Time to steam the ballgowns and send the tuxes to the cleaner: Spring gala season has arrived.
Fort Worth's biggest fundraising balls - along with sleek cocktail soirees and panache-filled power luncheons - kick off early this year with Grand Entry Gala the first weekend of January. Then, don't sleep on tickets to see music icon Yo-Yo Ma headline the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert and Dinner in February. Jewel Charity Ball is going to Japan, and Classically Cliburn Gala is headed to Monte Carlo.
Photo by Lawrence Jenkins
Here are the 10 spring dates every social butterfly in Fort Worth should circle now.
Junior League Grand Entry Gala, January 7
Saddle up for the first big gala of the season. Junior League of Fort Worth's annual Grand Entry Gala serves as serves as a glam kickoff to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which officially starts on January 13. The Western-chic evening features dinner, dancing, cocktails, silent auction, and a concert by vintage country stars Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, and Neal McCoy. The 2023 gala returns to "the dirt floor" of Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, and Grand Entry Gala supports the organization's mission to promote volunteerism, develop the potential in women, and improve the lives of women and children in Fort Worth. This year's president is Becky Escott. For more information, head here.
Fort Worth Symphony Gala, February 25
The title alone - "Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: A Gala Evening featuring Yo-Yo Ma" - should tell you that tickets will go quick. Good thing there are options for those wanting to spend an evening in the presence of the global cellist superstar. First, Yo-Yo Ma will mesmerize listeners at Bass Hall with a performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto with the FWSO, under the direction of music director Robert Spano. The the black-tie gala amps up post-concert, with themed cocktails, a delectable four-course meal, and dancing in the Grand Ballroom of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel. Gala chair Mercedes T. Bass and co-chairs Ashli Blumenfeld, Anne Marie Bratton, Mary Hart Lipscomb, Kim Johnson, and Misty Locke will bring the unforgettable evening to life in support of Music Education initiatives. Limited tickets remain for both the Gala Concert and Dinner. For information about the dinner, email Development Manager Malia Lewis.
St. Jude Celebration at Sundown, February 25
Coming off a record-breaking event last year, organizers have moved this annual affair to a bigger venue: Tannahill's Tavern, the new restaurant-music venue in the Stockyards' Mule Alley. Benefiting the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and chaired by Jennifer Wright and Paige Charbonnet, the cocktail-casual evening annually includes silent and live auctions, dancing, drinks, dinner, and live entertainment. It's always a powerful evening, with a special emphasis on the challenges that child cancer patients face. Families who go to St. Jude, founded by Danny Thomas and located in Memphis, Tennessee, never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. Tickets and information are here.
Go Red for Women Luncheon, March 3
Benefiting the American Heart Association's efforts to research and eradicate cardiovascular disease in women, this annual heartfelt luncheon will take place at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel and is chaired by Texas Health's Jennifer Chavez and Becky Tucker. They typically offer onsite health screenings, as well as champagne, a multicourse lunch, speakers, and onstage performances. After the luncheon, be sure to save the date for Tarrant County's Heart Ball, which is April 22, with more details to be announced soon. For more information and tickets to Go Red, visit tarrantcountygored.heart.org
Jewel Charity Ball, March 4
Fort Worth's grandest gala, the 68th Jewel Charity Ball - themed “Gateway to Kyoto” - will be held at Will Rogers Memorial Center, Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall. Jewel Charity president Shannon Shivers and ball co-chairs Hillary Jennings, Suzanne Sanders, and Peggy Sims - along with ball designer Bill Robertson with Events by Bill - are planning an elegant evening inspired by Japan. The night will include a seated dinner by Wolfgang Puck, dancing, a silent auction, and raffle, all capped with a performance by legendary band Kool and the Gang. Of course, JCB's official jeweler, Collections Fine Jewelry, will add some sparkle with an onsite store featuring cases of exclusive pieces. Since 1954, Jewel Charity has helped raise nearly $80 million for Cook Children's Hospital, and the ball celebrates the Angel donors who generously support the patients. For information and tickets, visit jewelcharity.org or call 817-347-6104.
Classically Cliburn Gala, March 31
This year, the glamorous black-tie ball goes to glamorous Monaco. "Classically Cliburn Gala 2023: Monte Carlo" will feature all the signs and sounds of the French Riviera destination. The gala also takes place in a new location: Fort Worth Club. Event co-chairs are Gina and Bob Ravnaas, and honorary chairs are Teresa and Luther King. Throughout the night, gala-goers will drink, eat, dance, and enjoy the chance to mingle with Fort Worth's most influential patrons of arts and culture — all while remembering the Cliburn's mission to advance piano and classical music around the world. For gala information and tickets, visit the website, email email@example.com, or call 817-738-6536.
Butterfly Wishes Gala, April 14
A Wish with Wings has been bringing joyful experiences to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1983. Last year's 40th anniversary Butterfly Wishes Gala, themed "Where the Wish Begins," raised a record-breaking $500,000, which will helped grant the wishes of 65 young Texans. Details are still in the works for this year's gala; it takes place April 14. Check the website for more details.
Texas Ballet Theater Opening Night Dinner, May 26
One big change that COVID brought was a shift, for some organizations, away from big galas to smaller, more targeted fundraising events. Texas Ballet Theater is focusing its spring efforts on two Opening Night Dinners ahead of the premiere of Alice in Wonderland in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Guests will enjoy an exclusive dinner and hear from the artistic staff behind the ballet before heading into the theater to watch the last production of the season. The Dallas Opening Night Dinner will be Friday, May 19 and the Fort Worth dinner will be Friday, May 26; location TBA but not far from Bass Hall, where the performance will take place. Check the website for more details.
Puttin' on the Pink Luncheon, April 18
The 30th anniversary edition of this fashion-forward luncheon will bring all the best-dressed women (and some men, too) to the Fort Worth Convention Center ballroom. 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. Event chair Wendy Wright — and her mile-long host committee of influential Fort Worth women — is planning a sit-down lunch and a Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of the latest looks provided by Neiman Marcus. Arrive early for a Champagne reception. For information and tickets, visit the website.
TEX Gala, April 20
This rare Thursday night gala benefits the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which improves the lives of children, the military, and first responders' families in the community. Attendees will experience a red-carpet arrival, dinner on the playing surface of Globe Life Field, live and silent auctions featuring exclusive Rangers experiences and sports and Hollywood memorabilia, and a live performance from country superstar Kenny Chesney. For information and tickets, visit the website.