Thunder, lightning, strong winds and heavy rain ended the opening of the annual festival 2010 of “Life Ball” in Vienna in a few moments. “Gehen Sie nach Hause – “Go back home, we have information that the wind speed will exceed 120 kmh” the security men addressed the attendants and participants at the opening of the “Life Ball”, the largest fashion event of the Viennese society in summer, which is held yearly at the Rathausplatz before the Vienna City Hall. This year the collected money will go to the HIV/AIDS research and prevention programs of amfAR. Other parts of Austria were also affected by storms. In Tirol, the water damaged large areas of agricultural lands, in Innsbruck the city center was flooded, in Steiermark a man died by lightning, in the north the railway was interrupted. (To see more Photos Click here).
This year 2010 the Life ball event was a special one, the celebrators dressed in very elegant outfits, lots of beautiful flowers were carried. The event was held in several places: in the town hall, in Burgtheater, and the Red Ribbon Cotillion and the amfAR gala took place in the Parliament. Famous people and stars from different countries took part in the event, among them was the Ex-US President Bill Clinton accompanied by a veritable army of security men and the US Star “Dita von Teese”. Guest stars were Whoopi Goldberg, the Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit, the city major Michael Häupl and his Berlin counterpart Klaus Wowereit, ex-tennis star Boris Becker and his wife Lilly, and Diane von Fürstenberg.
Before the storm started, the weather was very hot, about 34 degrees. A series of music and dance performances by international artists were displayed in front of the municipality of Vienna. A representative show with pairs walking on the stairs on the red carpet wearing white dresses was set in scene by Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer, owner of a dancing school. Thousands of visitors saw the show of the opening event; among them were singers, famous politicians, models, ambassadors and other foreigners who came from all over the world to see and to take part in the event.
The fashion show highlight of the Life Ball Opening fell under the water. A number of models and celebrities, including the last two winners of the Heidi-Klum-Model Show from Germany, Sara Nuru, the Austrian Alisar Ailabouni and Liliana Matthew, the wife of ex-footballer “Lothar” with creations by Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein and Diane Furstenberg.
The actual opening of the Life Ball was held by the Vienna Major Michael Häupl and his Berlin counterpart Klaus Wowereit. The joy of the visitors and guests of Life Ball did not last long. The rain started when Whoopi Goldberg got out to a huge globe at 21:30 in the evening and dashed the program and the wishes and hopes of the celebrators. The program was abandoned, and Bill Clinton left the ball just after the opening was canceled. The makeup and the elaborate and expensive dresses of the participants were damaged by the rain, the fashion dresses were covered with pink plastic bags (pink is the symbol color of gays) and all of the guests fled immediately into the hall and into the Burgtheater and Landtmann Coffee on the other side of the street.
“The safeties of our guests have first priority” said Doris Pommerening, the spokesperson of Life ball while asking people to evacuate the front of the city Hall. Everybody was seen running while holding umbrellas or wearing rosy plastic bags over their dress. I also put a plastic bag on me and stood picturing the end of the opening at the city hall square, but the security came and warned me, saying that for my security I should go back home before the bad weather and the winds become stronger. The security continued telling everybody to return home.
The thunders were very loud and scary and the rain fall without end, the people evacuated the area very quickly, the multitude dissolved like salt in water! The storm, rain and thunder continued for all the night, and so did the party, which according to reports lasted until the morning.
The Life Ball coincides with the AIDS Conference in Vienna Messegelände this year, which starts on Sunday July 18, one day after the event. Barbara Prammer, the President of the Austrian Parliament, opened a charity event amfAR Gala Vienna as part of the “Life Ball”. The guests of honor of this charity were the American actress Whoopi Goldberg and Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer. Since 1993 the Life Ball in Vienna is one of the biggest annual AIDS charity events worldwide. It has contributed to take the taboo out of the topic AIDS in the society.
Best wishes to the Life Ball event and it’s charity program, and best of luck to the celebrators of the event next year.