Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse to Honor Anna Forrester and Ballard Spahr LLP at Party in the Playground on May 20

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse will host its 15th annual adults-only Party in the Playground benefit on Saturday, May 20 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Held at Smith’s historic 16,000-square-foot Playhouse and 6.5-acre Playground in East Fairmount Park, the event raises funds to support Smith’s work, which includes welcoming over 200,000 visitors annually from every zip code in Philadelphia, and providing educational and advocacy programs that harness the power of play to help children, families, and communities thrive. 

This year’s Party in the Playground will present the 2023 Ida Newman Magic of Play Award to former board member and longtime Smith advocate Anna Forrester, along with Ballard Spahr LLP for their outstanding volunteer service at Smith. The night will be marked by food, games, music, and dancing. Guests will enjoy delicious food and popular food trucks. Drinks and sweets will be provided by Jack’s Firehouse, Yards Brewing Company, Moore Brothers Wine Company, Philadelphia Distilling, and more.

Party in the Playground will feature a live auction, led by emcee and auctioneer Jeff Hammond. Prize packages include an assorted basket of top local wines, a pizza-making master class, game tickets for professional Philadelphia sports teams,concert tickets to one of the best selling musical artists of all time, and gift cards to a slew of local businesses. To date, Smith has raised almost half of its $50,000 fundraising goal for Party in the Playground thanks to contributions from Kathy Ochroch and Peter Hilton-Kingdon, Blank Rome LLP, The Forrester/ Young Family, and other generous sponsors.

Tickets, sponsorship details, and a full list of sponsors can be found here.

Anna Forrester is an educator, award-winning children’s book author, and landscape consultant who has tirelessly promoted Smith’s mission for over a decade. A lifelong advocate for outdoor play and education, Anna is the principal of CityPlay, where she works with schools, institutions, and community-based organizations to develop unique urban spaces and non-traditional landscapes for children and families. She first joined the Board of Directors at Smith in 2012 and served as the Board Chair in 2021 and 2022. Anna has also served as a board member with the Fairmount Civic Association, the Fairmount Community Development Corporation, and the Philadelphia Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Ballard Spahr LLP has more than 650 attorneys across 15 offices nationwide. Philadelphia is the firm’s founding city and home to its largest office, representing clients in litigation, business and transactions, finance, real estate, and intellectual property. Ballard contributes more than 50,000 hours annually to pro bono service, ensuring that clients have a voice regardless of their ability to pay. The firm’s lawyers are encouraged to devote meaningful time to pro bono matters, including advocacy for fundamental human rights, veterans’ estate planning through Wills for Heroes, and representation of low-income families across the full spectrum of legal issues.

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park.  Founded in 1899, Smith welcomes over 180,000 visitors annually from more than 500 zip code areas.  The mission of Smith is to provide and promote opportunities for unstructured free play for children. Smith contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play.  For more information about Smith please visit  

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