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Ball to benefit pioneer museum

Supporters of the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village will combine a little of the rustic with a little of the glamorous in tonight's first Black Tie and Blue Jeans Country Ball.

Organizers hope to make the ball an annual event, which kicks off another museum fundraiser, the February Farm Festival and Quilt Show.

The 6 p.m. ball will be held in the newly restored Blanton Packing House on the museum's U.S. 301 property north of town. The packing house, a replica of a citrus packing plant circa 1910, will soon become a museum exhibit.

For $32, those at the ball will be treated to a catered dinner from Papa Joe's of Brooksville, line-dance and two-step lessons and door prizes. Zephyrhills act Unplugged Band will play country and cajun music.

Local businesses have donated a variety of items including golf packages, dinners, weekend getaways and karate classes for a silent auction.

"We had a lot of response (for the auction)," organizer Vicki Oliver said.

There is seating for about 300 people. Oliver said Thursday about 175 tickets had been sold.

The Feb. 7-8 Farm Festival will feature Dade City's first horse pulling championship. That event, where teams of horses pull 7,000-pound sleds, is expected to draw up to 10,000 people for the weekend.

All money raised will benefit the nonprofit pioneer museum, established in 1960 to preserve Florida heritage.

Said Oliver: "We hope (it will) be a large success and the first of many, many to come."