The gown lowdown
Save the date for Dallas' 11 most glam galas and lavish luncheons this fall
Dallas' fall fundraising forecast calls for champagne-sprinkled afternoons and haute evenings to make it rain millions for local nonprofits.
Cattle Baron's Ball blazes in with a 50th anniversary bash featuring pop-country queen Shania Twain. Two power lunches star powerful actresses Kerry Washington and Brooke Shields. And Crystal Charity Ball doubles down on the art and soul of its mission with "Masterpieces in the Making."
Beyond being fun, fancy parties to attend, these glitzy galas and lavish lunches raise crucial funds for organizations around Dallas, many of which are still feeling the economic effects of the pandemic. So grab your pen, circle these all-important dates in your social diary, and get those gowns and tuxes to the cleaners.
Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show & Luncheon, September 8
Per tradition, the annual Crystal Charity Ball luncheon and fashion show honoring the 10 best-dressed women of Dallas (as chosen by the organization) will kick off the fall society season. The 48th edition will take place at Neiman Marcus Downtown and will start with a late-morning champagne reception, followed by a seated luncheon and runway fashion presentation with guest designer Adam Lippes. Guiding the event are Angie Kadesky, Crystal Charity Ball chair, and Patty Leyendecker, Fashion Show chair. This year's "best-dressed" honorees areMarybeth Conlon, Monica Eastin, Kim Hext, Libby Hegi, Meredith Land, Ann McPherson, Wendy Messmann, Kim Quinn, Lisa Rocchio, and Sunie Solmon; Claire Emanuelson is the Hall of Fame honoree. Proceeds will help fund seven local children's charities. Tickets are sold out, but for more information, visit the website.
New Friends New Life Luncheon featuring Kerry Washington, September 29
New Friends New Life will welcome Kerry Washington, an Emmy-winning, and SAG nominated actor, producer, director and lifelong advocate and activist, as the speaker at its annual luncheon, a celebration of the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary. Taking place at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, the luncheon is co-chaired by Tracey Nash-Huntley and David Huntley, and Elizabeth Carlock Phillips and Kevin Phillips. Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt, Pat and Pete Schenkel, and Gail and Dr. Gerald Turner are honorary co-chairs. New Friends New Life assists trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women and their children, and raises awareness of the issue. Luncheon tickets start at $250, available on the event website.
Dallas Symphony Gala and After Party, September 30
The DSO's mega-gala is a "choose your own adventure" event: come for the concert only, dance the night away at the after-party, or make an entire evening of it and start early with a pre-concert reception and dinner. This year's Gala Concert stars two music luminaries: pianist Emanuel Ax and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. Leonard makes her DSO debut in selections from Bizet’s beloved Carmen, and Ax will perform works by Chopin. Maestro Fabio Luisi and the DSO will round out the evening with Ravel's La Valse. The After-Party Experience, featuring live music by Q The Band, will take place in the Meyerson Symphony Center lobby afterwards. This year's gala is under the guidance of co-chairs Kim and Greg Hext, with Diane and Hal Brierley as honorary chairs; Jane Humphrey and Samantha Wortley are co-chairing the after-party. Tickets (starting at $140 for concert and after-party and $1,250 for the whole evening) are available on the DSO site.
Trailblazer Awards Luncheon featuring Brook Shields, October 10
Model, actress, and author Brooke Shieldswill deliver the keynote address at the 2023 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on October 10 (note the date change - it's no longer September 29). The annual fundraiser benefits The Family Place, Texas’ largest family violence service agency marking its 45th year. Lindsay Jacaman and Holly Krug will serve as luncheon co-chairs, with philanthropists and former Real Housewives of Dallas stars Stephanie and Travis Hollman as honorary chairs. The event will include a VIP reception, seated luncheon, and recognition of this year’s Texas Trailblazer Award recipient, Mary Kay Inc. CEO Ryan Rogers. The Family Place also will honor Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia and State Representative Victoria Neave Criado with the Legislative Impact Award. Tickets start at $350, available on The Family Place's website.
Cattle Baron's Ball, October 14
Dallas' ultimate Western-glitz party celebrates its landmark 50th year with one of the biggest headliners yet - Shania Twain. Co-chairs Isabell Novakov Higginbotham and Andrea Cheek have picked the theme “Iconic” for the American Cancer Society's 50th anniversary fundraiser. It's headed back to Southfork Ranch for the second year in a row, for a night of boots, bling, barbecue, beer, and bidding in the biggest luxury auction of the year. Texas country-rock giant Randy Rogers Band will open the night at the VIP Party. Cattle Baron's Ball is the largest single-night fundraiser in the nation for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. Information and a wait-list for tickets can be found here.
SPCA Fur Ball, October 20
A gala for true party animals, the annual black-tie ball raises important funds for SPCA of Texas' mission to provide every animal with exceptional care and a loving home. Plus, it's the only local formal event where guests include furry, four-legged friends. Human attendees will enjoy dinner, dancing, entertainment, Pony Up for Paws, and live and silent auctions. Taking place at a new location this year - The Factory at Deep Ellum - the 2023 gala is chaired by Christie and Elbert Choi, with an assist from honorary chair Jack D. Knox. Tickets (from $400) are available here.
