Coronavirus impact

Dallas' most glorious gala canceled for only second time in its 68-year history

Dallas' most glorious gala canceled for second time in 68-year history

Gracie Hunt, Kathryn Dunn, Sarah Smith, Tavia Hunt and Blair Raylee
Gracie Hunt, Kathryn Dunn, Sarah Smith, Tavia Hunt, Blair Raylee at the 2019 Crystal Charity Ball. Photo by WJNPHOTO

In the final blow to the 2020 fall social season, Dallas' cherished Crystal Charity Ball has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The only other time the sequins have been stowed was in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Organizers announced on October 12 that "after developing and analyzing multiple venue, food, and entertainment options for the Ball, we have concluded that an in-person event is not appropriate this year given our concern for both the health and well-being of our donors and vendors and the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic."

The gala's 68th edition was to have taken place December 5 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, featuring chairwoman Tucker Enthoven's smashingly brilliant theme "Majestic Britannia." Also canceled this fall was Crystal Charity's annual Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show & Luncheon, scheduled for October 22.

Considered the grand dame of all Dallas galas, Crystal Charity Ball is attended by a who's who of Dallas philanthropists, dressed in sumptuous designer gowns and dapper tuxes. The annual fête, always held in December, is not only the finale of Dallas' fall social season — raising millions of dollars for local children's charities — but also the biggest fashion moment of the year.

About 1,500 Dallas philanthropists sip bubbly and nibble canapes while they bid on fabulous silent auction packages and try their luck at the casino before enjoying a multicourse meal and dancing the night away in an over-the-top, floral-fantastic ballroom. The evening of opulent fun generates millions of dollars for different Dallas children's charities each year. The nonprofit Crystal Charity Ball has distributed more than $150 million in the past 68 years.

The 2020 beneficiaries were to be: Ability Connection, Catch Up & Read, Center for Vision Health, Children's Medical Center Foundation, Foundation for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Healing Hands Ministries, Mommies in Need, and North Texas Food Bank.

Crystal Charity will continue to raise funds, even without the gala. Partial proceeds from the inaugural Kips Bay Decorator Show House, on display through October 25 in Preston Hollow, are going to the organization.

The group also committed to raise $7,870,020 for the beneficiaries in February, and "we remain resolute in the face of adversity to distribute these critical funds in March of 2021."

Though the date of next year's ball has not been announced yet, Enthoven announced that "Ball activities including the luxury Silent Auction and Contribution Ticket drawing for exciting prizes will occur online during the first week of December, and our keepsake Children’s Book will also be distributed at that time."