Conscious party: A NOLA-inspired soirée to benefit Sleep Tight Kids

Photo courtesy of NACE's Appalachian chapter

WHAT: A Kiss to Build a Dream On

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 10, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Lioncrest at Biltmore Estate

WHY: While most fundraisers employ a few event planners at most, an upcoming benefit is taking shape at the hands of a veritable troupe of party professionals. Hosted at the Biltmore Estate by the National Association for Catering and Events’ Appalachian chapter, A Kiss to Build a Dream On mixes equal parts food, drink and entertainment.

“It’s a New Orleans theme, but not your typical, kitschy Mardi Gras theme,” says Ellie Shwarz, NACE’s local chapter president. “It’s a very classy 1940s-, 1950s-era New Orleans theme. That’s when [Louis Armstrong’s] song ‘A Kiss to Build a Dream On’ came out.”

Schwarz and a team of planners, photographers, floral designers, party rental suppliers and more are putting the final touches on their upscale soirée, which will be held in the Biltmore’s picturesque Lioncrest venue.

Like the event’s name, the entertainment lineup pays homage to the musical legacy of the Big Easy, with jazzy performances by Pamela Jones, Empire Strikes Brass and Bronze + Ebony Dance Company. Headlining the evening is local cover band the Business — a high-energy sextet with an expansive catalog of soulful classics by musical icons of decades past. (Think Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Frank Sinatra and “Satchmo” himself).

Between visiting (and revisiting) the Biltmore’s food stations — antipasta, assorted dips, salads, pasta and desserts are all on the menu — patrons can partake in a luxury raffle featuring prizes worth $250 and up. Each $100 ticket also includes a welcome cocktail, wine and local beer.

One of NACE’s annual fundraisers, the gathering’s proceeds support Sleep Tight Kids as the local nonprofit provides items of comfort like blankets, stuffed animals, toys, books and other bedtime amenities for children in need.

“[Sleep Tight Kids’ mission] doesn’t go hand-in-hand with catering and events,” Shwarz says, but “it kind of stole our hearts.

“This is the events community coming together and putting our best foot forward,” she continues. “We’d love to see some new faces.”

Visit for more information or tickets.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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