On Thursday, Aug. 22, after a day of severe thunderstorms and rain, the sun emerged from behind the clouds to shine on the 4th annual Denim Ball, this year taking place at the Moses Cone Flat Top Manor in Blowing Rock for the first time.
Blowing Rock’s mayor, Charlie Sellers, says that he remembers riding horses on the property when he was a child, and he can’t wait for the manor’s restoration to be completed.
“It brings us visitors from all over,” he said, noting that tourists from Europe and Asia often come to the Blue Ridge Parkway. “It’s an international destination that keeps Blowing Rock on the map.”
A silent auction included items such as framed art, prints on metal and glass, a gift set from Footsloggers and outdoor lounge chairs.
Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, opened the event’s program by saying that $3 million of the $3.6 million goal had already been raised for the renovation of Flat Top Manor.
“We only have $600,000 to go, and this time next year, you’re going to see scaffolding, you’re going to see complete renovation of this historic manor house,” Ward said.
Tracy Brown, executive director of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority, welcomed and thanked attendees for supporting such an important part of Blowing Rock’s economy. Flat Top Manor and the Blue Ridge Parkway is worth tens of millions of dollars to Blowing Rock each year, Brown said.
“We would not be here on this estate, having this event tonight without the hard work of all of those around here in gray and green. Because of their effort and work and determination, this event was possible, and I can not thank them enough,” Ward said.
J.D. Lee, superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, echoed Ward’s admiration of the park rangers that keep the Blue Ridge Parkway going by saying, “green and gray runs through my blood, and I just want to say thank you to y’all. You guys have done a great job, and I really appreciate it.”
Lee was followed by Karen Cucurullo, deputy regional director with the Southeast Regional Office, who announced that the indoor fire prevention system in the manor is fully installed and functional. The inside has been renovated, and it’s time for the outside to get the same treatment, Curcurullo said.
Attendees were then tasked with “building a house” by Jenny Miller, who auctioned off items such as columns, windows, doors and balusters that will become a part of Flat Top Manor as construction moves from the inside to the outside of the historical Blue Ridge Parkway monument. During the auction, anonymous donors raised a grand total of $72,000 on columns alone, which were the most expensive item at $14,000 each.
At the end of the night, guests left the property by the glowing lights inside of Moses Cone’s Flat Top Manor that were shining for the first time in decades.