Plans are now underway for the 2005 MDMC Benefit Ball, according to Nicole Cozean and Valerie Bollinger, co-chairs for this year's event. "The theme this year is Casablanca," Cozean said.
MDMC's benefit ball is held every other year in Sikeston to raise money for improvements at the hospital. The proceeds from the 2005 benefit ball will be used to purchase new state-of-the-art EKG management software for the cardiology department.
While the event is still several months away, an advance mailing goes out Friday with organizers looking to round up twice the usual number of suspects.
The advance mailing was tried for the first time on a smaller basis for the last benefit ball two years ago. "This year we're trying to expand on that," Cozean said. "Our goal is to get most of the money in by September 1."
In addition to businesses and community members in Sikeston, Charleston and East Prairie, those in New Madrid and Portageville will be contacted as well this time.
The ball is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. until midnight Oct. 29, the last Saturday of the month, and is once again being held at the Clinton Building at the Sikeston Sports Complex. The cost this year is $75 per person or $150 for a couple.
While the first 10 benefit balls held at the Sikeston Armory included a silent auction and sit-down dinner, this year's ball will again feature the more-
dynamic walk-around format which organizers tried for the first time with the 2003 benefit ball.
Dress will once again be formal, black tie optional.
With the success of the Monte Carlo benefit ball in 2003, those who attend can expect more of the same for this year's Casablanca ball.
Cozean said Trisha's Catering will provide heavy hors d'oeuvres to dine on while participants try their luck at full-sized authentic Las Vegas casino games including eight blackjack tables, two craps tables, one roulette wheel and 16 dealers.
Gaming begins at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary chips included in the ticket price and additional chips available for a donation. When the gaming is finished, a drawing for prizes will be held with chips won in games increasing the chance of winning prizes in drawings to be held later in the evening.
"Entice," the high-energy band from Shelbyville, Tenn., that provided musical entertainment for the 2003 hospital ball will be back to entertain with their selection of favorite dance songs from the '60s to the '90s, according to Cozean. The band will begin at 8 p.m. with dancing continuing until midnight.
For those who want to go the extra step in forming a beautiful friendship with the hospital and pay $125 per person or $225 for a couple, a Patron Party will be held Oct. 8 at the home of Jim and Kathy Hux. "So you get to go to two parties," Cozean said.
Underwriting packages also are available beginning with a "Paris, France" package that includes acknowledgment in the ball program for $25 to $99 and running all the way up to the "Casablanca, Morocco" package which provides recognition on the ball's promotional materials, a full-page acknowledgment in the ball program and 10 single Patron tickets to the ball for contributions of $15,000 or more.
Everyone is invited to attend - if you don't you might just regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon - so here's looking at you, kid.