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Buzz around Benge's Turquoise Ball continues to build

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

As the Melissa Benge Turquoise Ball heads toward the homestretch, the buzz continues to build.

Approximately 40 tables have been sold for the fall's most glittering fundraiser. And, according to reports, individual ticket sales are still going strong.

The benefit Turquoise Ball will take place at the Mansfield Park Show Barn off Highway 16 North on Saturday, Oct. 20. Doors to this Texas-size soiree open at 6:30 pm and the evening includes New Mexico-style fine dining and Western Swing dancing to the fiddle music of Grammy winner Bobby Flores and the Yellow Rose Band. Live and silent auction are on tap throughout the evening.
Additionally, a juried art show will feature original artwork from local and national artists.

"Melissa has collaborated with all exhibiting artists and designers. It has been inspirational for her to see them embrace our cause and donate many signature designer pieces to the very special event," said K. Irene Stone, executive director of the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic. All proceeds from the Melissa Benge Turquoise Ball will benefit the local healthcare clinic's expansion project.

Even those unable to attend the "tapas and 'ritas" extravaganza have been generous contributors to the cause. At last count, donations have reached $7,500 - and probably more by the time this is published.

Original art for the live and silent actions continues to "pour in from artists," noted one volunteer.

Handcrafted items are being created especially for the occasion and donated to the auctions. Last week's offerings included a trio of handcrafted turquoise necklaces; a metal armadillo sculpture; four photographs from wildlife photographer Dr. Charles H. Williams, father of the Alkek Foundation President Charles A. Williams; a weekend stay at Flying A; and a $200 gift certificate from Cowboy Store.

Other fabulous items came in as well, but, as a spokesman noted, "We're keeping mum as a surprise. We'll just say they are 'awesome'!"

However, rumor has it some "old Navajo pawn" will also be available on the auction block.

Benge, driving force behind the Turquoise Ball, has received the bulk of the auction items from designers whose merchandise she features in her upscale shop, Gunslinger. "Many of the designers are purchasing tickets, too," the spokesman continued.

At last county, 35 sponsors signed up for the event, including Cowboys and Indians magazine and Western Art & Architecture. Publishers of both publications have donated $1,000 worth of magazines for distribution at the Turquoise Ball. "Please personally thank our local sponsors if you shop in their store or personally know them," urged the spokesman.

A limited number of tickets and tables are still available.

Individual tickets are $100; tables, $1000; VIP individual tickets, $150; and VIP tables, $1,500. VIP tickets and tables include special perks provided by Benge.

Additionally, affordable sponsorships are available at $50, $100 and $150 levels. For sponsorship information, call Benge at 459-867-3128 or Stone at 210-380-4308.

For more information on donations, submission of artwork or western items for the auction or ticket purchase, visit www.TurquoiseBall.com or stop by the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic, 1116 12th Street. Telephone is 830-796-3448. Tickets are also available at Gunslinger and Graceful on Cypress Street.