Denim Ball raises nearly $200,000 for Moses H. Cone Memorial Park 

Photo by Lonnie Webster


Ellie Osborne, Steve Osborne, and Michael Petroline at The Denim Ball on Sept. 7 at the Perry Car Barn. Ellie Osborne, Steve Osborne, and Michael Petroline at The Denim Ball on Sept. 7 at the Perry Car Barn. Photo by Lonnie Webster.
September 13, 2023

Decked out in denim attire, more than 200 guests admired a unique collection of vintage cars as they celebrated the sixth annual Denim Ball on Sept. 7 at the Perry Car Barn in Blowing Rock. The sold-out event raised nearly $200,000 to fund continued improvements at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park through the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

“We are so grateful for a wonderful venue, generous sponsors, and a delightful group of guests who support this iconic and cherished place,” said Jordan Calaway, Chief Development Officer for the Foundation. 

View a gallery of event photos.

The evening highlighted a deep commitment to protecting and enhancing the former country estate of Moses and Bertha Cone, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bob Stout, chair of the nonprofit’s board of trustees, kicked off the evening by welcoming guests to the Car Barn. Host Chip Perry shared an overview of his extensive vintage car collection that includes pristine Porsches, Volkswagens, MGs, and more.

The Matt Kendrick Trio played jazzy tunes on the mezzanine while guests mingled and enjoyed delicious fare from The Best Cellar restaurant. 

Jess and Kenneth Wehrmann at The Denim Ball. Photograph by Lonnie Webster.Tracy Brown with the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority spoke to the crowd and highlighted the town’s support for the event and estate. Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward and Neal Labrie, the Parkway’s Acting Assistant Superintendent, expressed their gratitude to the guests.

“Thank you for being here tonight to help raise critical funds in support of a forever future for the Cone estate,” Ward said, before leading the live auction.

Guests bid on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hendrick Motorsports Heritage Center, a guided fly-fishing adventure with author Sam R. Johnson, tickets to Nashville’s CMA Fest furnished by the Country Music Association, a getaway to Atlantic Beach, N.C., provided by Leslie Eason, and a private cocktail party. 

An anonymous gift was offered as a match for any gifts up to a total of $55,000, and inspired donors to give generously to support the Cone estate. 

Donations from the evening and proceeds from ticket sales will fund projects at the 3,500-acre park, including the construction of an ADA-compliant ramp at Bass Lake to allow greater access to a popular loop trail.

The Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority was the event’s exclusive Denim King sponsor. The evening was also made possible thanks to The Rosemyr Corporation, Mast General Store, Modern Automotive of Boone, Forever Mountain LLC, Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Blowing Rock Brewing, Booneshine Brewing Co., Pepsi, and Sunset & Vine.

The members of the Denim Ball planning committee were Cathy Barker, Ken Carpenter, Marilyn Green, Billie Brandon Howell, Jonathan Lehman, Deatra Sellers, Bob and Janet Stout, Genie and Jerry Starnes, Rita White, and Joyce Zellner.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park was owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses, an American captain of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who with his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South.

Moses was not only a successful entrepreneur, he was an inquisitive farmer who experimented with agriculture and designed and built one of America’s most beautiful country estates. Beginning in 1897, he meticulously crafted an impressive retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, orchards, fields, and forests. 

Before his untimely death in 1908, Moses constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain retreat. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for 40 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1949. 

To make a donation in support of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, give here.

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