Tenth annual ball set for Saturday

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Firefighters are holding a ball this week, but unlike Cinderella’s, attendees can come in jeans, and the profits go to a worthy cause.

The 10th annual Firefighters Ball will be held Friday at the Natchez Convention Center from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Each year, the Natchez Firefighters Association votes to decide which nonprofit organization will get the donation from ticket sales.

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This year, it’s the Sunshine Children’s Center, Ball Chairman Earl McCullen said.

“We try to keep it local,” McCullen said. “We put our heads together, and whatever we come up with, that’s our goal.”

Along with the Sunshine Center, the Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross will get a portion of the proceeds, too. The Red Cross has become a donation staple for the firefighters association, McCullen said.

“For the past few years, half has gone to the local chapter for people who get burned out. They put them in a hotel and give them food and clothes,” he said. “They do things for people who have a fire and don’t have anywhere to go.”

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, but unlike other balls in town, this one doesn’t have a dress code.

“It’s a casual ball,” McCullen said. “We decided that after Mardi Gras balls and the others, we decided we wanted something where people could loosen up a little, let their hair down after all those tuxedos and relax.”

McCullen said he has seen people show up in everything from formal to laid-back attire.

“We have T-shirts and jeans and tuxedos and everything in between,” he said. “We have it all.”

Those interested can buy tickets from any fire station.

Sponsorships are still being accepted, too, he said. Sponsor donations, in which someone donates $200, help pay for the event. That way, all the money from ticket sales goes directly to the charities.

And overall, the event is a fun time for a good cause, McCullen said.

“We’re most proud of being able to give back to the community,” he said. “I look forward to doing it every year.”