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Desert Readies for Winter’s Frank Sinatra Starkey Hearing Foundation Celebrity Invitational Golf Tourney

By Frances Allen
It has been confirmed that Gary Mule Deer will perform at next year’s 21st annual Frank Sinatra Starkey Hearing Found-ation Celebrity Invitational golf tournament, Feb. 19 – 21.

But two things are different about the upcoming tournament. First, it will have a theme: “Lucky 21,” and second, there is a new presenting sponsor: Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Starkey Hearing Foundation was founded by William “Bill” Austin with the express purpose of providing the gift of hearing to people, primarily children, around the country and around the world, who cannot not afford a hearing device. More than 50,000 hearing devices are distributed by the Foundation each year to those in need.

The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, beneficiary of the golf tournament, provides counseling for victims of physical, sexual and emotional child abuse as it focuses on prevention, community education and breaking the cycle of abuse. The Children’s Center provides its services regardless of a family’s ability to pay… no child is ever turned away for lack of funds.

 The celebrity amateur golf tournament will be played at the legendary Indian Wells Country Club. The  Ren-aissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells is the host hotel and location for two theme parties and a black-tie gala, as well as the annual luncheon and fashion show. 

Known as “Frank’s little party in the desert,” Barbara and Frank Sinatra founded the Frank  Sinatra Celebrity In-vitational in 1988 to raise funds for the Center, which opened in 1986. Through their efforts and those of supporters around the world, the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational is now one of the most successful events of its kind.  

“This annual event meant the world to Frank. He would be immensely proud to see how it’s grown and remains a major contributing source to the Children’s Center that he loved so  much,” said Barbara Sinatra. “To our wonderful supporters all across the country and  beyond, I offer my appreciation for helping us to do the valuable work that’s done at the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center,” Sinatra said.  

Celebrities joining Barbara Sinatra this year include Dick Van Dyke, who will serve as the 2009 co-host.  Comedian Tom Dreesen, funny man for Frank Sinatra for many years and performances, will return as the official emcee.   

Entertainment will include the award-winning singing Gatlin Brothers performing at the Friday dinner.  Comedian Gary Mule Deer will add his wit to the evening.   

The black-tie gala on Saturday evening will feature “Barbara’s Sur-prise,”  usually a nationally recognized entertainer. Past gala entertainers have included Liza Minnelli, Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, and Frank  Sinatra himself. 
The schedule of events includes:   
Thursday, Feb. 19 — Renais-sance Esmeralda Resort and Spa       
• Tournament registration & reception in “Frank’s Place,” Lobby Court 
• Silent auction opens       
• Dinner & pairings party:  Pasta Italiano and concerto karaoke 
Friday, Feb. 20 — Indian Wells Country Club       
• First round of play at Indian Wells Country Club Cove and Classic Courses       
• Contestant breakfast
• Contestant lunch on the golf courses, donated by area restaurants
Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa – Emerald Ballroom
• Silent auction       
• Luncheon & fashion show featuring the designs of Fe Zandi       
• Dinner: Frank’s Favoriti Italiano, silent & live auctions
• Entertainment by the Gatlin Brothers and Gary Mule Deer
Saturday, Feb. 21— Indian Wells Country Club       
• Final round of play — Indian Wells Country Club Cove and Classic Courses       
• Contestant breakfast available in the Clubhouse       
• Contestant lunch on the golf courses, donated by area restaurants
Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa – Emerald Ballroom
• Platinum Circle private reception      
• Reception & black-tie gala       
Sunday, Feb. 22 — Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisen-hower       
• Open house hosted by Barbara Sinatra–Eisenhower campus, Rancho Mirage
Visit or call 760-674-8447 or  (800) FS STARS for updates on events and ticket information.

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