Night at the Museum
Outdoor gala revs up the heat and accelerates past $4 million for Dallas' Perot Museum
On a chilly, windy Saturday night, Dallas partygoers bundled up and boogied outdoors at one of fall's highest-wattage galas making its highly anticipated return.
The Perot Museum's annual Night at the Museum benefit was transformed into a night outside the museum, which proved not only a safer way to bring it back, post-COVID, but a creative way to shake up the whole event. "Accelerate" was an appropriately forward-thinking theme for the November 13 party, chaired by Lindsay and George Billingsley, Karen and Alan Katz, and Talene and Hagop Kozanian.
Typically, the mega-gala features food, bars, entertainment, and science-y experiments on each floor of the museum. This year, the main party took place under a long pavilion-style tent set up in the parking lot. There, guests could eat, drink, mingle, and dance — or make their way out to lounge seating around firepits and dozens of heat lamps.
To kick off the night, VIPs gathered on the museum plaza, where a few surprises waited. First, the big reveal that Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki will chair next year's 10th anniversary event. (Wait, has it really been 10 years since the Perot Museum opened?) Then, philanthropist Lyda Hill announced she was gifting the Perot $2 million on the spot, bringing the night's fundraising total to "at least" $4 million, as there were plenty of ways — big and small — for patrons to give throughout the night.
Suddenly, fireworks shot off from the roof, and the party revved into high gear.
First stop for most folks were the bars, where bartenders from Southern Glazer's shook several custom cocktails, including The Flash — a vodka concoction that changed colors from blue to pink when a personal pipette of citrus juice was squeeze in. Science!
Wolfgang Puck Catering made sure no one went hungry, as servers brought out an endless parade of apps, including adorable tiny tacos and empanadas. Inside the tent, guests filled up on delectable cuisine — Miso Glazed Sea Bass, Cacio e Pepe Mac & Cheese, Joyce Farms Yardbird Confit, and the star of the night, piping hot and flaky WP Signature Winter Chicken Truffle Pot Pie. Later, mini boozy Grasshopper Milkshakes were brought out, and an array of s'mores fixings were set up around fire tables.
The Walton Stout Band kept the beats lively so people could groove on the dance floor at one end of the tent and dance for a 360-degree video photo booth on the other.
Outside the pavilion, those with high-tech "fast bar" wristbands could support the museum's Community Partner’s Program through various opportunities and activations. A "Glow Pit Bar" sold blinking cowboy hats, rings, and necklaces for a small donation. Along the "Innovation Speedway," guests could try more than a half-dozen hands-on experiences and Tech Truck activities. Or they could try their luck at a casino or relive childhood fun at an "accelerate"-themed arcade area.
Although there were plenty of heaters to huddle under, attendees could shed their coats and wraps inside the museum while exploring permanent and special exhibits. Naturally, the one that attracted the most attention was the oh-so-sparkly "The Shape of Matter: Through An Artist’s Eye, Jewelry by Paula Crevoshay" in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. Sadly, all the dazzling pieces had to stay in the case.
Those spotted in the crowd, enjoying the evenings events included Adrienne Gehan, Heather Casey, Farrell Lacher, Brett Lacher, Margaret Hirsch, Brad Hirsch, Kathleen Randall, Angela Wright, Stephen Wright, Brian Falligant, Justin Evans, Caleb Hernandez, Dean Gresham, Courtney Record, Danielle Record, Deanna Jack, Jason Jack, Jim West, Allison Hubbard, Nicole Small, Abigail Williams, Oliver Davey, Cathleen Crews, Umrai Gill, Meghan Gill, Kristen Scavuzzo, Anthony Scavuzzo, William Theissen, Melanie Theissen, Doris Jacobs, Joyce Fox, Tiffani Kennedy, DeAnna Reed-Brown, Lauren McKinnon, and Zach McKinnon.