A night of glamour on the Falls Bridge in East Falls

For some, it was a last tango with summer.  For others, it was more of a tasteful transition to autumn. 

On Saturday night, the East Falls Development Corporation choreographed a night filled with music, dance and a makeover as it hosted its second annual Dance on the Falls Bridge event in East Falls. The festive dance, originally scheduled for last weekend, had been postponed because of thunderstorms.

Approximately 800 attendees gathered on the bridge under multihued lights to dance the night away to the sounds of Heath Allen’s Philly Musette. Instructors Kelly Ray and Leslie Mitchell of Dance Philadelphia led group dance lessons in Tango, Salsa and Jitterbug for enthusiastic newbies, while veteran students showed off some of their advanced moves.

This year the event featured a head-to-toe fall fashion makeover for one lucky lady. Andi Adams, an East Falls native who currently resides in the suburb of Flourtown, was the winner of the glamourous transformation.

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“I feel so special. This is fabulous!” the belle-of-the-ball exclaimed as she arrived with her family and friends.

Adams received the makeover courtesy of East Falls fashion boutique, Couture At Your Door (CAYD), run by sisters Carmen and Tia Ellis. Carmen Ellis said CAYD approached EFDC with the idea as a way to give something back to the community.

Adams was nominated for a makeover on CAYD’s Facebook page by her daughters, Lizzie Charlick Bray and Sarah Charlick. Bray submitted a photo of her mother in typical attire – dressed in a baggy, red sweatshirt, green sweatpants and wearing socks with sandals. Adams’ family says she is well known for her inattention to fashion. Her wardrobe staples are Crocs – the foam resin clogs – which Adams has in all colors, “even furry!” her daughter Bray attested.

A ‘selfless’ woman with a ‘heart of gold’ 

However, there was another important reason Bray and her sister chose to nominate their mom. They wanted Adams, a woman who does so much for everybody but herself, to have some pampering of her own. 

“She deserves it!” declared Bray.

Bray explained that their family has been awash in troubles over the past year. Her father – Adams’ husband – has been contending with serious medical issues. One of his legs was amputated last summer and he also had a shoulder replacement this spring. And there were the floods – three in total. Hurricane Irene brought 22 inches of flood waters into their home just after the amputation and was soon followed by another 24 inch flood. Then Tropical Storm Lee brought 38 inches of water into their family room.

In the last year, “my mom has been the man and the woman in our family,” Bray shared. Each storm was borne without complaint as Adams continued to hold down her full-time job as a computer programmer while being the primary caregiver for her ailing spouse.  

“Andi is selfless. She has a heart of gold,” commented long-time friend Helene Masiko, who has known Adams since their grammar school days at the former St. Bridget School in East Falls. Masiko and another childhood friend, Jeane Bryson both accompanied Adams to her makeover as “her entourage.” Masiko recounted the numerous occasions Adams made time to help out in her career as a Cher impersonator which has sometimes involved travels out of state and being up until the early hours of the morning.

“She helps out until 2 a.m. and then gets up for work at 6 a.m.” Masiko noted.

Always thinking of others and putting her own needs last comes naturally to Adams. It was evident when on her own special day, she was the one holding open the salon doors for the other women.

Bray said Adams even attempted to pay for her gratis makeover experience, because she feels so strongly about supporting local business owners.

A well-deserved treat

When the transformation was complete, Adams came away with a new funky coiffure, expert makeup and a trendy fashion ensemble that included a chic outfit, pink high heel pumps, jewelry and a stylish wrap.

“It’s been just a wild year, so this is a treat,” Adams exclaimed. “A whole day to relax and play and get me pretty.”

Later at the dance, Adams, her family, friends and style crew from CYAD anxiously waited for her big moment. It was supposed to happen early in the evening with a video montage of before and after images, but got pushed back until the night was nearly half over. Adams patiently sat at a table, smiling and without a grumble, not wanting to muss up her new look before it could be revealed.

In the end, attendees might not have fully appreciated the dramatic change. The reveal came without a visual of what Adams looked like before the makeover.

Afterwards, Adams exchanged her new pumps for some old, but sparkly, sandals to join the rollicking party and finally get her dance on.

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