Social calendar

The 12 glittering galas and splendid soirees all Dallas socialites must attend this spring

12 glam galas and soirees Dallas socialites must attend this spring

Bela Pjetrovic, Tracy Lange, Lisa Cooley
Bela Cooley, Tracy Lange, and Lisa Cooley at the 2017 DMA Art Ball. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
Michael Finley, Rebekah Finley, Jessica Nowitzki and Dirk Nowitzki
Michael and Rebkah Finley, and Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki at the 2020 UNICEF Gala. Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for UNICEF USA
Lisa Loy Laughlin, Chair; Gina Ginsburg, Mad Hatter's Table
Lisa Loy Laughlin (left, with Gina Ginsburg at 2014 Mad Hatter's Tea) is president of the Arboretum Women’s Council. Photo by Dana Driensky and Daniel Driensky
Jennifer LeLash, Nanci Gopez, Kelly Perkins, Diane Fulinghim, Maggie Kipp, Nikki WEbb, WEndy Messman, Melinda Knowles, Amy Camp
The Saint Valentine's Day Luncheon has been postponed to May 16. Photo by Dana and Daniel Driensky
Pat McLaughlin, Annie and Teal Griffeth
Pat McLaughin and Annie and Teal Griffit at the outdoor Equest Gala, where boots are encouraged. Photo by Thomas Garza
Dierdre Slavin, Charles Bader, John Bean, Tama Tran at House of DIFFA 2018
House of DIFFA is the most colorful gala of spring. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Audra McDonald
Superstar Audra McDonald will headline Turtle Creek Chorale's "Rhapsody" benefit. Photo by Michael Orenstein
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart headlines the Junior League's Centennial Milestones Luncheon. Photo courtesy of ATTPAC
Events_Michael Bolton_July 10
Michael Bolton is the keynote speaker for the Genesis Annual Luncheon on April 14. Courtesy of Houston Symphony
Bela Pjetrovic, Tracy Lange, Lisa Cooley
Michael Finley, Rebekah Finley, Jessica Nowitzki and Dirk Nowitzki
Lisa Loy Laughlin, Chair; Gina Ginsburg, Mad Hatter's Table
Jennifer LeLash, Nanci Gopez, Kelly Perkins, Diane Fulinghim, Maggie Kipp, Nikki WEbb, WEndy Messman, Melinda Knowles, Amy Camp
Pat McLaughlin, Annie and Teal Griffeth
Dierdre Slavin, Charles Bader, John Bean, Tama Tran at House of DIFFA 2018
Audra McDonald
Martha Stewart
Events_Michael Bolton_July 10

Dust off your stilettos and steam your ballgowns because galas, cocktail parties, and power lunches are finally back. After two years of COVID-cancellations — or pivots to virtual formats — Dallas' most glamorous fundraising events of spring have returned to the calendar.

Except, the calendar is a little topsy-turvy. Because of the recent Omicron-fueled surge, a few events have postponed further into spring (hence, a Valentine's-themed luncheon taking place in May). Beyond being fun, fancy parties to attend, these events raise crucial funds for the organizations' missions in Dallas and beyond. Note that some are nearly sold out, but waitlists are available.

Now grab your pen, circle these all-important dates in your social diary, and click the links for tables and tickets.

Turtle Creek Chorale Rhapsody, March 5
Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will headline "Rhapsody," Turtle Creek Chorale’s benefit gala at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The evening will feature opening receptions, seated dinner, open bar, live auction, a private performance by McDonald, and an after-party experience with the IDT Band and dessert. Funds raised will support the chorale’s mission to entertain, educate, unite, and inspire through its musical, cultural, and educational programs. And in honor of McDonald's performance, TCC will make a donation to Black Theatre United, an organization she co-founded with other Black artists after the killing of George Floyd in 2020, which supports the work for racial equity and social justice.

Art in Bloom, March 7
This floral-infused fête is both inspiring and informative. Dallas Museum of Art League's signature fundraiser, themed "Art of the Jewel," will showcase the work of internationally renowned designer Paula Crevoshay, whose botanical collection of bespoke jewelry is inspired by flowers in nature (some of her pieces are on display at the Perot Museum now). Honorary chair Peggy Sewell, event chair Sila Grogan, and co-chair Pat McDonough are overseeing the afternoon mega-luncheon at the DMA, which benefits the museum's education and exhibition programs, as well as the League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

AWARE Affair, April 8
"Soaring to New Heights Fighting Alzheimers" is an appropriate theme for this year's lavish Affair, as it's taking place at one of Dallas’ most iconic aviation-related landmarks, Star Skyline Hangar at the Braniff Centre. Mari Epperson and Sharon Ballew are serving as event co-chairs, with (Dallas Cowboys great) Lee Roy and Biddie Jordan as honorary chairs. The semi-formal event will include a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, seated three course-dinner, and entertainment. With Karisti Julia as AWARE president and Hamilton Sneed of HAS Events orchestrating the whole event, it's sure to be a glamorous evening dedicated to fighting Alzheimer's disease.

