The gown lowdown
Dust off the ballgowns and stilettos. Galas, parties, and power lunches are back for a real spring social season in Fort Worth.
After COVID canceled most 2020 and 2021 in-person events, local nonprofits, community groups, and arts organizations are staging their glamorous fundraisers once again. Beyond being swanky soirees, these events raise crucial funds for causes that need them now more than ever. Most local charities are still recouping losses from the past two years. If you can't attend in person, you can still donate in other ways — from chipping in a few bucks directly to asking your rich great aunt to sponsor a table; click the links provided to find out more.
Also, as COVID health and safety protocols continue to change, each event says it will follow best practices at the time. But why not tuck a sparkly sequin mask inside your evening bag just in case?
Here are the 12 spring dates every social butterfly in Fort Worth should circle now.
Junior League Grand Entry Gala, January 8
Gala season comes back blazing with Junior League of Fort Worth's annual Grand Entry Gala. The cowgirl-chic evening features dinner, dancing, cocktails, silent auction, and a concert by country star Sara Evans. The 2022 gala returns to "the dirt floor" of Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum and serves as a glam kickoff to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which officially starts on January 14. 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 event co-chairs are Nicole Shelton and Anne Wright, and Debbie and Albon Headback are being recognized as honorary chairs. For more information, head here.
Go Red for Women Luncheon, February 10
Talk about an event with heart. This annual girl-power mega-lunch benefits American Heart Association's efforts to research and eradicate cardiovascular disease in women. It will take place at The Omni Fort Worth Hotel, with Barbara Peace, director of nursing quality and magnet at Cook Children’s Health Care System, as chair. There's a lot to love about this luncheon because 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 Heart Ball, which is April 23 at the Ashton Depot, with more details to be announced soon. For more information and tickets to Go Red, visit the website.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: A Gala Evening with Sarah Chang, February 26
This "choose your own adventure" uber-gala has several parts, and you can attend one or all. First, the FWSO will present its annual gala concert at Bass Hall. The orchestra welcomes guest conductor Patrick Summers (Houston Grand Opera artistic and music director) and featured violinist Sarah Chang (making her FWSO debut) for a performance of Dvorák's beloved Violin Concerto; the program also includes Brahms' Hungarian Dances and Ravel's Boléro. The performance will be followed by cocktails and a black-tie dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel, with live music played by a string and piano ensemble. Mercedes T. Bass is the gala chair, with Ashli Blumenfeld, Anne Marie Bratton, Mary Hart Lipscomb, Kim Johnson, and Frasher H. Pergande serving as co-chairs. Concert tickets are available here; for information about the dinner, email email@example.com.
St. Jude Celebration At Sundown, February 26
Taking place at the sparkling new Hotel Drover, this annual affair will benefit the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dancing, drinks, dinner, and live entertainment. It promises to be 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.
Design Inspirations, March 2-3
If pretty homes inspire you, this is the event to attend — two events, actually. The beloved Preview Party and Luncheon, held at Ridglea Country Club, are thrown by the Fort Worth Alumnae Associations of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi and benefit Gill Children’s Services and Rivertree Academy. More than 60 tables are elaborately decorated by local interior designers, florists, and creative individuals. There are two chances to see them — at the Preview Party (with cocktails, food, and entertainment) the evening of March 2, and at the Luncheon on March 3. Interior design expert, author, and entrepreneur Melanie Turner will give the keynote speech. Tickets are sold separately for each event; check the website for information and Preview Party tickets, and email Lummis.firstname.lastname@example.org for Luncheon tickets.
Jewel Charity Ball, March 5
Fort Worth's grandest gala of all is back to dance, after sitting out for the first time in 67 years last year. The 67th Jewel Charity Ball, themed “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” will be held at Will Rogers Memorial Center, Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall. Jewel Charity president Michelle Marlow and ball co-chairs Olivia Kearney, Julie Sawyer, and Paige Pate are planning an evening that features entertainment by Motown legends The Temptations and The Four Tops. The night will include a seated dinner by Wolfgang Puck, dancing, a silent auction, and raffle. JCB's official jeweler, Tiffany & Co., will add some sparkle with an onsite store featuring cases of exclusive pieces. Since 1954, Jewel Charity has helped raise more than $75 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 817-810-9849.
Classically Cliburn Gala, April 8
This year, the glamorous black-tie ball lets the good times roll to New Orleans. "Classically Cliburn Gala 2022: NOLA" will feature elegant Garden District decor, a Carousel Bar, and Big Swing band. The gala also takes place in an exciting new location: Simmons Bank Pavilion at Dickies Arena. Event co-chairs are Jennifer and Philip Williamson, and honorary chair is Gail Rawl. 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 namesake Van Cliburn. His name will come up a lot this year, with both the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition set to take place in coming months, making Fort Worth the official piano capital of the world in 2022. For gala information and tickets, visit the website, email email@example.com, or call 817-738-6536.
Casa Mañana Gala, April 8
With a theme of "Peace, Love, & Casa Mañana," Fort Worth's famous silver-domed theater promises a far-out party, complete with flower power, neon outfits, and chill vibes. The evening — co-chaired by Madolin Rosenthal and Kendall Kostohryz — includes cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions, and entertainment from Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. It all takes place in the Claudia Stepp Grand Lobby of Casa Mañana. Proceeds benefit the theater’s arts education and outreach initiatives. For information and tickets, visit the website.
Puttin' on the Pink Luncheon, April 13
This fashion-forward luncheon brings all the best-dressed women (and some brave 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 Ashley Peeders — 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.
Butterfly Wishes Gala, April 22
A Wish with Wings has been bringing joyful experiences to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1983. This year's Butterfly Wishes Gala, themed "Where the Wish Begins" (get it, Fort Worth?), will honor one of its wish families, the Barnard family, with the Rosie Moncrief Wings of Hope Award. Loretta and Don S. Marable are chairing the 40th anniversary celebratory event. The gala, taking place at the Simmons Bank Plaza at Dickies Arena, will feature dinner and dancing the night away to the Emerald City Band. For more information and tickets, visit the website.
Fort Worth Opera 75th Anniversary Celebration, April 22
Fort Worth Opera will host a glittering night of music and celebration in conjunction with the highly anticipated opening of an all-new version of Verdi's La Traviata. Post-performance at Bass Hall, patrons will get to toast FWO's 75-year history in an event that includes food, cocktails, and dancing the night away to the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra. For more information and tickets, visit the website.
TEX Gala, June 20
This rare Monday 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 Darius Rucker. It's just the second year for this gala, but it's already become a big-deal event; last year's inaugural edition (headlined by Tim McGraw) raised a whopping $1.625 million for the foundation. For information and tickets, visit the website.