Party for a Cause

13 top spring charitable events every Fort Worth socialite must attend

13 top spring charitable events every Fort Worth socialite must attend

Molly Thompson, Carla Thompson, Kate Thompson, cliburn gala
Molly Thompson, Carla Thompson, and Kate Thompson at the 2014 Classically Cliburn Gala. Photo by Joyce Marshall
Mad Scientist Ball, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
At the Mad Scientist Ball, patrons wear white lab coats and drink cocktails that look like science experiments. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Texas Ballet Theater, Come Dance with Us Gala
Texas Ballet Theater's dancers keep its gala dance floor moving all night. Photo by Andy Keye + Whitney Photography
Fort Worth Zoo presents Beastro
Beastro is the Fort Worth Zoo's delicious fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth Symphony Gala, Joshua Bell, Mercedes Bass, Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Superstar violinist Joshua Bell with FWSO chairman Mercedes Bass and music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya at the 2016 symphony gala. Photo courtesy of FWSO
Tablescape, Design Inspirations 2017
A TCU football-themed tablescape at Design Inspirations 2017. Photo by Sharon Ellman
Acting with the Stars, Stage West
Stage West's Acting with the Stars competition has local celebrities perform scenes with professional actors and directors. Photo by Buddy Myers
Molly Thompson, Carla Thompson, Kate Thompson, cliburn gala
Mad Scientist Ball, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Texas Ballet Theater, Come Dance with Us Gala
Fort Worth Zoo presents Beastro
Fort Worth Symphony Gala, Joshua Bell, Mercedes Bass, Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Tablescape, Design Inspirations 2017
Acting with the Stars, Stage West

After the diets of January come the gowns of February, March, April, and May. Fort Worth's spring social season is gearing up to be one for the diaries. As usual, the arts groups are planning some of the most star-studded galas of the year. But ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch also get gorgeous afternoon events with tablescapes, fashion shows, handbag-shopping, and more. Here are dates to circle in your social diary for spring.

Fort Worth Symphony Gala, February 10
On this black-tie evening, start at Bass Hall with a concert by legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, playing music from favorite films including Casablanca, Out of Africa, Far and Away, and Schindler’s List. Then board the trolley for the Worthington Renaissance Hotel, where a cocktail reception, multicourse dinner, and dancing to live entertainment commence in the Grand Ballroom. (Concert tickets may be purchased separately.)

Stage West Acting with the Stars, February 14
This unique benefit doubles as a Valentine's date night; ladies even go home from the Fort Worth Club with roses and chocolate. Stage West pairs actors and directors with local celebrities to perform short scenes from real plays. Hilarity ensues. Throughout the evening — which includes cocktails, a silent auction, and dinner — guests can jockey for their favorite stars and then cast (and buy) votes for the winner, who gets crowned at the end of the night. This year is an all-star version and will name a grand champion among winners from the past five years.

Mad Scientist Ball, February 17
Don your best "geek chic" and pull on a lab coat when you arrive at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for its colorful fundraiser. Along with dinner and specialty cocktails, expect some hands-on experiments throughout the museum. This year's event explores "The Science of Sound" and features the stylings of sound artist Abinadi Meza, dancing, and a "silent disco." Attendees will get a backstage pass to the museum's spring traveling exhibit, "Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World" and will go behind the scenes of the new planetarium show, "Live at the Noble."

Celebration of the Arts, February 24
Arts Council Fort Worth has themed this year's jam-packed fundraiser "Art in the Dark." Live entertainment at the Community Arts Center party includes a sneak preview of Casa Mañana's Jekyll & Hyde, as well as performances by Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Sol Ballet Folklorico, and many more local groups. There also will be visual art displays, short films, live music, food stations, and cocktails.

Come Dance with Us! Gala, March 3
Texas Ballet Theater throws one of the most high-energy galas in town, as the young and beautiful dancers keep the dance floor moving all night. This event, themed "Pirouettes and Pianos," has multiple parts: start with dinner at Maddox-Muse Center, then walk across the street to Bass Hall for a TBT performance of Henry VII and Seven Sonatas, accompanied by Cliburn pianist Sean Chen. Then head back to Maddox-Muse for an after-party, including a silent auction and dancing to The Project Band. (Performance and after-party tickets may be purchased separately.)

Design Inspirations, March 8
Fans of beautiful design will descend upon Ridglea Country Club for the 25th anniversary of this luncheon, a fundraiser thrown by the Fort Worth Alumnae Associations of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi. Gill Children’s Services, Inc. and Rivertree Academy are this year's beneficiaries. The event features more than 60 tables elaborately decorated by local interior designers, florists, and creative individuals. New York-based interior designer Marshall Watson will give the keynote speech. Those who buy tickets to a preview party the day before the main event will get the first chance to view the tables.

Butterfly Wishes Gala, March 23
A Wish with Wings has been bringing joyful experiences to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1983. This year's anniversary gala, themed "Let the Magic Begin," will honor Dr. Paul Bowman, who referred the first child to be granted a wish by the organization. The heartwarming event, at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, features not only dinner and entertainment but a visit from a special "wish family," who will share their brave child's story.

Puttin' on the Pink Luncheon, March 27
Fort Worth Convention Center is the location for this beloved luncheon. It's hosted by the Kupferle Health Board of Texas Health Resources Foundation and supports mobile health outreach and screenings for underserved women in Tarrant County. Enjoy lunch and a fashion show of the latest looks presented by sponsor Neiman Marcus, including designs by Anne Fontaine, Betty Reiter, Escada, Nardos Design, Tootsies, and more.

Classically Cliburn Gala, April 6
If there's one gala everyone in town shines their shoes for, it's the Cliburn's. This year, "A Russian Romance" will pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of Van Cliburn’s victory at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. The event, held at Ridglea Country Club, will also honor immediate past chairman Carla Kemp Thompson and her husband, Kelly. Expect plenty of vodka, caviar, and dancing during the Russian-inspired evening.

It's in the Bag! Lunch & Auction, April 13
Supporters of Ladder Alliance pack into Ridglea Country Club for this fun and feminine lunch, handbag auction, and shopping experience. Cynthia Izaguirre of WFAA News 8 will emcee the sixth annual event, which helps provide women in need with tools, skills, and education needed to live independent lives and thrive in the workplace.

Tarrant County Heart Ball, April 14 
More of a rollicking party than a traditional ball, this popular event raises funds for the American Heart Association. The celebratory evening, held at Shipping and Receiving bar, will include cocktails, a live auction, dinner provided by nearby Heim Barbecue, and dancing to rad '80s music courtesy of party band Live 80.

Beastro, May 18
One of the hottest tickets in town for young professionals, Beastro is the Fort Worth Zoo’s annual music and tasting event that supports wildlife conservation and education efforts. Beastro features food from local restaurants and open bars stationed throughout the zoo, as well as live music entertainment. Several animal exhibits remain open until the sun goes down, too.

Evening of Hope, May 19
The annual black-tie gala benefits AIDS Outreach Center and is the largest fundraiser for HIV/AIDS in Fort Worth. This year's event, taking place at the Hilton Hotel Fort Worth and emceed by Emmy winner Barry Phillips, is a masquerade ball with the theme "With Hope, Anything Is Possible." In addition to dinner and auctions, members of the Dallas-based Turtle Creek Chorale will perform. Upper-level donors will enjoy a pre-gala reception in the famed Kennedy Suite, where President Kennedy spent the last night of his life.