More than 200 guests attended The Denim Ball on Thursday, Sept. 15, at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, N.C. The event surpassed its previous fundraising record, garnering $240,000 in support for continuing improvements at Moses and Bertha Cone’s former 3,500-acre estate.
“It was truly special to share an evening with so many people who cherish the estate and recognize that its future can hold so much more,” said Jordan Calaway, Chief Development Officer for the Foundation. “Their outstanding commitment means we can continue a strong tradition of stewardship for this Parkway gem.”
The renovated exterior of Flat Top Manor served as the backdrop for the festivities hosted on the front lawn of the majestic circa-1901 home perched on a hill overlooking Bass Lake. The rehabilitation, completed late last year, included the replacement and restoration of columns, clapboard siding, woodwork, windows, balusters, and more on the 23-room house.
Guests mingled on the front lawn, took in views of the estate’s rolling hills, and placed bids in a silent auction before enjoying dinner and a live auction.
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward welcomed the crowd by pointing out the estate’s connection to the community. “Many people visit Yosemite or Yellowstone national parks once in their lives, but the Parkway and this estate are in our backyard; they are a part of the place we call home,” she said.
Bob Stout, vice chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees, and Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout offered a special thanks to guests for their dedication to the care of the landmark site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The live auction led by auctioneer Jenny Koehn included beach and mountain getaways and fly-fishing and biking adventures. As the light faded, attendees danced on the front porch to the music of Soul Benefactor.
This year, the Foundation is marking its 25th anniversary. Since its inception, the nonprofit has worked with donors and the National Park Service to invest in the preservation of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, including successfully nominating the estate for the National Register of Historic Places. Past funding supported the construction of restrooms at Bass Lake, trail repairs, educational programs, and more.
The premier sponsor of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations is First Citizens Bank. The Denim Ball was sponsored by The Rosemyr Corporation, Modern Automotive of Boone, Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation, Booneshine Brewing Co., Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Sunset & Vine, and Blue Ridge Mountain Club.
We are so grateful to the sponsors and those who donated items for the live and silent auctions. See a complete list of auction donors.
Click on the images below to view the gallery of photographs by Lonnie Webster.