Coming in from the cold to raise money for cancer

As if fate's hands gave Carson Advocates for Cancer Care a gentle nudge in the right direction, the local nonprofit's biggest annual fundraiser falls in the "down" week just before the Super Bowl.

"We're hoping for a good turnout this weekend and we don't think there's a lot of competition," said organizer J.R. Baird, noting the event was scheduled for a time when he hoped locals would be in town - and not already booked.

"We have this in the winter, after the holidays - I think it kind of gives people something to look forward to. It breaks up the monotony."

For the 13th year in a row, the nonprofit - which consists of a group of about 35 local volunteers dedicated to providing everything from financial assistance to pharmaceuticals for un- and under-insured cancer patients in Nevada's rural counties - will host its Winter Wine and All That Jazz festival 7 p.m. Saturday.

Host Carson Nugget will provide a variety of hors d'oeuvres and fresh fruit to accompany tastings from more than 40 wineries. Those interested in sampling varietals from the California coast to the eastern seaboard will not be disappointed, organizers said.

"We've found it's a great time of year to host a fundraiser," said volunteer Patrick Williams, himself a cancer survivor.

The evening will for the first time feature a live auction with "big-ticket" items, Williams said.

"We'll have a $500 gift certificate from Southwest Airlines, a brand new motor scooter along with various golf packages, hotel rooms and fine art," he said.

Williams joked that the event coordinators would "like to raise about $2.5 billion" to help fight cancer - but proceeds from the evening gala should produce between $10,000 and $15,000 for the local nonprofit, he said.

"I got prostate cancer in 1993 and I'm still duking it out," he said. "A lot of volunteers have been through it. We're dedicated to helping others here.

"And this is something we plan all year."

Carson Nugget staff has been working all week to make this year's event a "special one," said Kelly Brant, the Nugget's director of marketing.

"It's something the (Nugget) is proud to be a part of," he said. "There's a lot of planning and preparation. This year seems like they've got a lot of entertainment and auction items.

"We're just happy they host their great event with us."

Russ Lindquist and his 18-piece High Sierra Band will entertain the expected 600 event-goers with its big-band-era jazz music.

Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at Mike's Pharmacy, 1007 N. Curry St., and Aloha Wines and Liquors, 4555 S. Carson St. Tickets are $35 at the door.

The Carson Nugget also offers a lodging package including room, two restaurant vouchers, four cocktail vouchers, four $1.50 Keno credits and $1 gaming tokens for just $54.50 per night, per couple. That is in addition to the cost of the event.

For reservations, call 1-800-338-7760.

For more Winter Wine and All That Jazz information, please contact Carson Advocates for Cancer Care at 883-7477 or J.R. Baird at 781-0063.

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at apridgen@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

If you go

What: 13th annual Winter Wine and All that Jazz

When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Carson Nugget Ballroom

Tickets: Admission is $30 in advance. Tickets can be purchased at Mike's Pharmacy, 1007 N. Curry St., and Aloha Wines and Liquors, 4555 S. Carson St. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $35.

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