As evidenced by the packed salons, perfect pics, and massive checks gifted to worthy causes, society season in Houston is well underway. Savvy socialites know that as the weather warms, the season heats up with some of the most opulent, big-name fetes of the year.
This spring sees familiar, Houston-centric parties honoring and featuring local royalty such as Lester and Sue Smith, Tilman Fertitta, Joanne King Herring, and Hallie Vanderhider — all resplendent in their one-of-a-kind, haute attire. The following charitable events toast the finest in Bayou City arts, medicine, science, and humanitarian causes. But to be sure, these soirees are the places to see and be seen.
Houston Children's Charity's 22nd Annual Gala
Date: February 15
The benevolent children’s welfare group invites locals to “sizzle, sparkle, and shine”in “stunning red attire” at The Post Oak Hotel. This year’s theme is “Romance on the Red Carpet,” with honorees Jana and Richard Fant. Rocking the entertainment will be iconic ’80s band, Styx.
American Heart Association’s Heart Ball
Date: February 16
This annual event toasts the community members, medical professionals, and corporate leaders who make up the American Heart Association. Expect a gourmet dinner and silent and live auction at this annual black-tie event at the Hilton - Americas. This year’s theme is “Imagine with a Heart.”
Asia Society’s Tiger Ball
Date: March 1
This roaring bash celebrates Asia Society’s 40th year in Houston and honors local leaders Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. In addition, this year's ball will honor the legacy and contributions of Asia Society Texas Center's founding member, former first lady Barbara Bush, at the center’s Museum District facility.
San Luis Salute: “México Magnifico,” starring Usher
Date: March 1
It’s NOLA in Houston with the 23rd San Luis Salute, themed “México Magnifico,” and hosted by Tilman Fertitta and his family. The big news is that Fertitta — always one to draw the big names — has secured megastar Usher as the evening entertainment. The colorful evening, which celebrates Galveston's Mardi Gras, boasts a royal procession of the Knights of Momus court and entertainment by The Big Beyond. The San Luis Salute will be held at the Galveston Island Convention Center. Call 409-744-1500 for tickets and more information.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s “WOW: World of Wonders”
Date: March 2
Funds raised from “WOW: World of Wonders” will benefit the Museum’s general operating budget, which sustains the HMNS’s programs and fosters a love of science and discovery for two million visitors, school groups, summer campers, and scouts annually. The annual gala is held at the HMNS.
Catastrophic Theatre’s “Toga! Toga! Toga!”
Date: March 3
The bawdy and vivacious Catastrophic Theatre invites stage fans to Sunday Funday dubbed "It's Brunch, Baby!" Enjoy a breakfast buffet, mimosas, and other libations — along with a riotous drag show. Patrons are encouraged to wear pajamas, “Sunday Best straight-from-church, or your walk-of-shame clothes from the night before” to Avant Garden.
Hermann Park Conservancy “Hats in the Park”
Date: March 21
The always fab Hermann Park Conservancy's annual "Hats in the Park" luncheon boasts a champagne reception and an al fresco luncheon on the verdant Centennial Green. Attendees are encouraged to don their spring fashions with flat shoes or wedges — and, of course, their finest chapeaus.
“Get In The Game for the Kids,” benefitting Escape Family Resource Center
Date: April 3
Chaired by Lara Bell and Roseann Rogers, this event benefits the Escape Family Resource Center, which provides healthy development for their children. Attendants can truly get into the game when they pack this sporting soiree at Union Station in Minute Maid Park.
Bayou Bend Fashion Show
Date: April 5
The Bayou Bend Fashion Show regularly attracts a prime social following of savvy fashionistas. The uber-elegant affair offers a catered lunch in a large, decorated open-air tent. Guests can also save the date for the Bayou Bend Children’s Party on April 6, and the Bayou Bend Garden Party on April 7, both of which takes place in the same tented spot.
Joe Niekro Foundation’s Knuckle Ball
Date: April 5
The baseball-themed, annual Houston Knuckle Ball: Field of Dreams, supports research of brain aneurysm, AVM, and hemorrhagic stroke research and awareness. The ball will honor top surgeons who are relentless in their work against these often devastating attacks. The Knuckle Ball will be thrown at the Ballroom at Bayou Place and is chaired by Tricia Bonilla Harrison, a survivor herself.
