Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Most Anticipated Charity Events in Dallas for 2015

Last year I published a very popular post titled, "The Best Charity Events in Dallas". While it was one of my most clicked on posts of the year, it also got me in a bit of hot water. The events that I listed loved it and everyone else got their feelings hurt that I didn't include them. SORRY! In that post I stated, "When I say these are the "best" charity events in Dallas, I am not talking about the most worthy charitable endeavors. Every non-profit organization has great intentions towards an admirable cause. But let's face it, there is only so much time and money one can give. At the end of the day people are looking for an event that not only provides them with a way to give back to a cause or their community but also provides a great experience, delicious food, great people-watching and an amazing experience that still has you talking about months later." I stand by that statement and the sentiment holds true for this year's post. Here are a few events for 2015 listed in calendar order that I can't wait to attend. Buy your tickets early because these luncheons, galas and shows WILL SELL OUT!

Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show
February 17, 2015

Dee Simmons, Carmaleta Whitely, LeeAnne
Locken, Tiffany Hendra at LLS 2014
(photo Daniel Driensky)
This is the one day of the year that this redhead wears pink. And I will be joined by hundreds and hundreds of women inside the Myerson wearing various shades of red, pink, magenta and fuchsia all in the name of charity. The dynamic variety of contemporary and luxury boutiques at Highland Park Village will create an inspired show under the guidance of producer Jan Strimple. Jennifer Houser will receive this year's Lynda Adleta, Heart of Gold Award Recipient and Brooklynn Alexander will receive the Spirit of Tom Landry Award Recipient.

While there will be many new & exciting elements to this year's event, what won’t change in 2015 are the elements that attendees know and love. The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center will play host, local blood cancer survivors and supporters will be honored with the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold Award and the Spirit of Tom Landry award and FOX4’s Clarice Tinsley will return as the gracious host of the afternoon. Just a heads up that there will be limited tables at the low end of the spectrum and a limited amount of general admission tickets so get your today by visiting

Furniture 4 Kids
February 19, 2015

Over the previous 7 years, Furniture 4 Kids has hosted a Fall gala comprised mainly of companies and individuals from the architecture and design world. Participating companies design really unique and extravagant children’s furniture, which is then auctioned off at the gala. This year, the event has been moved to February and architectural firms will design and decorate wooden toy boxes in a competition to be judged at the party by a select panel. Later in the evening, these unique toy boxes will be auctioned to the highest bidder. Lisa Garza will be the event's celebrity chef and all proceeds will benefit Vogel Alcove. Tickets start at $100. To purchase yours or for more information, visit

House of DIFFA: 25 Years
March 7, 2015

This annual black tie gala is comprised of a dinner, silent/live auction and runway show to raise funds for organizations that aid in the fight against HIV/AIDS . This annual gala from DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) is about bling, glamour, elegance, libations, more bling, lots of posing and preening and so much fun it will take you a week to recover. Any event where gays are in the majority, the level of fashion and fun is going to be off-the-chart fantastic. The hair, the make-up, the accessories, the frocks.... it's like an eye candy explosion!

A champagne reception kicks off the night with more silent auction items that Santa could carry in his sleigh. During a seated dinner, guests enjoy a runway show featuring fashions, musical entertainment and a live auction. It's the absolute best people-watching of the year. All proceeds go directly toward direct care to those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in the North Texas area.  Tickets start at $375 and can be purchased at

Mad Hatter's Tea
Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cynthia Smoot & Steve Kemble
at Mad Hatter's 2014
Like Alice in Wonderland, you'll spend most of your time wandering around this flowery fairyland with your mouth open in wonderment. Usually accessories are chosen to compliment the outfit. Not at this event - everything centers around the hat. Although to call these just hats is to really do them a disservice. What you will see at this daytime luncheon and fashion show are works of art, some created by the attendees, but most are created by milliners and local designers who work feverishly for months to out-do each other for the coveted awards that are doled out at this soiree.

The morning starts off with a champagne reception where everyone oohs' and ahhhs' over elaborate chapeaus. You'll feel like a rock star as complete strangers walk up and ask to take a photo of your look. Astronauts in space can probably pick out the Arboretum from all the flash bulbs going off during this time. Guests then file into Rosine Hall at the Dallas Arboretum for a fashion show. Awards are then presented in a variety of categories and the afternoon needs with a luncheon out of the terrace. This event benefits the The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Tickets start at $250. To grab yours, contact Evelyn Sandy 214-696-3311 or

12th Annual WINGS Luncheon benefiting New Friends New Life featuring Kevin Costner 
Friday, April 10, 2015

Kevin Costner will headline the New Friends
New Life luncheon on April 10
No explanation should really be needed about why this event will sell out in a hot minute. I mean, it's Kevin freakin' Costner!!! 1,200 community and corporate leaders will come together to celebrate the transformation in the lives of exploited women and girls at the 12th Annual WINGS Luncheon benefiting New Friends New Life on Friday, April 10, 2015, 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. The luncheon will feature Kevin Costner as the keynote speaker interviewed by Gary Cogill, an awards presentation, and an update about the work of New Friends New Life by Executive Director Katie Pedigo. New Friends New Life is a nonprofit that restores and empowers formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children. Tickets range from $1,750-$50,000 sponsorships (Individual tickets – if not sold out via sponsorships – will be available beginning Feb. 4 at $175 each.) For more information, contact Kelly Cruse at or at (214) 965-0935.

