After a full day of uncertainty, the dark clouds parted to allow for the Patron’s Party to commence Thursday evening preceding Cumberland University’s Phoenix Ball on Saturday.
This year’s affair was held at the riverside home of Brandon and Linlee Allen in Wilson County. Guests relinquished their cars to valet parking and were then taken to the house via electric carts. The sight of a most unique house greeted the guests to which a tent and outdoor bar were set up to accommodate tables, chairs and a band.
Allen is an engineer and owner of Henry Drilling and Pumps in Franklin and Linlee Allen is owner and operator of Ava Mac Designs, which specializes in personalized gifts and décor.
His construction capabilities and her decorating talents were apparent on approach and in entering their home. From the unusual design of the house and the exterior brickwork to the dozens of different types of framing she has used to display photos of her family, it’s all one of a kind.
Various bruschetta and miniature banana and chocolate puddings from Two Fat Men catering were served, and another bar was set up on a back porch overlooking the Cumberland River. The 150 guests circulated and mingled in and outside the Allen home.
About halfway through the evening, music, featuring Tyrone “Super T” Smith and the Tyrone Smith Revue, cranked up under the tent outside. Forty years in the business, the group has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight.
The band kept the guests dancing and rocking to the music, so they were extended to play until 11 p.m. instead of the planned 10 p.m. About half the crowd was still there after 10 p.m.
Ladies were dressed in new and colorful dresses and outfits of the summer season, and the men wore everything from casual shirts and slacks to shorts or summer suits.
“We are comparative newcomers to Lebanon, having moved here in 2008, although my grandparents lived here all their lives, and my parents grew up here,” said Linlee Allen. “I had such fond memories of visiting this town as a child and loved it so much that my husband and I decided to raise our family here. Cumberland is a huge part of Lebanon, and therefore, I love the opportunity to be involved with this university, so that’s why we chose to host the Patron’s Party tonight.”
The 31st annual Phoenix Ball, Cumberland’s premiere fundraiser, kicks off Saturday night at the university in support of its deserving students. This year’s gala, as well as Thursday’s Patron’s Party will directly benefit the university’s athletic programs, which have taken on an even greater significance Cumberland prepares for its move to the NCAA.