CRESTVIEW — This year's Blue Jean Ball patrons will get a taste of Las Vegas — and a smattering of Bond, James Bond — when the doors to Covenant Hospice's annual fundraiser open Oct. 5.
Organizers hope the seventh annual ball's theme, "Casino Royale," conjures images of the elegant world of 007 shaken, not stirred, with the glitz and dazzle of America's casino capital.
Volunteer organizer Bonnie Grundel said the ball's fundraising goal is $25,000. Donation opportunities will include business sponsorships, supporting local celebrity dancers and a silent auction.
Named for Ian Fleming's first Bond book, which was subsequently made into a TV special and two films, "Casino Royale" will feature table games including roulette, craps, blackjack and poker.
As they enter the Crestview Community Center's elegantly decorated lobby, planned to evoke the swank casinos depicted in Bond movies, guests will receive $1,000 in play money.
"If Lady Luck isn't on their side, they can make a donation to Covenant Hospice for additional play money," Covenant Development Manager Jenni Perkins said.
Gambling "winnings" can't be cashed in for prizes or real money, Perkins said. "The reward will be having lots of fun benefiting Covenant Hospice and honing your skills for your next trip to a real casino."
'Dress up or dress down'
Coupled with its blue jean roots, the evening promises to be "a classy affair but comfortable," Grundel said. "Guests can dress up or they can dress down."
Attire runs the gamut from casually elegant to evening fancy, organizers said.
"We have people come in denim and cowboy boots, and people who come in sequins and jewelry or a mixture of everything," Perkins said. "Every year some people get into the theme and come in costume."
With a dessert bar and a menu of various types of tapas, food stations interspersed around the gambling tables should eliminate long lines for food, Grundel said.
"You play games and you eat and you wander around," she said.
A martini station sponsored by Helen Back of Crestview will let guests sample one of James Bond's favorite drinks.
Popular entertainment will include an encore performance by the "Crestview Village People" and "Dancing with the Crestview Stars," sponsored by the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
This year's dancers are Grundel, community volunteer Laura Chamberlain, Dr. James Stevens of 21st Century Oncology, and local Special Forces Association chapter president Steve Tuttle.
"Last year we raised more than $8,000 from the dancers alone, so this year we're going to try to beat that goal," Grundel said.
Want to go?
What: 7th Annual Blue Jean Ball benefiting Covenant Hospice, "Casino Royale" theme
When: 6 p.m. Oct. 5
Where: Crestview Community Center
Cost: $60 per person; includes dinner, dessert, two drink tickets and $1,000 in play money.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.