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Looking into the Crystal Ball

By Diana Colson

In a town that abounds with dazzling fundraisers, the CRYSTAL BALL emerges as an event that is

Suzanne Stacy, Crystal Ball's  Official Gypsy.
Suzanne Stacy, Crystal Ball’s Official Gypsy.

both delightful and affordable. Created and produced by Friends of the Selby Public Library, this amazing soiree takes place from 6-9 pm on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.

Most Sarasota fundraising events have price tags in the hundreds, but not the 5th annual CRYSTAL BALL. With its modest price of $25 in advance, and $30 at the door, it is famed county-wide as the “People’s Gala.” The magical event is held inside the Selby Library located at 1331 First Street in Sarasota.

Delightful Dee - The Gypsy Dancer.
Delightful Dee – The Gypsy Dancer.

What does one receive for this very affordable tax-deductible investment? A potpourri of wonders! 30 quality performances take place in the Library’s glorious rotunda, and they include dancers, singers, musicians and specialty acts. Models will strut down the curving staircases, displaying stunning outfits. Intuitive readers, artists, authors, wellness experts, and various local businesses will bewitch and beguile with their talents. More than two dozen local restaurants and food vendors will offer generous samplings of enticing cuisine.

And of course there will be those ubiquitous Cash Bars.

Kenney DeCamp is the man who puts this event together. Currently serving as President of the Friends of the Selby Public Library, Kenney used his theatrical expertise to create the original CRYSTAL BALL five years ago, and has recreated it every January since. Indeed, the event’s colorful posters bear his signature stamp: A Happy KDC Show.

Proud Sponsors of the CRYSTAL BALL include iBERIABANK, Living on the Suncoast, J.L. Bainbridge & Company, Inc., and Digital Image Business Solutions. Tickets are now on sale in the Selby Friends Bookstore. Call 941.861.1140 for information. All proceeds from the gala will go to benefit Selby Library’s youth programs.

The Friends of the Selby Public Library have chosen their mission: it is to partner with the Selby

One of the many performers.
One of the many performers.

Library in developing services, providing free programs, raising funds and advocating for library resources all in coordination with community interests. The organization achieves this goal by raising funds via the Selby Friends Bookstore, and by presenting events such as the CRYSTAL BALL. Through The Friends and their impressive efforts, the lives of many of our citizens have been enriched by experiencing the values, pleasures and rewards of literacy.

During the past fiscal year, Friends of the Selby Public Library have supported the Library in a multitude of ways: They have generated over $55,000 in support of hundreds of free youth programs and events. They have contributed more than $7,000 for the presentation of over 200 free special events and programs for adults. They have given almost $5,000 for appreciation events for Library Volunteers. Last but not least, they have bankrolled more than 480 free events for children and youth.

To look at the bigger picture, over the past ten years, this group has generated more than a million

Click on poster to enlarge.
Click on poster to enlarge.

dollars in support of Selby Library’s mission and programs. They have also underwritten over 12,000 Library presentations and events given free to the public. (For more information, go to www.selbylibraryfriends.org.)

So—come to the CRYSTAL BALL and support the fine work being done by this grand organization! And don’t forget to visit the Friends Bookstore located inside Selby Library. It’s a great place to browse among thousands of books in every genre.  There you will find interesting cookbooks, out-of-print classics and unique titles that defy a set genre. Prices are low and the value is “priceless.” The Bookstore also offers Baubles, Bling & other donated items such as giftware, jewelry, art, accessories and ceramics.  These eclectic offerings are outstanding values, and many are one-of-a-kind.

P.S. Donations are always welcome!