When shoes are kicked off in the first 20 minutes, it's the sign of a fun night ahead. So the strappy stilettos abandoned at the edge of the dance floor at 9:20 pm perfectly foreshadowed things to come at the 2018 Dallas Autumn Ball.
Glamorous young professionals 650 strong dressed to impress — ladies in long, shimmery, cut-to-there gowns and men in black tie — and arrived at Hotel ZaZa on November 9 ready to party. And event co-chairs Madison McKay and Taylor Markey did not disappoint.
Officially, Autumn Ball raises funds for Reading Partners of North Texas, which places community volunteers in low-income schools to help kids ages kindergarten through fourth grade master basic reading skills. Unofficially, it's the be-seen YP party of fall.
Once guests got their IDs checked — it's strictly 21 and up — they posed for photos on the red carpet, nibbled passed apps, and fueled up at the top-shelf open bar. While many sipped bubbly from orange plastic Veuve Clicquot flutes, others opted for signature Patron margaritas, and some went straight for martinis.
Those lucky enough to sport VIP wristbands mingled in an exclusive party lounge, where they filled their plates with mini burgers, fried chicken sliders, shoestring fries, and gruyere-garlic mac and cheese. But no one relaxed on the VIP couches for too long because the action was next door on the dance floor.
Favorite party band Emerald City started playing when doors opened at 9 pm, and they didn't come up for air until 10:30. Like grown-ups at prom, the young adults danced and sang along to songs that were hits before many of them were born. Spice Girls' "Wannabe" got girlfriend groups moving, Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" saw some twists and twirls, and House of Pain's "Jump Around" accomplished exactly that.
Between songs, guests mugged for an interactive photo booth set up in front of a pretty white and gold balloon wall.
When Emerald City took its final bow, the crowd hushed so Autumn Ball founder Adam Kraus could grab the microphone to announce that the event would be donating $30,000 to Reading Partners. Every $1,000 helps one child, he said.
"For six years now, we have celebrated bringing young professionals [together] to raise money and awareness for a life-changing organization to impact kids right here in Dallas in a fun environment," he said. "It is a testament to our city that young people are carrying on that philanthropic mindset embedded here in Dallas."
Without missing a beat, party planners handed out foam glow sticks to every guest, adding colorful movement to the ballroom. Headlining band Goldfish — an electronic duo from South Africa that has played festivals such as ACL and Bonnaroo — kept the dance floor grooving until the very last party-goers grabbed their gift bags and Ubered home.
Founded in 2013, the annual Dallas Autumn Ball brings civic-minded young adults together in the name of giving back and celebrating charity in a festive, philanthropic environment. Since its inception, DAB has donated more than $150,000 to Dallas education organizations.
Spotted having a great time this year were Aida Kurtanovic, Nejja Kurtanovic, Jenna Jenovich, Chelsea Groux, Amanda Paun, Sydney Betton, Monique Malooly, Nicki Tomlinson, Conrad Johnson, Akbar Dosani, Areebah Ajani, Jarrett Patton, Cassie Dickerson, Andrew Afifian, Donovan England, Maegan Houghton, Ed Devol, Sarah Baldwin, Camille Vandorpe, Arden Taylor, Bryan Casad, Jessica Schuermann, Cory Wiley, Marina Peterson, Daniela Gutierrez, Anderson Beene, Derek Brooks, Kaitlin Brashear, Vodi Cook, Andrew Welker, Nicole Marciano, Jill Berger, and Vincent Dvorian.