Crystal Ball to create “Wonderland”

The 15th annual Crystal Ball’s “Wonderland” is taking shape quickly for a fun evening of charitable fundraising for Northwest Mississippi. The gala assists the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi and the 400 local charitable programs that it helps.

Ticket sales for the Jan. 17 Crystal Ball have topped 800, heading toward another sell-out of 1,000. Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased at www.CFNM.org or 662.449.5002.

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to put together this wonderful event for our community. For us, the Community Foundation is the mainline to engaging and building up the world around us. When we were invited to volunteer for our first Crystal Ball we found a mainline to engaging the Community Foundation,” said Crystal Ball co-chairman Patrick Sanders. “My wife, Jennifer, and I guarantee that the evening will bring joy, surprises, and WONDER for everyone.”

Five-time Grammy award winner Marty Stuart will be honored with the annual Star of Hope award in recognition of his astonishing 40-year career as songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, photographer, and historian and in appreciation for his leadership in the country music field and his native state of Mississippi. Four local Community Stars will also be honored: Betty Jo Dulaney, William Pride, North Sunflower Medical Center and Hernando Optimist Club.

Dinner music will be provided by the Delta Blues Museum band that just played the White House as one of the nation’s 12 best youth community arts programs. Dance music until midnight will come from the MidSouth’s top DJ, Mark Anderson, who just played the Peabody Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Party.

The award-winning Memphis Barbecue Company will present a buffet dinner built around a Whole Hog, served World Championship Style, with eclectic surprises like a “Humpty Dumpty” area featuring Quiche Lorraine and Deviled Eggs with Black Truffle Vinaigrette and a Charcuterie board, accompanied by English Cheeses. Other entrees will include Mad Hatter Earl Grey marinated Chicken with Sweet Tea Vodka Sauce, Pecan Smoked Prime Rib, Marinated Pork Loin medallions with Red Queen Cabernet Sauce, and a Pasta station. The meal will be topped off with Tweedledee’s trifles of assorted dessert selection.

Live and silent auctions will offer items as diverse as a week in a 17th century villa in San Miguel, Mexico, a weekend in Florida’s sunny WaterColors community or a day in a canoe on the Mississippi River. There will be experiences like dinner with Morgan Freeman, a VIP weekend of music at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, or private dinner party for eight in the Binion Restaurant’s famed wine cellar. Auctioneer Jeff Morris will keep the bids rolling for charity.

Jimmy Gray Chevrolet and DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco will provide shuttles between party-goers’ cars and the Arena to ensure safety and comfort. Amurica photo trailers will be set up to provide everyone a complimentary photo keepsake of “Wonderland”.

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi is an independent not-for-profit 501.c.3 organization that serves 11 Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate and Tunica.  CFNM is governed by a board of 17 volunteer civic leaders and impacts the communities of Northwest Mississippi by connecting people who care with causes that matter. CFNM currently manages 150 donor-established funds and has distributed $13.9 million to support 420 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the Community Foundation.  The Foundation was established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation.  Learn more about the Community Foundation at www.cfnm.org.