Crown jewel gala
After sadly sitting out last year, Fort Worth's most glamorous gala and storied fundraiser, Jewel Charity Ball, returned in glittering fashion — and a full house was ready to party.
About 1,500 guests — dressed in their finest ballgowns and tuxedos — sipped, supped, shopped, mingled, and danced the night away at Will Rogers Memorial Center's Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall on Saturday, March 5.
Jewel Charity president Michelle Marlow oversaw the elegant evening, themed "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The cavernous hall was transformed into an opulent ballroom — with rhinestone cascades; voluminous white orchids, roses, tulips, hydrangeas, and cherry blossom trees; twinkling candles; and "Tiffany blue" lighting — all designed by Melanie Tatum Events.
At a pre-dinner reception, guests fueled up with tall pours of Champagne, crafted cocktails, and caviar-topped hors d'oeuvres while buying raffle tickets and bidding on silent auction items.
Up for grabs in the raffle were gift cards worth thousands to local establishments like Central Market and Shops at Clearfork, as well as interior design services, use of luxury cars, and more. The silent auction brought fierce bidding for trips to Mexico and Italy; sports and rodeo experiences; custom artwork; and more.
There were photo opps galore — in front of an official step-and-repeat backdrop, at a photo booth that looked like the cover of a local magazine, and even with a real-life celebrity: Eric Nelsen, star of 1883, and his wife, actress Sainty Nelsen, posed for selfies with star-struck fans.
It was hard to resist a visit to the Tiffany & Co. lounge, where guests could try on sparklers from the famous jeweler (and buy them, if they chose).
A multicourse dinner was prepared by Wolfgang Puck Catering, beginning with Fifth Avenue Salad (tender baby lettuce with blue cheese, avocado mousse, grapefruit, Nueske's bacon, and poppy seed dressing). Entree was "A Night in Manhattan," consisting of filet mignon with Dauphinoise potatoes, creamed spinach, and Bordelaise sauce. A dessert of Baked Alaska — with buttermilk cake, red berries, and Meyer lemon — crowned the meal.
During dinner, members of the Jordan Kahn Music Company String Orchestra serenaded guests, then the Mavs Dancers took the stage to perform a routine to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Mistress of ceremonies, Deborah Ferguson of NBC5, and Marlow welcomed guests and reminded them of the event's legacy in Fort Worth.
Co-founded in 1954 by Nenetta Burton Carter (wife of city benefactor Amon G. Carter) as a fundraiser for Cook Children's Medical Center, Jewel Charity has raised more than $75 million in its 67 years.
It's a powerhouse fundraiser — and also one fabulously fun party, as the rest of the night proved.
Two legendary groups — The Four Tops and The Temptations — got the crowd on its feet, moving and grooving to hits like "Can't Help Myself" and "My Girl."
But the fun didn't end when the legends left the stage. Another party band, Stratosphere, then kept the dance floor full to the wee hours.
On their way home, guests were treated to bags of croissants for nibbling in the car, or perhaps for a re-creation of Andrey Hepburn's famous "Breakfast at Tiffany's scene" from the iconic film.
Spotted in the crowd, having a great time and supporting Cook Children's, were patrons Kelly Greenwell, Paul Greenwell, Nancy Lamb, Azilee Stephenson, Corinne King, Gaylord Lummis, Sally Prater, Terri Sexton, Stephanie Baker, Laura Bird, Samantha Sawyer, Julie Sawyer, Joel Sawyer, Sarah Sawyer, Tara Campbell, Heather Martin, Marci Kramer, Hillary Decker, Jay Decker, Ro Rynd, Jordan Hunter, D'Angalo Jackson, Jennifer Johnson, Erica Pifer, Jaime Lokey, John Lokey, Rachael Quisenberry, Vicki Andrews, Rick Andrews, Colleen Shutt, Aaron Shutt, James Hunsaker, Wendy Hunsaker, Danny McKee, Jan McKee, Cedric James, Myriah James, Paul Dorman, Terri Anderson, Cynthia Marlow, Terry Hollingshead, George Marlow, Allison Sanders, Kay Genua, Pamela Murrin, Stephanie Diaise, GinJer Buttrill, Jason Key, Jessica Key, Rena Bailey, Chris Bailey, Erin Happ, Christopher Happ, Anne Paup, Debbie Christie, Paul Cowin, Pryor Cowin, Kelly Dillard, Jeff Dillard, Tori Chieffalo, Tucker Dillard, Kyle Wright, Brooke Wright, Carley Cagle, Ron Robertson, Jerry Robertson, Austin King, Kathy Sneed, Kennedy Collins, and Ashley German.