results of the restoration project. He hopes that this space and the building are “a blessing to the city of Grand Rapids.”





Mayor George Heartwell was there as well and thanked the Borisch family for the “great gift” they have given to the residents of Grand Rapids. He remarked that it is projects like this in great cities like ours that attract bright, young, talented people to the area. The Ballroom Director, Alicia Caldecott, owner of A Day in May, Event Planning and Design in Traverse City, will oversee any events in the space. Caldecott talked about the many possible uses for the room, from weddings to social gatherings to fashion runway shows, and described the state-of-the-art audio/visual system that will accommodate a variety of technologies.



Beautifully designed tables by Jennifer Ederer of Modern Day Floral & Events; Caldecott’s firm, A Day in May, Event Planning and Design; and Jodi Bos of In Any Event showcased three very different concepts for table design in the ballroom, and there were beautiful place cards and menu cards featuring calligraphy from Lola Grace Calligraphy. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Applause Catering, Martha’s Catering, The Catering Company, and The Gilmore Collection—preferred providers of the venue—were on hand with delicious hors d’oeuvres, meats, cheeses, fruits, and of course desserts for the guests who walked through the space, in awe of its timeless beauty.

If you are interested in seeing the space for your special event, it is open by appointment only—call (616) 951-1078 or email info@theballroomatmckay.com.

They can’t wait for you to be their guest!


Legacy Luncheon + Legacy Ball 2013


February 22 & 23, 2013
By: Sparkly Stellafly
Photography Terry Johnston / Tim Motley

With the excitement of Oscar weekend, there is a lot of talk about red carpets, fabulous gowns, and glamorous parties. However, Grand Rapids had its own taste of a glamorous weekend with the Legacy Ball Luncheon held on Friday and the Legacy Ball on Saturday evening.

Jessica Ann Tyson began the Legacy Ball program in 2008 as an event to raise money for local nonprofits and student scholarships, recognize African American community leaders, and celebrate Black History Month. The Legacy Ball Luncheon is held the day before the Legacy Ball, and this year’s lunch event took place in the Gerald R. Ford Ballroom at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.







The Legacy Luncheon was a complete success—with a sold out crowd and featuring special guest Sophia Rochon, the 2013 Miss Black Michigan USA. Guests dined on a delicious southern-themed menu and the luncheon’s theme was Beauty and Brains: A Community Conversation. It was the perfect precursor to the following evening’s event, the Legacy Ball.

Saturday night was a beautiful snowy evening outside, and on the inside of the JW Marriott there was a celebration happening, the Legacy Ball. The night began with a VIP Reception and Celebrity Silent Auction, followed by a candlelight dinner honoring the Student Advancement Fund and William C. Abney Academy in Grand Rapids. Since its inception in 2008, the Legacy Ball has given away more than $20,000 to local nonprofit organizations and scholarship funds. This event has a great history of honoring African American elected officials, pastors, attorneys, and community leaders.












The Student Advancement Foundation raises funds for invests in the students and programs of Grand Rapids Public Schools. Since 1993, the foundation has raised over $8 million to support the areas of literacy, arts, math & science, environmental education, and physical wellness. The William C. Abney Academy opened in 1998 and is a tuition-free public school for children in grades K-7.

This year’s award ceremony and student scholarship program was led by Sophia Rochon, and the dinner menu was designed especially for this event by the Executive Chef at the JW Marriott. Also included in the evening’s program was a performance by international award-winning soprano Kearstin Piper Brown. Ms. Brown has performed all throughout the United States and around the world, including Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Israeli Opera.







The Legacy Ball is a fantastic event that Stellafly was proud to be there for the third consecutive year. Congratulations to Jessica Ann Tyson and all of those who were involved in planning this weekend’s festivities!

Events by Jessica Ann, LLC, is an award winning, full-service event planning firm established in 2003 that handles every aspect of special occasion coordination, from conception through execution. 

Events by Jessica Ann, LLC was awarded the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2008 Business of the Year, and was nominated for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber 2008 Small Business of the Year and Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce 2008 Minority Business of the Year.

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