Ice on Ice

An­nual soiree cel­e­brates the sea­son

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Front Page -

22

The Ar­ling­ton Re­sort Ho­tel & Spa and Lau­ray's prom­ise the sev­enth an­nual Ice on Ice ben­e­fit will daz­zle party go­ers.

Seven is a lucky roll of the dice, which should bode well for the sev­enth an­nual Ice on Ice ben­e­fit on Dec. 4, but based on the event's past suc­cesses since its premiere in 2008 the or­ga­niz­ers have lit­tle to worry about.

“It gets big­ger and big­ger each year,” said Betsy Atkins, events di­rec­tor for The Greater Hot Springs Cham­ber of Com­merce, which hosts the glit­ter­ing gala in the Ar­ling­ton Re­sort Ho­tel and Spa's Ball­room which as al­ways will be trans­formed into an “ice palace” filled with di­a­monds from Lau­ray's The Di­a­mond Cen­ter.

“We haven't had one yet that didn't sell out,” she said, not­ing tick­ets are on sale now and “they will go quick” since there will only be 400 is­sued.

Tick­ets are $32 per per­son which in­cludes en­trance to the event, fea­tur­ing lots of free food and mu­sic, and one sig­na­ture mar­tini drink with each one con­tain­ing a shiny and po­ten­tially prof­itable lit­tle ex­tra hid­den in the drink's ice cubes.

Lau­ray's is pro­vid­ing 800 cu­bic zir­co­nias and four half-carat di­a­monds, ap­prox­i­mately 5mm in di­am­e­ter, which will be dis­trib­uted among the drinks. The di­a­monds could range in worth from $1,000 to $1,500 or even $2,000 re­tail, de­pend­ing on the cut and qual­ity of the di­a­mond, Mark Fleis­chner, owner of Lau­ray's, said.

He noted Lau­ray's will have staff mem­bers on hand to eval­u­ate and ap­praise the stones to de­ter­mine what peo­ple have won and what they might be worth.

“Some of the women walk up with the stones in their mouths,” he said. “It's a lot of fun.”

Asked if they ever had any mishaps, Fleis­chner said they did have one time, about two years ago, where they came up one stone short. “I don't know if some­one ac­ci­den­tally swal­lowed it or just didn't want it and tossed it,” he said. “That was the only time I can re­mem­ber. ”

Ad­di­tional sig­na­ture drinks and chances to win can be pur­chased for $8 each and “you can have as many as you want,” Atkins said. “Some peo­ple have sev­eral.”

Which is why the Ar­ling­ton also of­fers a pack­age deal which in­cludes the price of ad­mis­sion and a room for the night at the ho­tel. “It's the Take the El­e­va­tor Home pack­age,” she said. “It's to dis­cour­age any­one from drink­ing and driv­ing.”

En­ter­tain­ment will once again be pro­vided by the Larry Wo­mack Band, which Atkins noted plays jazz and blues and “pretty much any­thing any­one wants to hear” as the evening pro­gresses.

“They're a great band,” Fleis­chner said. “Ev­ery­one re­ally en­joys them.”

The Ar­ling­ton and gen­eral man­ager Bob Mar­torana “re­ally puts on the dog,” he said, not­ing they will have “mar­velous hors d'oeu­vres” and there will be a cash bar pro­vid­ing any other li­ba­tions some­one might de­sire.

“We give a lot but they give more,” he said. “They do an in­cred­i­ble job.”

Atkins said there will be four food sta­tions with spec­tac­u­lar ice

sculp­tures at each sta­tion and they will be sell­ing the ice blocks to in­ter­ested spon­sors for $450. Lo­cal busi­nesses can have their company or business logo in­cor­po­rated into the sculp­ture. “They are re­ally fan­tas­tic,” she said.

Fleis­chner said the whole “Ice on Ice” con­cept was first pre­sented to him by Jackie Ar­ri­son, for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer for the cham­ber, and a disc jockey at KLAZ who had done some­thing sim­i­lar with a ra­dio sta­tion he was at in Florida.

“They told me about it and I thought `This rocks!',” he said. “Par­don the pun.”

Fleis­chner spec­u­lated the event has been so popular be­cause “it's the first big party of the hol­i­day sea­son,” not­ing, “Ev­ery­one is in re­ally good spir­its. It's just a great night for ev­ery­one.”

Pro­ceeds from this year's event will go to help the Project Hope Food Bank which Fleis­chner noted he be­came aware of through Matt Fuller, chef/owner of Cen­tral Park Fu­sion Cui­sine, who had helped or­ga­nize another fundrais­ing event for the char­ity with Lau­ray's.

The food bank pro­vides food to Jack­son House and Pot­ter's Clay and other or­ga­ni­za­tions in the city and area.

“Ev­ery year we try to find a re­ally good cause and right now it seems there are a lot of hun­gry peo­ple,” he said.

“I've seen a lot more peo­ple on the streets of Hot Springs than I ever have be­fore. It's in­cred­i­bly sad.”

He noted last year's event which ben­e­fited Our Prom­ise can­cer re­search was one of their most suc­cess­ful.

Pre­vi­ous events have ben­e­fited First Step School, Oua­chita Chil­dren's Cen­ter, the Co­op­er­a­tive Christian Min­istries and Clinic, and many oth­ers, Atkins said, not­ing they choose from the non-profit mem­bers of the Cham­ber.

She said they make a point to choose a dif­fer­ent ben­e­fi­ciary each year and noted, “This is the first year we've had non­prof­its ask­ing us about it. In com­ing years, we may have to use an ap­pli­ca­tion process.”

The event is limited to 400 peo­ple be­cause the ball­room “can only hold so many peo­ple,” Fleis­chner said. “We've con­sid­ered mov­ing it to a big­ger room, but I worry you would lose the am­bi­ence the ball­room of­fers.”

The event is for­mal, but Fleis­chner stressed that could mean any­where from suit and tie or just a sports coat to peo­ple wear­ing tuxe­dos. “Some peo­ple re­ally go all out,” he said.

“I think it speaks to a dif­fer­ent au­di­ence,” Atkins said. “We set out to make the tick­ets af­ford­able. We didn't want to out-price our­selves. It brings in a younger au­di­ence than some other galas.”

She said it of­fers the op­por­tu­nity for cou­ples to en­joy a night of “good food, drinks and fun and you have the chance to win a di­a­mond, too.”

Tick­ets can be pur­chased from the Cham­ber at www. hot­springscham­ber.com or at Lau­ray's, lo­cated down­town at 402 Cen­tral Ave.

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