Ballet's charity tourney tees off July 23

Executive Chef Richard Austin is scheduled to make an appearance in the Southern Crescent next week, in support of the local ballet company.

Austin, the owner and founder of Chef Austin's Southern Cooking and Catering, will be the featured addition to the "Fore the Love of Dance" Golf Tournament benefiting the Stockbridge-based Atlanta Festival Ballet.

"This is the first time they've ever tried to do something like this," said Harvey Day, golf tournament chairman and a member of the ballet's board of directors. Day hopes to meet a fund-raising goal of between $10,000 and $15,000.

He said the event will benefit the ballet company's various dance programs, and he hopes it will help expand the company's outreach and raise awareness of dance within the community.

"Dance is an art form that I think people should get behind, and these are programs that children like," he said. "And in order to help children be successful, we need to have the parents involved.

"I know that these programs can be beneficial for the kids, but for the parents, too," he said. "We need to help them out, and keep their spirits up as well."

The golf tournament is set to begin at 2 p.m., on July 23, at Heron Bay Golf Club, 5100 Heron Bay Blvd., Locust Grove. Day said registration will be held until 30 minutes before tee-off. Registration includes player fees — at $85 for individuals and $300 for teams of four —used to help cover the cost of tournament operations and an evening dinner, prepared by Chef Austin, of St. Simons Islands, Ga.

The event organizer said the tournament will also include a raffle for a chance to win a Char-Broil Gas and Charcoal Grill, and a 42-inch, Samsung Flat Panel Television.

Day believes the event will help the ballet company offset some of its costs related to its dance programs, and its seasonal productions, that have been hit hard lately by the economic recession. Also, part of the proceeds, he added, will go toward the ballet company's scholarship program.

To learn more about the golf tournament, call Day at (404) 366-9295, or visit the Atlanta Festival Ballet web site at www.atlantafestivalballet.com.