Coronavirus impact

COVID-19 boots Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball off the 2020 calendar

COVID-19 boots Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball off the 2020 calendar

Jeff Matthews, Tania Noelle Boughton, Cattle Barons Ball 2018
The biggest party of fall has fallen victim to the virus. Photo by WJNPHOTO

Cattle Baron's Ball, Dallas' biggest party of fall, has been canceled due to COVID-19.

A spokesman for the event confirmed August 7 that the gala, benefiting the American Cancer Society in North Texas, will not take place in 2020.

"We just feel like it’s not safe to gather people together," spokesman Terry Van Willson says. "We’re trying to do right thing and ACS is being so cool about it."

Cattle Baron's will continue to raise money for ACS, he says. Plans are in the works for a silent auction and raffle to take place, and more details will be announced soon. They will not hold a "virtual" gala, Van Willson says.

In a bit of good news, Cattle Baron's has already booked a date and location for next year's event: October 23, 2021, at Gilley's Dallas. 2020 headliner Dierks Bentley will stay on as the Main Stage entertainer, and country singer-songwriter Cole Swindell will still be the VIP party entertainer.

"Our entertainers have been incredibly gracious," Van Willson says.

Although the decision to cancel the 2020 ball isn't surprising — almost all of Dallas' big fundraisers and galas have been canceled or moved online — it's a major blow to the organization, which had been taking steps to present a safer gala for its thousands of attendees.

In June, they announced that the party would move from its original location at the Star in Frisco to Klyde Warren Park for an outdoor, socially distanced event.

Event chairs Diana Hamilton and Heather Randall had chosen the theme "Just Livin': Take Cancer by the Horns" for the 46th annual gala, which seemed especially resonant now during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

"As a leading health organization, the American Cancer Society acknowledges that your safety comes first, and we will follow all CDC guidelines in place at the time of the event," they said in June.

Cattle Baron’s Ball is the premier fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in North Texas, and has raised more than $85 million since its inception in 1974. The ball is the largest single-night fundraising event for cancer research in the world.