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For more than 20 years, the Bugeye Ball has helped to raise money for the Calvert Marine Museum.

The Calvert Marine Museum is hosting its annual Bugeye Ball on Saturday, Feb. 25, in the halls of the museum. This impressive event hosts more than 300 special guests each year and raises funds to support the museumís preservation and education efforts.

The theme for this yearís event is the mystery and music of a 1920s Speakeasy and guests are invited to wear vintage inspired outfits to add to the mystique of the evening. Guests will be surrounded with the fun and excitement of numerous gaming tables, jazz music from The Hot Club of D.C., and back by popular demand, distinctive cuisine from Kenís Creative Kitchen. Ticket holders receive $10,000 in chips to try their luck at the poker, craps and roulette tables to win chances for first class prizes. Last year, winners took home diamond jewelry and his and hers watches from Maertenís Jewelry and Gifts, BOSE headphones, an iPad and even an extensive selection of premium wines from Port of Call Liquors. You can bet prizes at this yearís event will be even better.

The Bugeye Ball has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the museum over the years and has been the foundation of many upgrades and additions to the museumís exhibits and programs. The Lore Oyster House, Patuxent Small Craft Center, Cove Point Lighthouse, Discovery Room and so many other museum assets have benefited from the generosity of those that have attended and sponsored this event over the years. Itís wonderful to see what a supportive community we have surrounding us and the ball gives the board and the staff to actually meet and thank the people behind those donations.

The drawing of the raffle winner is one of the most exciting events at the ball. This yearís prize is a romantic trip for two to Italy. The winner will receive $2,500 toward airfare and the use of a private, three-bedroom villa in Cetona, Italy, for one full week. Only 250 chances will be sold for $100 each and the winner of the trip does not need to be present at the ball to win. There are no blackout dates, and to top it off, since the villa has three bedrooms, the winner can bring additional guests if theyíd like.

Last year, the Bugeye Ball raised more than $40,000 in support of the Cove Point Lighthouse preservation project. Much of the stabilization and preservation work of the site has been completed and the museum is on pace to re-open Cove Point this summer. Projects like Cove Point are a prime example of what the museum is able to do as a result of the Bugeye Ball. Tickets for this yearís event are $175 each and can be purchased online at www.calvertmarinemuseum.com. Sponsorships for the event are also available and include event tickets, table naming opportunities, and pre and post event recognition. We hope to see you there.

Vanessa Gill, Solomons

The writer is the development director for the Calvert Marine Museum Society.