An Affair of the Arts Returns to Palustris
With the Palustris Festival just around the corner, Tom and Mary Lou Bernett are announcing the return of An Affair of the Arts - Dinner, Dance and Cabaret, one of last year's most popular and successful Palustris events.
In fact, with more than 100 events in last year's arts festival, An Affair of the Arts -represented less than one percent of the -festival offerings, but with close to 500 people in attendance and more on the waiting list, the dinner dance event was responsible for nearly 10 percent of the total Palustris Festival attendance.
This year's Affair of the Arts will be held at the Pinehurst Fair Barn on Friday, March 25, and will again offer a sparkling, black tie evening of dining, dancing and entertainment.
The event was originally conceived by the Bernetts as a focal point for the inaugural year of the festival. They felt Palustris should have a public gala ball to provide a sense of community to a festival that is, by definition, scattered among dozens of venues around the region.
In reviewing last year, some small logistical changes have been made to help make the 2011 event even more enjoyable.
This year's dinner will feature a deluxe -buffet prepared by chef Chai Phasukkan of Table on the Green restaurant. Chef Chai is highly experienced at serving quality food to large groups of people. The buffet will ensure that food is fresh and hot for everyone.
Also, the buffet will be open for two hours to accommodate those who would prefer to enjoy socializing and dancing before having a later, more relaxed dinner. It is hoped that this extra time will prevent all the guests from -feeling a need to rush to the buffet at the start of the evening.
Due to increases in food costs, this year's banquet will require a $10 dinner surcharge added to the $25 admission, making the total event price $35 per person - still considered a remarkably good value for a black tie evening of food, dancing and entertainment.
Once again, a beer and wine cash bar will benefit the highly regarded "Adopt-a-Dancer" scholarship program of the Carolina Performing Arts Center in Southern Pines.
Another change is that last year's seating of 480 will be reduced to a maximum of 400 at this year's event for comfort and safety -reasons. Last year's ball was completely sold out more than two weeks prior to the -beginning of the arts festival and with the reduced seating, it is expected that this year's event will sell out even sooner.
Entertainment will again be anchored by Tom Bernett's popular Swing Street Band. The band is made up of some of the best -professional musicians in central Carolina and plays a cross-generational mix of dance music, with an emphasis on swing, big band classics and the great band singers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc. The band also plays popular examples of pop music from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s.
In addition to singer drummer Tom Bernett and the Swing Street Band, cabaret-style -entertainment will be -provided by such local luminaries as Moore County Director of Elections Glenda Clendenin and Moore Chamber President and CEO Patrick Coughlin, both of whom will be singing on stage with Swing Street.
Glenda Clendenin is returning for her second appearance with the band -following a very well-received performance in 2010, while the well-known Moore County Chamber President Patrick Coughlin will be making his big band singing debut.
"Glenda did a superb job last year and was very comfortable on stage with the band," says Bernett, "and Patrick's choice of songs promises to be a real crowd-pleaser."
Other entertainment will include senior tap dance troupe Alive and Clicking. The talented individual members of Swing Street will also contribute to the cabaret show with impersonations of great -performers from America's musical legacy, including Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley and Gene Krupa.
Billy "Bag O Donuts" Brown, of WIOZ radio, will be on hand to share some of the emcee duties and will also present two very nice door prizes provided by Heavenly Pines Jewelry and Gifts of Pinehurst.
The Bernett's co-sponsors for this year's gala ball are the Village of Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Department and Muirfield Broadcasting. Numerous local businesses are also signing on as supporting -advertisers.
"All in all, we're hoping to provide the community with another exciting dress-up event to help celebrate the Palustris Festival," says Mary Lou Bernett, director of the Alive and Clicking group and -administrator of the Carolina Performing Arts Center. "We hope everyone who enjoys music, entertainment, good food and good times will come out and join us."
All seats are reserved. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with buffet open from 6 to 8 p.m. Music and dancing begin at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets can be ordered by calling (910) 692-8839. Reservations are limited to the first 400 tickets sold.
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