The Conway Regional Women's Council announced the big raffle prizes for this year's annual Dazzle Daze event during the first ever Christmas in July event on Thursday at Conway Regional Medical Center.
Shelia Isby and MissE Newton are this year's co-chairs for the annual fundraiser, which gives the community a chance to come out to the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds and shop the dozens of merchant booths filled with Christmas-related items, home decor and more.
She said Thursday's event served as the kick off for Dazzle Daze, started the same year the council — which serves as an advocacy group and promotes women's health education and provides support for fundraising and volunteer services — was established, held for the first time in the Don Owen Sports Center.
"It's kind of hard to believe it started 18 years ago," Isby said. “It has expanded from Don Owen 18 years ago, and now [is] pretty much at full capacity in the expo center.”
The idea from the beginning, Isby told guests, has been to the money raised from the event to benefit women's health or health within the community. That's when she announced that this year's proceeds would go toward funding a 3D mammography machine, making Conway Regional the only provider with the technology in the five-county area it serves.
“It’s a lot of fun," she said. "We couldn’t do it without all the volunteers that we have, but the most important thing is that it does promote health here in our community and that is what Dazzle Daze and the women’s council is all about.”
The duo showed a video next and then, introduced a special guest.
"Do I hear bells," Newton asked the group, as Wayne Cox, dressed as Santa Clause, made his way into the room, donning his summer attire.
"You know, this is a special time of the year because it's Christmas in July," the jolly man said. “We are very very proud this year to present these different opportunities for everybody to participate in Dazzle Daze.”
The following are the 2019 raffle prizes:• Grand prize: 14 karat yellow gold diamond tennis bracelet set with 5 carat total weight valued at $9,000 from Lee Anne's Fine Jewelry. • Second prize: Spartan RT Pro 54" Zero Turn Mower valued at $6,500 from Moix, Etc. • Third prize: Winner's choice travel package, options including Costa Rica, Disney or a Sonoma wine tour valued around $5,000, compliments of the women's council. • Fourth prize: Louis Vuitton package, retail value of $2,000 from Braswell & Sons. • Fifth prize: Traeger Wood-Fired Grill, retail value of $1,000 from Moix Etc. • Sixth - 10th prize: $200 cash.
In total, 500 raffle tickets were available this year, but now only 499 after Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry bought the first one during the announcement ceremony.
“I’d like to thank the Conway Women’s Council for all that you do and everything you put back into Conway Regional," he said.
Castleberry added that he appreciates the partnership the city has with the health system as well.
This year's three-day shopping weekend will kick off with the Girls's Nite Out event, which sees around 700 guests, at 6 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets are $30 online and $40 at the door but Isby also made note of a new VIP addition to this year with the Ultimate Girls's Nite Out.
Limited to 100 tickets, each priced $100, online only:Early admission to Girls’s Nite Out through the VIP entrance – doors open to Ultimate GNO ticket holders at 5:30 p.m. for first look and shopping. Reserved swag bag – no waiting in line. Exclusive gift – only for Ultimate GNO ticket holders. Reserved coupon book – get great deals at Girls’s Nite Out. Friday and Saturday admission – shop all weekend. 12 Reindeer Raffle Tickets – enter to win great raffle items each valued at more than $250.
The new VIP bit isn't the only change to this year's event.
“We’ve definitely changed a lot of things with Dazzle Daze this year," Isby. "Our biggest thing has always been kind of our brand with the car.”
She said they wanted to mix it up this year.
“We felt like it was time to make a change," Isby said, mentioning their plan to change the entrance from elegant, Christmas-tree decor. "This year, we're going more with a Christmas market theme. The whole entire this is going to just take on a whole new dimension this year."
General admission tickets for general shopping are $7.50 online and $10 at the door, which opens 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 22 and 10-4 p.m. Nov. 23.
Those who want to get more involved also have the opportunity to do so.
"If you've never volunteered with us ... it's so much fun y'all," Newton told Thursday's guests. "That's how I got started in it, with volunteering, and I've never wanted to leave, since."
For more information, be sure to check out Dazzle Daze on Facebook, or visit www.bit.ly/2ybuwOO.