Blue Jeans & Ball Gowns, the signature fundraiser of East Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, returned to a welcoming crowd April 10 after the 2020 event was canceled at the last minute because of COVID-19.
“We had a really good turnout,” said Executive Director Karen Holt. Canceling the previous year’s event was “tough,” she said, because the event raises quite a bit of money for the nonprofit organizations. Court Appointed Special Advocates are appointed to assist children in the foster care system. Volunteers are trained to “represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system,” information on the CASA website says.
The organization capped attendance at 75% capacity of Maude Cobb Convention Center, where the dance competition was held. That helped provide social distancing, with 750 people in attendance, Holt said.
“Everyone was just absolutely thrilled to be attending this event this year,” she said.
Seven teams performed, along with other signature acts. In total, the event, which included a wine pull and silent auction, raised about $68,000. The event raised $82,000 in 2019.
“Our dancers were fantastic,” Holt said, explaining that CASA “paused” the event for a year in 2020 and produced the show that had been planned at that time, with a theme of “Under the Big Top.”
Hospitality Health, a freestanding emergency room, provided custom masks for people in attendance. Perfect Catering oversaw the food, and the Pine Tree ISD culinary arts program made 800 circus-themed cupcakes for dessert.
Performances and winners were:
The Ringleaders: McKenna Vogel Airhart with The Dance Studio Longview Posse
The Understudies: Missy Cain and Chabliss Sanchez
The Pirates: Kayla Bonina with Darcee Ivey, Judy Minter-Robinson and Nikki Williams
The Clowns: Pam Andrews, Rolf Kotulla and Shawna Westervelt
Diva: Judge Donna Blalock-Habinc and Steven Collins
Newbies: Allyson Bailey and Wally Rhymes
Mimes: Kelee Norris, Nadia Threadgill and Priscilla Rios
Online Vote: The Clowns Featuring Pam Andrews, Rolf Kotulla and Shawna Westervelt
Most Technical: Diva Featuring Judge Donna Blalock-Habinc and Steven Collins
Audience Favorite: Diva Featuring Judge Donna Blalock-Habinc and Steven Collins
Best Comedy: Featuring Pam Andrews, Rolf Kotulla and Shawna Westervelt