Crystal ball raises $75,000

April 30, 2001

Crystal ball raises $75,000


Nearly 300 people attended the Washington County Health System's annual Crystal Ball at Fountain Head Country Club Saturday night to raise money for the Child Advocacy Center.

The event is an opportunity for "every major business and hospital vendor to support a unique cause," sponsorship committee Chairman Robert Rankin said.

Everyone approached for donations supported this year's ball, he said.

Corporate donations, contributions from the business community, event program advertising revenues and ticket sales raised about $75,000 to help abused and neglected children, said Barry Nickelsberg, executive director of development, community relations and marketing for the health system.


A silent auction was expected to generate at least an additional $5,000, he said.

The $125-a-person gala had an Oriental theme.

The impressive turnout was a "remarkable testament" to the commitment of people in the community to support a worthy cause, said James P. Hamill, the health system's president and CEO.

He called the event's staging "absolutely spectacular."

Guests dressed in formal attire and Oriental fashions passed through a pagoda-styled gate to enter "The Imperial Garden."

They enjoyed cocktails and such appetizers as sushi and steamed dumplings while listening to the saxophone music of Warner Brothers recording artist Jaared Arosemena.

The main dish included petite filet of beef Szechwan and wasabi crab cakes.

Garbed in a kimono from her mother's native Japan, decorating committee chairwoman Sukey Rankin lauded the local florists and designers who donated their time and materials to create an Oriental atmosphere throughout the country club's dining and patio areas.

"All the designers were wonderful," Rankin said. "It was a group effort."

Decorative fans, origami and floral arrangements in the Japanese Ikebana style graced the centers of tables set with chopsticks and other Oriental ornamentation. An ornate wedding kimono, Japanese dolls, goldfish ice carving, Japanese screens and silk tapestries added to the flavor of the Orient.

Hagerstown residents Marjie Hobbs and Suzanne Mazzei fit right in.

Hobbs said she finally found the right event at which to wear the Mandarin-style turquoise colored silk dress she bought in Shanghai, China, five years ago. Mazzei found the brilliant red silk Mandarin dress she wore to the ball on the Internet, she said.

As souvenirs of the evening, some guests got their photographs snapped in front of a Japanese screen and floral arrangement. Others would take home Imperial Garden memories in the form of items bid upon at the silent auction.

Auctioned items included an Oriental rug, an Orioles baseball signed by Cal Ripken Jr., a fish pond, a saki set, a crystal bowl, a book about kimonos, a gold and pearl necklace, Baltimore Ravens skybox tickets, a bed and breakfast stay and a dinner for eight prepared by event chairman John Newby.

Next year's Crystal Ball will benefit Healthy Families Washington County.

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