M.A.Y.O.R.'s Ball charity benefit set for Jan. 27

The nominees have been announced and the theme selected for the fifth annual M.A.Y.O.R.'s (Making Achievements Yielding Outstanding Results) Ball, which is set for 7 - 11 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the El Dorado Conference Center, 311 S. West Ave,

Hosted by former El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith Creer under her M.A.Y.O.R Sunshine banner -- with assistance from El Dorado native Terry Davis of the Georgia-based My'StiQ Entertainment, an event management company --, the ball is part party, part charitable endeavor.

Mardi Gras is the theme of the 2023 event, which will be a masquerade ball awash in the traditional colors of the season (purple, green and gold), masks and formal attire for an evening of music, dancing and merriment -- all the while helping a local organization.

Smith-Creer launched the annual ball just days before she took office as the city's first Black and first female mayor in January of 2019.

She was also the first El Dorado mayor-elect to host a pre-inaugural ball and after exiting office following her four-year term, Smith-Creer pledged to continue the ball as a means of giving back to the community and due to positive feedback she has received from the public about the event.

"People really enjoy the opportunity to dress up and go to a ball. I found out at the first one -- many people said they had never gone to one and since then, people have asked about it," Smith-Creer explained.

"Being able to give back, that's a blessing too. I enjoy that portion of it," she added.

Plus, the ball supports local venues and businesses/entrepreneurs, including caterers and event decorators/designers.

This year, the talent/entertainment will also come from a local pool of contenders, Smith-Creer shared.

"The people that help bring it all together, they're always local but the entertainment, the band, has always been from out of town," she said.

A DJ has already been booked for the event and Smith-Creer said organizers are working to round out the entertainment roster for the night.

Proceeds from the ball are donated to charitable causes and have supported research for sickle cell disease (Smith-Creer's younger sister, Vemetric Smith-Foster, 46, died in 2017 from complications of the disease); small businesses/entrepreneurs and the Downtown Business Association, all of whom were reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic; and Turning Point of South Arkansas.

The ball was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Smith-Creer said she put out a call on social media for recommendations for this year's charitable cause and she received a bevy of responses that was whittled down to four nominees: Jason Alan's Barber College, The Kidney Foundation, U R Not Alone Foundation: Suicide Awareness and Ruth Royalty Scholarship Foundation for cancer awareness.

"When I put it out on a Facebook post for people to nominate the recipients, people either called, texted, emailed or inboxed me. Some of the nominees were nominated more than once," Smith-Creer said.

The recipient(s) will be announced during the ball.

Smith-Creer emphasized that the ball is a black-tie affair and she encouraged attendees to "get creative and inspired with the masquerade portion" of the ball.

For those who arrive without a mask, masks will be on sale for a nominal fee during the ball, she said.

The ball will also feature New Orleans cuisine.

Tickets are $50 for general admission and to reserve a table. Sponsorships are also available for prices ranging from $100 to $1,000.

Tickets may be purchased at www.eventbrite.com, CashApp $VeronicaCreer or Zelle 870-315-1459. For more information, call Smith-Creer at 870-315-1459 or Stewart 404-542-1565.

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