Maybe the demand for tickets was not quite like the frenzy for Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball in 1966, but Saturday night’s Black and White Ball to raise funds for juvenile diabetes research came close. With a sell-out crowd filling The Jefferson Hotel‘s Grand Ballroom to capacity, everyone embraced the spirit of the evening. Most all the patrons heeded the invitation’s directive,
Black and white formal attire
even for the ladies. More impressive still was the number of guests who donned masks in the spirit of the evening.
is joined by fellow
With the clothing color palette limited to black and white, the Silent Auction spread throughout the second floor balcony and Empire Room really shined. Greeting attendees, the Art Walk featured works by some of our favorite local artists, including
Becky Jessee‘s very popular cows
and Sunny Goode‘s Trees, as well as
Ann McLean’s lovely rendition of The Jefferson Hotel.
At the Silent Auction tables,
I discovered colorful necklaces from two of my favorite jewelry makers,
Lori Daniel Rowland, left, and dear posse friend, jCb.
With a judicious use of beautiful white blossoms
and white masks
dancing on the ceiling, the Gala committee set a fitting stage for raising a lot of money.
Ever since 2008, black-tie fundraisers have become a bit passé as people aren’t as willing as pre-recession to part with their money in heated bidding wars for unique packages. That was not the feeling with Unmask a Cure. Starting with a vigorous game of Heads and Tails that I had first seen played at the Anything Goes Gala, most everyone stood up wearing a black or white necklace that they had purchased in order to participate. Thanks to electronic bidding devices, the Silent Auction continued through mid-dinner as patrons could keep up and raise their bids from their tables.
The Live Auction only contained 11 items, so the evening kept moving. One of the favorite packages was
For $250, anyone could raise her paddle so she could have a picture taken post-auction with this hunky linebacker, who also agreed to sign the photo for the purchaser. What a great way to spread this generous opportunity among many guests who might not have otherwise participated in the Live Auction.
Following the Live Auction, Slaughter Fitz-Hugh shared his personal experience with Type 1 diabetes before the Fund a Cure bidding began. As local children suffering from this disease helped on stage, obliging patrons easily raised almost $300,000, which will all be used for research. For RVA, that is one impressive figure, and it is in addition to the proceeds from the Live and Silent Auctions and Heads and Tails.
Though I have attended my share of black-tie fundraisers, my first JDRF Gala really impressed. The patrons understood the importance of the event and rose to the occasion in celebratory (and theme-oriented) fashion. With many staying to dance the night away after the fundraising activities were finished, the success of the JDRF’s Black and White Ball almost makes Oscar night look blasé.