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Ball on the Belle

With clear skies and plenty of sunshine, the Ironton–Lawrence County Community Action Organization could not have asked better weather for their annual dinner cruise fundraiser Friday evening.

In its third year, the CAO’s Southern Summer Night Rollin’ on the River Dinner Cruise brought in nearly 400 people from all over the Tri-State to a one of the organization’s main fundraisers of the year. Event-goers boarded the Belle of Cincinnati at the Center Street boat landing for a trip on the Ohio River.

This year’s event raised between $20,000 and $30,000 for the organization to use for local funding matches and to ‘fill in the gaps,’ said Ralph Kline, CAO assistant director in charge of development.

More than just a fundraiser, the event is an opportunity for members of the community and the Tri-State to enjoy themselves, he said.

“We appreciate the community coming out and supporting our fundraising events and a time together,” Kline said. “Hopefully we’ll be here at a similar time next year.”

Besides dinner, the cruise offered music, dancing and casino games.

Louise Stanley along with her son Jacob and her friend Carla Brice took part in the cruise for the first time this year.

“I wanted my son to have the opportunity to do something he may never do again,” Stanley said of her 8-year-old son. “The dinner was delicious and well worth the $100. And it’s for a good cause, too.”

Besides enjoying the cruise, the event was an opportunity for Brice to overcome a lifelong fear. Before Friday she had never been on a boat.

“I’m doing great, it feels great,” Brice said. “I’m going to stay around the life preservers, though. It’s an experience.”