The Genesis Young Leaders' annual Masquerade is known as a high-flying affair for Dallas young professionals, and this year, its theme matched its reputation. The sold-out party, called "Under the Big Top," took more than 800 attendees to the circus.
Every corner of venue Sixty Five Hundred was transformed with razzle dazzle for the February 23 fundraiser. The annual gala, hosted by Genesis Young Leaders — one of the most thriving YP groups in Dallas — raises money to further Genesis Women's Shelter's mission to eliminate family violence in the area.
The earliest guests fastened their VIP bracelets and visited a special, reserved bar and lounge area. There, they got the first sips of champagne, wine, and cocktails and the first bites of the fun fare being served. In keeping with the theme, noshes included mini corn dogs, warm pretzels, nachos, popcorn, and for dessert, funnel cakes and candy apples.
Another perk to being a VIP? The chance to feed grapes to "Jelly" the spider monkey, on hand to entertain with a trainer from Humperdink's Heroes Rescues and Exotic Petting Zoo.
The many casino tables — a signature of the event — filled early and stayed packed all night.
Those who weren't into gambling but still craved friendly competition turned attention to the silent auction. Up for grabs were snazzy retail and restaurant experiences, sports memorabilia, jewelry and more. Speaking of jewelry, Kendra Scott provided a "jewelry pull" experience so guests could go home with some new bling.
The busiest band in Dallas that night must have been the Taylor Pace Orchestra, who played party tunes from beginning to end, only taking breaks for circus-themed entertainers and speakers to take the stage.
Genesis CEO Jan Langbein and Amy Norton, senior director of fund and community development, welcomed guests and acknowledged event co-chairs Rachel and Coleman Brown and Krista and Andrew Porteous.
Once the official speeches were over, the party continued until midnight. A juggler and balancing-act performer entertained to the sounds of old-fashioned, hurdy gurdy-type circus music.
Then the band came back on and hundreds flocked to the dance floor. To help keep people moving and grooving into the late hours, servers brought out cartons of truffle-dusted French fries for all to enjoy.
Spotted having a great time throughout the night were Andre Hefter, Kristen Wehling, Allison Xirinachs, Micheal Xirinachs, Darbie Safford, Casee Safford, Cooper Harris, Lindsey Wolf, Jessie Wolf, Kathy Losada, Nick Losada, Kate Polloskey, Deangalo Nesby, Marisa Swanson, Krista Fultz, Ryan Boschetti, Leslie Boschetti, Elizabeth Wisdom, Kyle Wisdom, Heather Blond, Desiree Cast, Jeremy Lawson, James Sackey, Kendall Blake, Matt Ciccone, Stephanie Ciccone, Camie Carlock, Majd Ello, Will Link, Kelly Link, Beth Boyd, Julia Carpenter, Kristin Bell, Ashton Hartner, and Katy Roden.
The event chairs had announced on stage that the fundraising goal would be $300,000. A few days later, the organization says the final total came to $301,030.
"The $300,000 we raised far exceeded and broke all previous records," a Genesis spokeswoman says. "That’s 300,000 promises we will be able to make to women and children experiencing domestic violence."