RSVP to the 13 must-attend galas and fêtes in Fort Worth this fall
To borrow the oldest pun in the checkbook, philanthropic events are putting the "fun" in "fundraising" around Fort Worth this fall.
With themes like "Disco Cowboy" (Cowtown Ball), "Rewind to the '90s" (Behind the Mask), "Ignite the Magic" (Margarita Ball), "Up, Up and Away" (A Cool Night for the WARM Place), and "Out of this World," (Monster Mash), who wouldn't want to RSVP to every gala and soiree this season?
Beyond being fancy parties to attend, these events raise crucial funds for local nonprofit organizations, some of which are still regaining losses from pandemic-related setbacks.
Now, start shining your boots, shopping for your gowns (or costumes), enter these dates in your calendar, and click the links for tables and tickets.
A Cool Night for the WARM Place, September 16
The WARM Place's biggest fundraiser of the year goes "Up, Up and Away" at River Crest Country Club for 2023. Guests at the cocktail-chic gala can expect an evening of elegant cuisine, live entertainment, auctions, and more — all under the guidance of chair Lauren Muckleroy and her committee. The WARM Place provides peer-support groups for children and their families after the death of a loved one. This year, the signature event will celebrate the completion of a long-planned, 3,379-square-foot building expansion. For tables and other donation opportunities, visit the website.
Salvation Army Inspiring Hope Luncheon featuring DeMarcus Ware, September 27
Here's a rare chance to see AT&T Stadium from the Cowboys' perspective. The on-field luncheon is one of the Salvation Army of North Texas’ signature fundraising events, bringing in money for initiatives that help combat poverty, addiction, and homelessness in Tarrant County. DeMarcus Ware, former defensive end and outside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and a 2023 Hall of Fame inductee, will be the VIP guest and keynote speaker at this year’s event. Honorary chairs are Mary and Carl Ice, Representative David Cook, and Judy Rupay. Tickets ($150) are available here.
Mad Scientist Ball, September 30
Always one of the most creative (and on-brand) fundraisers of the year, the Mad Scientist Ball is a "Night at the Museum"-style event that takes over the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, after hours. Guests don their best "lab-coat chic" (white lab coats are provided) and enjoy cuisine from top Fort Worth restaurants, creative cocktails, auctions, dancing, museum exhibits, and more. Nissa and Ryan Harrington chair this year's event, which will feature "Mad Scientist" experiments throughout the evening. Tables and tickets (from $500) are available here.
Christmas in Cowtown Preview Party, October 11
The holiday shopping season in Fort Worth officially kicks off with Junior League's four-day Christmas in Cowtown market. But those who want to beat the crowds know to go to the Preview Party the night before the masses are let into Will Rogers Memorial Center. Preview Party attendees sip cocktails and nibble on bites from local restaurants, enjoy live music, complimentary valet and porter service, and shopping galore - at nice and relaxed pace, 6-9 pm. Preview Party tickets are $125, available here. And if you're more of a morning person, there's one more exclusive private shopping experience from 9 am-12 pm October 12, complete with breakfast bites and mimosas (Tickets: $75). All proceeds benefit JLFW's civic initiatives; Amanda Patyk and Kendall Riddell are this year's co-chairs.
Communities in Schools Behind the Mask, October 13
Communities in Schools of Greater Tarrant County is throwing it back old-school for this year's Behind the Mask — a reference to going "behind the mask" of challenges faced by local at-risk students. Chaired by Christian Burton and themed "Rewind to the '90s," the rad evening promises "guests will flashback to the era of wind breakers, boy bands, and AOL." In addition to food and bevs, expect arcade games, a palm reader, raffles, and a silent auction. Naturally, '90s dress is encouraged, especially "Saved By the Bell prom fashion" (cocktail-fancy attire is not required, and neither are masquerade-style masks). It all takes place outside by the pool at River Crest Country Club, where DJ Dan Quinn will be mixing 90s songs throughout the evening. Tables and tickets (from $150) are available here.
Cowtown Ball, October 20
The 30th Anniversary Cowtown Ball wins the award for most creative theme: "Disco Cowboy." Sure to be a night of sequins, spurs, boots, and bling, the American Cancer Society’s Western-chic gala takes place at The Reserve at the Fort Worth Zoo. This year’s ball is co-chaired by Ashlee Brenner and Cortney Pelley with Kelly Hernandez as honorary chair. The night will include a sit-down dinner and open bar, live auctions, raffle items, paddle raise, and boot-scooting under the stars to Straight Tequila Night. Tables and tickets (from $350) are available here.