Art Ball, April 9
Considered the most glittering gala of spring, this beautiful ball at the Dallas Museum of Art returns after a two-year absence with a nod to the museum’s first ball in 1962. Themed "TABLEAUX: 60 Years of Art Ball (1962-2022)," it will be a '60s-themed black tie event for a more intimate crowd of just 350 guests. (Fun fact: The first “Beaux Arts Ball” was held on April 27, 1962 , and themed "TABLEAU VIVANTS.") Brian Bolke will chair the ball, which supports the museum's mission to offer free admission to the more than 800,000 annual visitors. 

Genesis Annual Luncheon, April 14
This annual luncheon at the Hilton Anatole always attracts a big name as its keynote speaker. For the 29th edition in 2022, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Michael Bolton will be that star. (If he doesn't croon a line or two from "When a Man Loves a Woman," will the event even exist?) The luncheon raises funds for Genesis' continuous effort to provide safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence. 

Mad Hatter's Tea Party, April 20
Consider this your gentle reminder to get started designing your hat. The bigger the better for this posh tea party at the Dallas Arboretum. Themed simply but powerfully "Dallas," the luncheon — celebrating its 34th year — is chaired by Claire Catrino, with Laurie Sands Harrison as honorary chair and Lisa Loy Laughlin serving as president of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum. The afternoon will once again include a champagne reception, tea, hat contest, and Jan Strimple-produced fashion show presented by Tootsie's; former FOX 4 news reporter Calvert Collins will be the mistress of ceremonies. Funds raised benefit A Woman’s Garden.

Junior League Milestones Luncheon, April 21
For Junior League of Dallas' Centennial year, they've snagged a heavy-hitting lineup for their annual luncheon: domestic doyenne and media mogul Martha Stewart will be the keynote speaker. Led by Luncheon Chair Isabell Novakov Higginbotham and Sustaining Chair Lydia Novakov, the event will also honor Dallas resident and former first lady Laura Bush with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Veletta Forsythe Lill will be honored as Sustainer of the Year. The luncheon will take place at the Hilton Anatole and benefit Junior League's many civic causes. The luncheon will be followed two nights later by a special Centennial Gala.    

UNICEF Gala, April 22
Just moved from its original date of February 4, this annual star-studded affair at the Thompson Dallas will honor local philanthropist Abigail Williams, and Poizon Ivy the DJ will perform at the after-party. The leadership committee includes Joyce Goss, Kara Goss, Claire Haidar, Jennifer Karol, Jessica Nowitzki, Selwyn Rayzor, and Alexandra Suich Bass — who no doubt are planning a magnificent and meaningful evening to raise crucial funds for UNICEF's life-saving programs worldwide.

Côtes du Coeur, April 30
The American Heart Association’s 31st annual Côtes du Coeur will get the wine flowing at the Omni Dallas Hotel. This black-tie gala, fine wine and celebrity chef experience is the largest event of its kind and the top fundraising gala in the nation for the AHA. Co-chaired by Joe Brayton, founder of Paragon Healthcare, Inc., and his wife, Patti, the evening will include a wine auction, celebrity chef dinner, live bid board, and silent auctions for rare wines, hard-to-find vintages, culinary experiences, exclusive trips, and more. The event will celebrate progress toward equitable health and honor survivors of heart disease and stroke.

House of DIFFA, May 7
Themed "Extravaganza" and happening at the Omni Dallas Hotel, May's most colorful black-tie gala — this one, two years in the making — always features a one-of-a-kind runway show and killer silent auction. The 2022 event will celebrate 30 years of raising funds to aid organizations that help raise awareness, advocate for individuals, and fight HIV/AIDS in the Dallas community. Tickets are not available, but to join a waitlist, contact House of DIFFA tables chair Shane Allen

Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show, May 16
No, Valentine's Day itself hasn't moved to May. But this big-hearted luncheon, normally tied to Valentine's Day, has been postponed to later this spring. Benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the 2022 mega-luncheon is chaired by (a very busy) Lisa Loy Laughlin and will feature champagne, lunch, inspiring speakers, and a fashion show of looks from Highland Park Village, produced by (a very busy) Jan Strimple. Serving as advisory chairs for the event, themed "Make a Statement," are Nancy Gopez, Maggie Kipp, and Melinda Knowles. It will be held at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and funds raised will help fight blood cancers.

Equest Blue Ribbon Ball, June 4
Equest's 41st annual gala: "Blue Ribbon Ball," will be an outdoors event at the Al Hill, Jr. Arena at Equest at the Texas Horse Park in Dallas. Leslie and Hawkins Golden are honorary chairs; and Carol and Bill Huckin, Finley and Eric Konrade, and Elsa Norwood are the co-chairs of the event, which raises funds for equine-assisted therapies and other services. With the festivities taking place in an open-air arena, partygoers can ditch their stilettos and tuxes, and don summery cocktail chic with sandals or boots. (And don't worry, they kindly supply mosquito repellant.) The night will include a cocktail reception, a seated dinner, silent and live auctions, live entertainment, and photo ops with Equest’s horses.