The Society for the Performing Arts Black & White Ball
Date: April 6
Reminiscent of the “Party of the Century” hosted by Truman Capote in New York City in 1966, the SPA Black & White Ball will celebrate 50 years of the SPA. Expect inspiring cuisine, performances by the cast of Chicago, and music by Empire6 band at the Wortham Center. Guests are advised to wear formal attire and even masks.
2019 Game Day Gala
Date: April 11
Football is the theme here as founding chairmen Hannah and Cal McNair (of the Houston Texans) join founders Ericka and Garrett Graham and Ecclesia’s Chris Seay. Expect a host of Houston Texans past and present at this event that benefits Project 88, which connects kids to advancement and opportunity.
Orange Show Center for Visionary Art’s Houston Art Car Ball
Date: April 12
One of the wildest — and most colorful — parties in Houston, the Legendary Art Car Ball at Hermann Square sees outrageous costumes, live music, performance art, and the now-famous art cars. Locals should save the date for the Houston Art Car Parade on April 13 as well. Nearly 250 colorful art cars, bikes, skaters, and motorized creatures will roll along Smith Street in downtown Houston.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Gala and Art Auction
Date: April 13
This artful affair the CAMH’s 70th anniversary and is co-chaired by Haydeh and Ali Davoudi and Jordan and Dylan Seff. Look for a night of fine dining, cocktails, and a spirited contemporary art auction produced in partnership with Christie’s. The event benefits the CAMH’s programs and allows for free admission daily to the museum.
Houston Grand Opera’s Opera Ball, “Cielito Lindo”
Date: April 13
Dramatic and elegant, Opera Ball is always a premier occasion on Houston’s gala calendar. Houston’s A-listers, gliterati, and movers, shakers, and tastemakers will gather at this fete that celebrates Mexico’s rich, vibrant culture and an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions at The Revaire. Expect breathtaking and one-of-a-kind gowns donned by local social royalty.
Operation Smile’s Smile Gala
Date: April 26
The 2019 Houston Smile Gala will celebrate the hundreds of thousands of life-changing surgeries provided in more than 60 countries around the globe since 1982, as well as the thousands of smiles Operation Smile aspires to deliver this year. Hundreds of guests are expected to pack this formal event at the Hotel Zaza - Museum District.
Cattle Baron's Ball “ City Lights & Bayou Nights!”
Date: April 27
This rowdy — and consummately Houston — party will see guests trying their hand at Vegas-style gaming and cheering on their favorite piglet during the pig races. Revelers can also enjoy the wine pull, featuring over 300 exemplary bottles of wine and champagne or the jewelry pull featuring Kendra Scott. Guests can dance the night away when Diamond Rio takes the stage, performing such hits as “One More Day,” “Love a Little Stronger” and “Meet in the Middle.” The wildly popular shindig takes place at George Ranch Historical Park.
The Unicef Gala
Date: May 3
This soiree honors Houston power couples Lester and Sue Smith and Susan and Dan Boggio for their lifetime of service to the city. Full details are still being formulated, but organizers tell CultureMap that entertainment will be provided straight from Broadway, as The Garden State Guys sing tunes from their roles in Jersey Boys. The gala always sees a host of A-list guests and celebrity appearances.
Bo's Place “Hats, Hearts and Horseshoes: A Kentucky Derby Affair”
Date: May 4
Widely regarded as the best Derby Day party in Houston, horse racing fans and the social set can don their best derby ensembles and catch the best two minutes in sports on a large outdoor TV screen at a posh River Oaks residence. The afternoon features mint juleps, musical entertainment, and fun and games complete with prizes.
St. Jude Gold Luncheon
Date: May 9
The St. Jude Gold Luncheon will feature an exclusive fashion show directed by Tootsies creative director, Fady Armanious, as well as a three-course lunch and a program sharing a local St. Jude patient story. The event will honor Joanne King Herring, Brigitte Kalai and Houston Texans star Whitney Mercilus. Houston’s Sarah Grace, late of NBC’s The Voice, will perform at the Royal Sonesta.
Houston Symphony’s Symphony Ball: “Vintage Music Garden”
Date: May 10
The 2019 Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony Ball, is chaired this year by Courtney and Bill Toomey, and will be held at The Post Oak, which will be transformed into a “vintage music garden.” Expect an elegant, retro-themed affair and what’s sure to be a can’t-miss after party.