Two x Two Gala, October 21
Stars from the worlds of art, fashion, and philanthropy annually gather for an invitation-only gala and art auction that raises jaw-dropping sums for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art (more than $113 million to date). Hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and Lisa and John Runyon at Rachofsky House, this year's black-tie gala will honor artist Maria Berrio. The black-tie gala dinner will feature a live and silent auction of significant contemporary art, as well as the presentation of amfAR’s 2023 Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS. In a new twist, there's no "First Look" party this year - just the gala. While these invitations are among the hardest-to-get in town, the public can view the art auction catalogue online.
FGI Night of Stars, November 10
Hundreds of Dallas’ most stylish will descend on the Ritz-Carlton hotel for Fashion Group International of Dallas’ haute black-tie gala and runway show, which will raise funds for scholarships for aspiring fashion professionals. This year's chairs are Holly Quartaro and Cristina Graham, and honorary chair is New York Fashion Week creatorFern Mallis. Designer-to-the-starsChristian Siriano is the Achievement in Fashion honoree, legendary model Bethann Hardison is the Lifetime Legacy honoree, artist Ashley Longshore is the Exuberance in Art honoree, and Nina Garcia of Elle Magazine and Project Runway is the Excellence in Media honoree. For more information and tickets, visit the website.
Perot Night at the Museum, November 11
Still basking in the glow of last year's blockbuster 10th anniversary gala headed up by VIP couple Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki, the 2023 edition promises to be just as show-stopping. The annual gala is one of the most fun and interactive fundraising evenings all season, with action taking place on all floors of the Perot Museum. This year's chairs, Catalina Gonzalez and Santiago Jorba and Elizabeth and Kevin Phillips, have planned food and drinks inspired by the museum's exhibits, hands-on experiments, live music, and more. All proceeds go toward the museum's initiatives to provide scholarships and financial assistance to schools and families. More information and tickets to come, but underwriting opportunities are here.
AT&T Performing Arts Center Bravo! Gala, November 18
Always an ovation-worthy evening, the fundraising celebration in support of the AT&T Performing Arts Center will feature a seated dinner on the Shannon and Ted Skokos Stage of the Winspear Opera House, followed by a performance by the hit indie/alternative band Lake Street Dive. The evening will start with a progressive cocktail hour that uses multi-level lobby spaces for performances by members of the Center's five resident companies. Co-chairs for the gala are Diane Brierley and Ellen Winspear. The night will honor The Moody Foundation, a historic and philanthropic giant in Dallas arts. Information and tickets (from $1,200) are here.
Crystal Charity Ball, December 9
The grand finale to Dallas gala season has the artful theme of "Masterpieces in the Making." It's a double entendre, explains ball chair Angie Kadesky. "While classic artistic masterpieces will be the decorative motif at the ball, the real masterpieces in the making are the children we serve," she says. Specifically this year, the seven local charities chosen as Crystal Charity Ball beneficiaries are: After School All Stars, Buckner Children Family Services, Fair Park First, Family Gateway, Metrocare Services, Salvation Army of North Texas, and YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. As always, the glamorous black-tie evening will take shape in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole. Tickets are invitation-only; inquire about underwriting and more opportunities to participate here.
Also time to RSVP for:
- Each Moment Matters Luncheon featuring Jason B. Rosenthal, September 12
- Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Art for Advocacy, September 16
- AIN Dallas Bloomin' Ball Bloomin' Ball, September 23
- Aging Mind Foundation Bowling Ball Bowling Ball, September 23
- Texas Women's Foundation Luncheon featuring Storm Reid, September 26
- Kidney Texas Runway Report Luncheon and Fashion Show Luncheon and Fashion Show, September 26
- Farrah Fawcett Foundation Tex-Mex Fiesta, September 28
- Our Friends Place 35th Anniversary Gala, Auction & Casino Night, September 30
- Frontiers of Flight Museum "A New Frontiers" Gala, October 7
- Dallas 24 Hour Club All Star Chef Classic All Star Chef Classic, October 8
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Fashion Notes Luncheon, October 12
- AT&T Performing Arts Center Turn Up the Lights Benefit, October 21
- Disco Gala and Auction benefiting African American Museum, Dallas, October 21
- Austin Street Center Humble Beginnings Luncheon featuring Condoleeza Rice, October 27
- Black Tie Dinner, October 28
- Junior League of Dallas Auction Party, November 4
- St. Jude Evening Under the Stars Party, November 4
- Operation Kindness Canines, Cats & Cabernet GalaCanines, Cats & Cabernet Gala, November 4
- Dallas Arboretum Women's Council A Writer’s Garden Luncheon, November 7
- Cancer Support Community North Texas Red Tie Gala, November 11
- Folds of Honor Gala, November 11
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Black Tie Ball, November 11