The Cliburn Homecoming Concert + Party, October 20
This new, one-night-only event promises to be a musical mega-party like only the Cliburn could throw. Held in honor of Cliburn president & CEO Jacques Marquis' 10th anniversary with the organization, the celebratory evening will include performances by 10+ Fort Worth-favorite artists, including 2013 gold medalist Vadym Kholodenko; 2017 bronze medalist Daniel Hsu, 2022 bronze medalist Dmytro Choni, Cliburn webcast hosts Anderson & RoePiano Duo, and many more. The evening will be capped with an afterparty featuring Texas bites and TX Whiskey drinks. It all takes places on the gorgeous grounds of Whiskey Ranch - BYO lawn chair or picnic blanket. Tickets ($99) and tables ($500) are available here.
Monster Mash, October 27
One of the most creative Halloween-time costume parties in town won't disappoint with this year's theme: "Out of This World." The Women's Center benefit promises to be "the biggest party in the universe." Expect cosmos, dinner, entertainment, and more. In fact, who on earth could resist a description like this? "You’ll have a blast moonwalking to the sounds of the Emerald City Band or defending the earth from Space Invaders and Asteroids! And, if the stars align just right you may see Buzz Lightyear, Yoda, ET, Captain Kirk or even Mork & Mindy! Space not your Jam, don’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek? Don’t worry, you always have the option to come as Men In Black-tie!" The event takes place at Ridglea Country Club. For tickets (starting at $350), head here.
Lone Star Film Festival Gala, November 10
The star-studded Lone Star Film Festival has become a November tradition in Fort Worth, and so has its grand gala - complete with a Hollywood-style red carpet. This year's event returns to the Stockyards' Hotel Drover, and dress code is (appropriately) "Upscale Modern West." Presented by Visit Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Film Commission, the gala promises a night of food, libations, and celebrity appearances. Honorees include actor Luke Wilson (Bill Paxton Achievement in Film), Marty Bowen (Visionary Award), Charlie Crockett (Stephen Bruton Award), and David Glasser (Pioneer Award), with more to be announced. The gala benefits education outreach programming of the Lone Star Film Society; tables and tickets ($750) are available here.
Folds of Honor Gala, November 11
Appropriately held on Veterans Day, the Folds of Honor gala will bring together military families, veterans, scholarship recipients, and members of the North Texas community on the field at Arlington's AT&T Stadium. The event's proceeds (which totaled nearly $2 million last year) go to educational scholarships for spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The black tie-optional evening will include seated dinner, auctions, live entertainment, and a few patriotic surprises. Honorary chairs are Holly and Jim Trester. For tables, tickets, and donations, go here.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon and Ceremony, November 14
Cowgirl up! The 47th edition of this distinctively Fort Worth luncheon will welcome five new inductees into the Hall of Fame: Mary Fields, Meggan Hill-McQueeney, Annie Reynolds, Gladys Roldán-de-Moras, and Kendra Santos. The mega-luncheon includes a multicourse meal, shopping at a boutique, and award presentations — all on the floor of Dickies Arena. Individual tickets are not yet on sale; watch the museum's website and social media pages for information to come.
Fort Worth Margarita Ball, December 2
Benefiting Children's Charities of Fort Worth, this year's black-tie gala has an electrifying theme: "Ignite the Magic: 2023 Fort Worth Margarita Ball Unveiled!" The high-energy ball attracts a young professional crowd to the Worthington Renaissance Hotel downtown. They dress to impress in traditional or Western formal attire for a night of hors d'oeuvres and complimentary margaritas (while they last),a casino, dancing to Manhattan Band, silent auction, raffles, photo booths, and more. Tickets are $150 in advance, $175 day-of. In an extra-charitable twist, a ticket includes a toy donation for local children. Tickets and information here. As a run-up to the big gala, check out the celebrity fashion show taking place at 81 Club at Billy Bob's Texas on September 20; it's free to attend.
Caren Koslow Fashion Show & Luncheon, December 14
Named for late Fort Worth ballet patron Caren Koslow, this beloved daytime event at Bass Hall celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It brings together fashion mavens and ballet lovers like no other fête. Guests are treated to lunch and a runway show featuring Texas Ballet Theater dancers modeling the hottest designer looks of the season. The event benefits the company’s many initiatives and is already sold out (these reservations are the hardest in town to get; tickets are not even advertised). To inquire, call the TBT box office at 877-828-9200.
Also save the date for:
- Rutledge Cancer Foundation Hearts of Gold Gala, September 14
- Main Table benefiting Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., September 17
- Arts Fort Worth Heart of Gold Luncheon, September 20
- March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction, September 27
- Alzheimer's Association Passport with a Purpose Fall Gala, October 5
- New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy Hope Gala, October 12
- 65 Roses Wine & Food Extravaganza, October 18
- Camp Fire An Artists Christmas, November 3
- Airpower Foundation SkyBall XXI, November 16