Honoring Claire Wagonhurst's memory while raising melanoma awareness [Lutherville-Timonium]

For the Towson Times
Marianne Banister describes the drink named in her daughter's honor as being "sassy, vibrant, and full of fun

On Friday evening, Oct. 23rd, Lutherville residents Rocky Wagonhurst and Marianne Banister will host The Clarity Ball at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. The black-tie event offers dinner, dancing — with music provided by the Mood Swings band — and the chance to win highly sought-after items, including trips to Paris and Milan, and VIP experiences with the Baltimore Ravens.

Most important, the evening is devoted to furthering the mission of the Claire Marie Foundation in raising awareness and hope in the fight against adolescent melanoma. The organization was established after the death of Rocky and Marianne's daughter, Claire Marie Wagonhurst, who last October lost her three-year battle against melanoma. Claire was a 17-year-old senior at Notre Dame Preparatory School.

To purchase tickets, go to clairemariefoundation.org to access an Eventbrite link. All contributions are tax-deductible. The evening begins at 7 and goes until 11:30. Among the festivities will even be a cocktail named in Claire's honor. Marianne describes it as being "sassy, vibrant, and full of fun ... just like Claire."

Save the date for the Ridgely Middle School PTA Craft Fair and Silent Auction. Now in its 34th year, the annual fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Nov. 14th from 10 until 4. In addition to having vendors who can be considered as "favorites" with attendees in the past, this year's fair also offers crafts available for purchase from participants displaying their items at Ridgely for the first time. The Silent Auction Committee is still seeking contributions from both Ridgely families and local businesses. Donations of gift cards, products, or services are being sought, and local businesses helping to support the many programs funded by the PTA fundraiser will receive an advertisement in the auction program. To make a contribution, please go to ridgelymiddlepta.com for more information.

Members of the Church of the Holy Comforter on Seminary Avenue said their Community Craft and Music Fair was a success. About 30 vendors, displaying items that included pottery, paintings, drawings, jewelry and candles, helped to attract visitors, as did performances from four local bands. The event, which was held at the end of September, was designed as a source of funds for the church's Food for Thought Backpack Program, started by Monica Tang. It is estimated that nearly $4,000 was raised to support the program that provides supplemental weekend food, placed in backpacks, to 16 homeless children (and their families) in two local elementary schools. The Church of the Holy Comforter expects to make the Community Craft and Music Fair an annual event. Watch this space for more information, plus get details about a Breakfast with St. Nicholas that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5th.

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