Fort Worth, it's time to party. Fall social season is here, and that means benefits and fundraisers galore. We've scoured the social calendar through the end of the year to come up with a list of the city's 10 must-attend philanthropic fêtes. They range from a casual day of barbecue for breast cancer causes, to a charity gala where margaritas flow freely. There's a new fundraiser starring a sports legend and a Hollywood-style ball that promises great celeb-spotting. Several parties celebrate significant anniversaries in special ways. But all the events likely will sell out, so don't delay your reservations — nor your wardrobe shopping. Here are the dates to bookmark this fall.
Behind the Mask, October 4
The first big event of the season is also the newest one. Communities in Schools of Greater Tarrant County, which for years hosted the girlfriend-fueled "Wine, Women & Shoes" fundraiser, is switching to a new benefit with a big-name headliner: Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith. Behind the Mask takes place at Ridglea Country Club and includes cocktails, dinner, a keynote by Smith, a liquor pull, raffle, auction, and dancing to Trey & the Tritones (fingers crossed the Dancing with the Stars champ will show off his moves on the dance floor). Behind the Mask — a reference to going "behind the mask" of challenges faced by local at-risk students — is co-chaired by Teresa and Clay Paslay and Karen and Bob Pence. Important fashion note: It's cocktail attire, and masks are encouraged.
Cowtown Ball, October 4
The 26th Cowtown Ball, the American Cancer Society’s well-attended Western-chic gala, returns to the sprawling Whiskey Ranch distillery for the second year in a row. This year’s event, themed “Stars and Stetsons,” is co-chaired by Carlee Hughes and Christinna Oldham and honors the Alan Luskey family. The fun evening will include cuisine by Magdalena's and open bar, fabulous live and silent auction items, and a crowd favorite, pig races. Guests will dance under the stars to live entertainment by Reckless Kelly.
A Cool Night by Candlelight, October 5
The WARM Place's biggest fundraiser of the year will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the organization that serves grieving children and families. Event chair Lauren Bailey and her committee have planned an elegant evening at River Crest Country Club that begins with a cocktail hour to view more than 150 fabulous auction items. (Don't miss the exclusive selection of jewelry presented by Bachendorf's.) Dinner will feature flank steak and chicken, along with a birthday dessert bar. After remarks, a live auction, and champagne toast, guests will move and groove to live music by The Manhattan Band.
Cocktails in Cowtown Preview Party, October 9
Christmas in Cowtown, the girlfriend gathering of fall, officially kicks off the holiday shopping season in Fort Worth. Dozens of vendors will be on hand as the Junior League of Fort Worth's gift market takes place October 10-13 at Will Rogers Memorial Center. But every savvy shopper in town knows it's best to pony up $100 for this special, private preview party to get first dibs on all the great merchandise. Plus, you get to sip champagne and nosh on bites from local restaurants and sweet shops. If you can't make it, there's a second chance for a private shopping party at the Making Spirits Bright Brunch, the morning of October 10. Both are ticketed events.
Monster Music Mash, October 25
Blue suede shoes are encouraged for Monster Music Mash, the big 40th anniversary bash benefiting the Women’s Center of Tarrant County. The Halloween-time party known for over-the-top costumes moves to Ridglea Country Club, and guests can dress up like their favorite band or musical act, or simply come dressed to impress. Event co-chairs Lori Bruce, Carmen Hudman, Shel Juliao, Christen O’Neal, and Dana Quisenberry have a big night in store. It includes a "Guitar Hero" contest and "Dance Dance Revolution" play, karaoke, a tattoo parlor, a Back Stage Club, a "rockin’ auction and raffle," and dinner and cocktails, too. Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra will keep the dance floor rocking into the wee hours.
BoobieQue, October 27
The most casual event on the list truly puts the fun in fundraising for an important cause. BoobieQue was started in 2016 to take Breast Cancer Awareness Month one step further by raising and providing funds directly to patients, family members, and caregivers; this year's event benefits Cancer Care Services and The WARM Place. Co-founded by breast cancer survivor and plastic surgeon Dr. Emily McLaughlin, with her friends Carrie Carter and Matt Wallace, BoobieQue is a full day of themed activities, such as Bra Pong and Titty Toss (cornhole played with breast implants) and Boobs and Butts (a creative take on the classic "Heads or Tails"). The event, which takes place at Rahr & Sons Brewing Company, includes food from Heim Barbecue and Melt Ice Creams, as well as auctions, raffles, and entertainment by Kirk House Band. Throughout the day, the Texas Health Resources Mobile Health Unit will conduct on-site mammograms (those who book an appointment will receive free event admission).
Fort Worth Margarita Ball, November 9
This annual ball, benefiting Children's Charities of Fort Worth, seems to get buzzier every year. A 21-and-up crowd dresses to impress in traditional black-tie or cocktail attire, or in their Western formal best. This year's gala features multiple parts in multiple rooms at the Worthington Renaissance hotel. After a VIP dinner reception, the main gala will include light hors d'oeuvres and complimentary margaritas (while they last — go early); entertainment by Latin Express and a casino in one room, music by Walton Stout Band and silent auction in another room; plus pictures with Santa, a Mustard Seed Jewelry photo booth, and more. An "after glow" for night owls begins at midnight and will include hand-rolled cigars, desserts, live entertainment, and, of course, more margaritas. Guests should bring a new, unwrapped toy for ages 0-13, with a minimum value of $25.
Lone Star Film Festival Gala, November 14
Hosted by co-chairs Angelique De Luca and Michael De Luca, this year's Hollywood-style ball promises a night of food, libations, and celebrity appearances on the red carpet at the Worthington Renaissance. While the first 10 festival films have been announced, this year's big award winners and honorees are still under wraps. (But here's hoping ex-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo drops in for the night, as his biopic will get its Fort Worth premiere during the festival.) The glitzy night benefits the Johnny Langdon Film Education Initiative, which provides film programs, including film camps, for all ages in Fort Worth.
Mad Scientist Ball, November 16
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's Mad Scientist Ball is going "Back to the Future" to celebrate 10 years in its Legorreta building and 70 years of Museum School. Guests should get ready to laugh with the improv geniuses of Four Day Weekend and experience the magic of Brian Masters and Anthony Dempsey, then dance the night away to music by Adrian Garza. The event's signature "Mad Scientist" experiments will take place throughout the evening, as will the chances to soar in a Lockheed Martin flight simulator and to look inside a Delorean Time Machine replica. No one will go home hungry, with a lineup of Fort Worth chefs and restaurants providing signature dishes throughout the museum. They include: Back Dough, Blue Mesa, Capital Grille, Abe Froman, Lonesome Dove, Righteous Foods, and more. Serving as this year's co-chairs are Carter Martin, Josie Martin, and Sheila Johnson.
Kimbell Art Museum Red Party, December 6
The Kimbell Art Museum's big fundraising gala has the theme "Night at the Kasbah" and promises to feel like an evening in Morocco. This year’s event will celebrate the Kimbell’s special exhibition, "Renoir: The Body, The Senses," which guests will get to view. The annual young art patrons' benefit, co-chaired by Lisa Alcorn, Hannah Ryon Davis, and Whitney Wynne, will include hors d'oeuvres, an art auction, and dancing to the music of DJ Blake Ward. Proceeds go toward Kimbell Kids Education Programs.