Dazzle Daze kicks off Thursday to raise money for hospital

By Tammy Keith Published November 17, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Sheryl Sample, left, and Jennifer Hill, co-chairwomen of this year’s Dazzle Daze, hold decorated reusable gingerbread houses. The Conway Regional Women’s Council, which sponsors the annual fundraiser, will sell the gingerbread-house kits at the event, which will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Conway Expo Center, 2505 E. Oak St.

CONWAY — The annual Conway Regional Health System fundraiser Dazzle Daze is back, and if the enthusiasm of its co-chairwomen means anything, the event should be a huge success.

Volunteers Sheryl Sample, 40, and Jennifer Hill, 33, both of Conway, are in charge of the event that will bring almost 90 merchants and thousands of shoppers to the Conway Expo Center, 2505 E. Oak St., on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Sample said that the past two years, she’s helped coordinate the 250-plus volunteers who make the event happen.

This year, she stepped up into a leading role.

“First of all, I think it’s just a fun event,” Sample said. “I had both my children at Conway Regional, and I got amazing service there, so I feel like it’s a great place to put my time.”

Sponsored by the Conway Regional Women’s Council, the fundraiser starts with Girls Nite Out from 6-9 p.m. Thursday. In addition to shopping, music will be performed by Rodney Block and the Real Music Lovers, and photos through Chicks Who Click. Appetizers, prepared by chef Jill Bingham McCollum, will be provided.

The first 50 women to spend $100 that night will have their names entered into a drawing for a $1,000 watch and $1,000 in med-spa services.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door for Girls’ Nite Out. General shopping is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 for general shopping.

A raffle for a vehicle and a list of other prizes is a feature of the event. Tickets are sold for $100, and the grand prize is a 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible.

Hill said she got involved because she enjoyed the event and saw “all these women running around” as volunteers.

“My husband makes fun of me that I can’t say no, but this is something I wanted to say yes to,” she said.

“I was a shopper at Dazzle Daze for several years, and I love that aspect,” Hill said. “I like buffets, and so Dazzle Daze is a buffet, to me, of merchandise.”

She said 3,000 square feet were added to the merchants’ space this year, bringing the total shopping area to more than 13,000 square feet.

In addition to Arkansas, Hill said, vendors are coming from Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and one from California this year, she said.

“Really, there’s something for everyone,” Hill said. “We’ve broken down our space in different categories — there is something for pet lovers, merchandise for men, and you can purchase something for your grandmother, or your children, stocking stuffers, Christmas pajamas.

“Santa is back again, so there are lots of photo opportunities,” Hill said.

Dazzle Daze will host a pajama party with Santa at 9 a.m. Friday. Children are invited to wear their pajamas and listen to stories from Santa, visit with the elves and have a special photo taken. The party is limited to 100 tickets.

The women said they’re excited about the Women’s Council’s booth, a first this year. The council will be selling reusable gingerbread houses.

“It’s such a cool concept because instead of purchasing a gingerbread house as a cookie that you have to throw away,” or one that breaks, Sample said, this has pieces that snap together and are stored in a box.

The icing can be washed off, she said, by running it under warm water.

“You can decorate them over and over for different seasons,” Sample said.

Sample and Hill both have daughters who are involved in volunteering with Dazzle Daze.

Sample said her daughters, Chloe, 7, and Madison, 10, are excited about the event.

“There are so many volunteer needs and so many things that need to be done — they come with me,” Sample said. “It’s a family thing.”

Hill said her 9-year-old, Emma, helped deliver meals to vendors last year.

“Emma’s begging to figure out where she can volunteer,” Hill said. She also has a 5-year-old daughter, Lily Beth.

“It’s an awesome environment that I’d like my kids to be part of — why not?” Hill said.

She said Conway Regional Medical Center has played a big role in her family’s lives.

“We’ve experienced joy and great loss there,” she said.

“Both of my babies were born at Conway Regional,” she said, “and a sad part of my life is losing our first baby.”

Hill’s grandfather died in April.

“They allowed him to die with dignity and peace and took care of his family while we were there.”

Hill said a grandmother of hers died in July.

“They served us. They weren’t just caring for her and her medical needs; they provided for us,” she said.

Also, she said her sister is an employee there, and their grandmother worked at the hospital for more than 35 years.

During the past 11 years, Dazzle Daze has raised more than $360,000 for the health system, benefiting patients from the neonatal intensive-care nursery to the cardiology program. This year, the Conway Regional Women’s Council decided to put Dazzle Daze proceeds primarily toward the expansion of the Women’s Center and surgical facilities.

For more information or to purchase raffle or event tickets, call (501) 513-5191 or visit www.DazzleDaze.com.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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