BLOWING ROCK — The fourth annual Denim Ball on Aug. 22 brought the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation closer to its fundraising goal as more than $200,000 was raised to support continued restoration efforts at the Flat Top Manor and across the 3,500-acre grounds, the foundation announced Sept. 5.

For the first time, the Denim Ball took place on the manor grounds, which is part of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, managed by the National Park Service.

“It was only fitting to welcome guests to a celebration on the estate given their enduring commitment to its preservation,” stated Willa Mays, chief development officer for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “The evening was more than a fundraiser; it was truly a celebration of our donors.”

Over the last three years, the foundation has raised more than $3 million for extensive repairs to the manor house and grounds, with a total goal of $3.6 million. Due to the success of the Denim Ball, the foundation has now closed the funding gap to $400,000 for Cone projects.

Seated under a long white tent erected at the foot of the Colonial Revival-style mansion, guests enjoyed a buffet dinner by Gadabouts Catering and a spectacular view of Bass Lake and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee and Tracy Brown, Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority welcomed the guests. Karen Cucurullo, Southeast Deputy Regional Director with the National Park Service, congratulated the crowd for funding the newly installed fire suppression system for the historic house. Private donors matched funding from the National Park Service to cover the project’s costs.

After the meal, auctioneer Jenny Miller energized the crowd with live bidding. The crowd was invited to raise their paddles to pay for features of the home that need to be replaced, including columns, windows and balusters.

The night continued with dancing on the porch of Flat Top Manor to live music by Soul Benefactor. As dusk settled in, the 23 rooms of the mansion were set aglow for guests to admire.

The Denim Ball planning committee was instrumental in the success of the event. The members are Billie Brandon Howell, Johnathan Lehman, Deborah McDowell, Rob Mendel, Karen Robertson, Billie Rogers, Deatra and Charlie Sellers, Emily Stallings, Genie and Jerry Starnes, Janet and Bob Stout, Pam Vines and Rita White.

To learn more about the future of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and donate, visit

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