Art Ball 50
Saturday, April 11, 2015

Melissa Rountree, Robin McMonigle
Photo by Hoyoung Lee for CultureMap
This is one event that I have not personally been to but am laser-focused on attending this year. I have a feeling that this will be an amazing year to attend. Why? Two reasons: 1) Art Ball 50 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this annual gala and 2) Dallas’ premier party planner, Todd Fiscus of Todd Events, will create an ethereal and edgy atmosphere in a tented space through the use of mirror components, projections and bit map technology.

Case in point about the awesomeness of this event is that last year, Jan Strimple and Tom Addis had a woman dressed in a dress made of champagne glasses. CHAMPAGNE GLASSES! So, if you don't think Fiscus will be hellbent on upping the game this year, then you don't know squat about party-planners and can just take my word for it.

After dinner, the area will be transformed into the after party, “Selfie,” where guests will dance the night away. Not only will Art Ball 50’s theme commemorate the past, but so will the special host committee, which includes an impressive list of Art Ball chairs from the past 50 years.  In just the last fifteen years, Art Ball has raised over $22 million to support the Dallas Museum of Art's mission of engaging and educating the community, with funds going directly to the Museum's operating budget.

Man & Woman of the Year 
May 30, 2015

This year, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) is introducing an exciting NEW gala to the Dallas calendar called "Man & Woman of the Year." The candidates compete in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors, the Boy & Girl of the Year. Every dollar counts as one vote and the titles are awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of ten weeks. The top local fundraisers in the country win the national titles. To date, these dedicated leaders have helped LLS invest more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies that are saving lives today and helping us all achieve the LLS goal of a world without blood cancers. The location of this event has yet to be announced. Contact:

First Sight/First Night
October 29-30, 2015

I have always been a fan of opera and classical music. The love affair started early listening to Mozart and Beethoven as background music for my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons and I delighted as Alfalfa crooned to his beloved Darla arias from Figaro in The Little Rascals. The pageantry and extravagance combined with the theatrics and beautiful music is not lost on me and opera has always held a special place in my heart.

The Dallas Opera's season kicks off with the First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Winspear Opera House. 5 local designers are asked to design an outfit inspired by a famous opera. These designs are debuted at the luncheon (along with a featured designer, whose Fall collection is shown), then they walk the red carpet at a gala that evening. They will then be auctioned off by Heritage Auctions. That evening the First Night dinner is held with guests taking in the debut performance of the new season. This luncheon (and subsequent gala) are filled with mystery, glamor, drama, excitement and passion - just like the Dallas Opera's performances.  Tickets to the Fist Sight luncheon will start at $250. First Night dinner, performance and after-party tickets start at $750. For more info, visit

Cattle Baron's Ball
October 2015 (exact date TBD)

Jane McGarry and Cynthia Smoot at CBB 2014
Cattle Barons Ball has raised nearly $60 million for cancer research since 1974, the majority of which is conducted right here in DFW. True to Texas’ history of rising to the challenge, this event has become the world’s largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Don your boots and plan join them at Gilley's in October for some Texan cowboy-themed fun. Previous performers include Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton - so whoever they choose to headline in 2015 will be amazing. The layout is like a Texas-themed carnival with a Farris Wheel, dining tent to graze through, silent auction room, and bar after bar after bar.

I think one of the reasons I love this event, is that it's a hoot to see socialites and billionaires "dressed down" in western wear just throwing back beer and boot scooting the night away. You'll see everything from cocktail dresses to jeans but the one accessory that is consistent is that you MUST wear Cowboy boots. And for Pete's sake, take Uber because this is a throw down, honey and you'll be in no condition to drive home. That is for sure. Tickets start at $2500 per couple.

TuTu Chic
December 2015 (exact date TBD)

Tutu Chic 2014 performers
I feel like the ballet is the red-headed stepchild of the arts. Opera and the theater get a lot more attention (and more money) I think because the ballet is a little more specialized in its appeal. I mean, it's hard enough to drag my husband to an opera, but a ballet? Fuggit about it. This event makes me remember why the ballet should not become a lost art and it is definitely worthy of our support.

Held at the Winspear Opera House, this fashion show is held (literally) on the stage. Ballerinas themselves are the models and don't just stomp the catwalk - they glide, pirouette, and leap in red-carpet worthy gowns and designer frocks. It is mesmerizing and awe-inspiring to watch them. It reminds me of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing when he said, "No one puts baby in a corner..." and then they took over the dance floor. Your mouth is literally in your lap watching their performance on the runway and I have the utmost respect for their body control and movement - especially in stilettos. After the fashion show, a luncheon is held in the foyer of the Winspear. Funds raised benefit the Texas Ballet Theater.