Fort Worth's spring social season is gearing up to be one for the diaries. Spring is when most of the major arts groups throw their fundraising balls. They're not only the most glamorous galas in town, but they always hold a few fun surprises — how could they not, when they're supporting artists, musicians, dancers, and actors? Aiming to shake up their routines, a few of the major events have moved to exciting new venues. Three use great places as their themes: Paris, New York, and the South. And one group celebrates a 40th anniversary in a truly magical way.
Here are 11 dates to circle on your calendar now.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Gala, February 9
On this black-tie evening, start at Bass Hall with a concert in which Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie and Mike Mills of R.E.M. fame join the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya. They'll be accompanied by a rock band for a cutting-edge performance of Mills’ Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra, a work written for McDuffie. After the concert, board a trolley for a new venue this year — the Omni Fort Worth Hotel — where a cocktail reception, multicourse dinner, and dancing to live entertainment commence in the Fort Worth Ballroom. The evening is underwritten by FWSO's most generous patron, chairman of the board, and gala chair, Mercedes T. Bass. (At this late date, dinner tickets and concert tickets are still available; call 817-665-6500 to inquire about the dinner; purchase separate concert tickets at fwsymphony.org.)
Design Inspirations, February 20-21
If you love "home design porn," this is the event to attend. 2019 marks the 26th anniversary of this beloved luncheon, a fundraiser at Ridglea Country Club 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. There are two chances to see them — at the Preview Party (with cocktails, dinner, and entertainment) the evening of February 20, or at the Luncheon on February 21. Lifestyle expert and best-selling author James Farmer will give the luncheon's keynote speech, and his most recent book, A Place to Call Home, will be featured. Tickets are sold separately for each event.
Stage West Ruby Anniversary Gala, February 27
A 40th birthday calls for celebrating the past, present and future, and that's exactly what Stage West is doing at this very special event. The storied Fort Worth theater is throwing a creative fete in the Fort Worth Club's gorgeous Horizon Room. Not only will it include wine, dinner, chocolates, music, and silent and live auctions, but a magic show, too. Award-winning magician Trigg Watson and the Stage West Musical Team, led by Cherish Robinson, will take the stage for a show called "Magic, Music, and Memories." At the helm of the the semi-formal affair are event chairs Jim Zadeh and The Hon. Ann Zadeh, with Drs. Janice Knebl and Thomas Fairchild serving as honorary chairs.
Texas Ballet Theater Come Dance With Us Gala, March 2
Texas Ballet Theater added an after-party to its gala, which was brilliant because it lets TBT's young and beautiful dancers keep the dance floor moving all night (and attracts more young patrons by offering a much lower ticket price). The night has multiple parts, which unfold like this: start with cocktails and dinner at Maddox-Muse Center, then walk across the street to Bass Hall for a TBT performance of mixed repertory (In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; 11:11; and Ghost Dances). Then head back to Maddox-Muse for an after-party that includes a silent auction, snacks, drinks, and dancing to a live band. This year's gala honors Janet and Crawford Brock for their support of TBT; attire is cocktail. Performance and after-party tickets may be purchased separately.
Puttin' on the Pink Luncheon, March 27
This fashion-focused luncheon brings all the high heels to the Fort Worth Convention Center. 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. Co-chairs Sona Dave and Courtney Mitchell are planning a sit-down lunch and a fashion show of the latest looks from Betty Reiter, Hadleigh’s, Nardos, Squire Shop, Tootsies, and You Are Here. This is the one event that even has a cosmetics sponsor, too: luxury brand Chantecaille.
St. Jude Celebration at Sundown, March 30
This elegant dinner, taking place at the Ashton Depot, will benefit the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dancing, drinks, and dinner, and live entertainment by hilarious improv group Four Day Weekend. It promises to be a powerful evening, as patrons will hear from a patient family about their personal St Jude journey. Honorary chair is St. Jude patient Tyler Bates, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 2. Families who go to St. Jude never receive a bill from them for treatment, travel, housing, or food.
Casa Mañana Annual Gala, April 6
Guests of Casa Mañana Theatre's 2019 gala will be transported to the Big Apple under the theme “A Night of New York Lights.” (Even the dress code is the very chic-sounding "New York-themed cocktail.") Dinner will be provided by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and entertainment, by InVersion Band. There will be fabulous items up for auction throughout the night, too. Stephanie and Josh Roehm serve as co-chairs of the gala, which takes place at the famous silver-domed theater. Proceeds benefit the theater's arts education and outreach initiatives.
Classically Cliburn Gala, April 12
Always one of the most anticipated events of the season, the Cliburn's black-tie ball goes to Paris this year. "Classically Cliburn Gala 2019: Passion Paris" will start with an elegant reception that evokes the Parisian joie de vivre; a Paris supper-club seated dinner; dancing to the music of Jimmy Vali and his 13-piece band; and classic casino games. Ridglea Country Club will be transformed with decorations that highlight the architecture, elegance, and style of the City of Love. (The theme happens to coincide with the Cliburn's "Iconic Paris"-themed festival of concerts taking place Valentine's weekend, February 14-17.) The gala will honor long-time Cliburn patron Mildred Hedrick Fender, and Anne Marie and Doug Bratton are its co-chairs.
Fort Worth Heart Ball, April 13
The rollicking American Heart Association fundraiser moves to an exciting new venue this year — the Fort Worth Zoo. Guests can expect a celebratory evening of drinks, dinner, desserts, auctions, and entertainment. A special "Open Your Heart" appeal allows for a chance to give directly to AHA's efforts to eradicate heart disease in Tarrant County.
Fort Worth Opera Gala, May 4
Celebrating singing that's as smooth as butter and as sweet as honey, Fort Worth Opera throws a "Southern Soirée Gala" at the Stonegate Mansion this year. The elegant evening will feature a four-course dinner of cuisine created especially for the event by favorite Fort Worth chef Juan Rodriguez, along with premium wines paired with each course. The musical highlight of the night will be a performance by world-renowned soprano Jennifer Rowley. She will be joined by two of the stars of the 2019 Fort Worth Opera Festival, international tenor Daniel Montenegro and exciting young soprano Maren Weinberger. Cocktails will flow from beginning to end.
Evening of Hope Gala, May 11
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, has the theme "Imagine & Believe," and will include auctions, dinner, cocktails, and entertainment. Attendees will have an opportunity to pre-purchase premium seating for the gala at a kickoff party March 24 at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams showroom in the Shops at Clearfork.