What: Una Notte in Italia.
Where: Royal Sonesta Hotel.
The 411: More than 600 guests packed the large Galleria-area hotel ballroom for the annual gala that features food and wine with an Italian theme and highlights businessmen, attorneys and athletes in custom-made attire from Festari for Men. As usual, there was also ample opportunity for great people watching, as female attendees pulled out all the stops with body-hugging dresses — the invitation suggested "Elegante" cocktail attire — and killer shoes.
More than 25 male models rocked the runway to loud applause and bursts of confetti. Friends and family of Martijn Van Koolwijk waved cut-outs of his chiseled face while, on the runway, Charles Clark and Ben Dugger donned sunglasses and Travis Torrence, Chad Zamarin and Chad Pinkerton busted some fine dance moves. Torrence brought down the house with his rendition of the Nae Nae.
Houston Texans Kareem Jackson, Alfred Blue, Garrett Graham and Andre Hal, along with Houston Dynamo Chandler Hoffman, represented the sports contingent.
Among others earning big applause on the runway were Anatol Feygin, James Lassiter, Ajay Khurana, Rocky Mafrige, Bill Toomey, Jonathan Farb, Jeff Abel, Astley Blair, Dr. William Guerra, Richard Hancock, Jack Merriman and Ulises Vidal.
Debbie Festari, the longtime guiding spirit behind the fundraiser, and Channel 2 anchor Dominque Sachse kept a lively running commentary as the men took the runway, while Rudy Festari took a special bow for outfitting each dapper dude.
Channel 2's Andy Cerota led a spirited live auction for packages that included a private dinner with the Houston Texans, a trip to the Napa Valley and a tour of Italy that raised an additional $26,500 for the evening's beneficiary, Bo's Place.
Much of the crowd remained for the after-party in a lounge setting with specialty drinks from Circulo Tequila and non-stop dance music from DJ Senega.
Who: Gala Chairman Eloise Frischkorn Bauer, who was thrilled that the evening took in $350,000 for the non-profit that offers grief support services to children and their families, Joella and Steve Mach, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Brady and Alexandra Knight, Luba and Alan Bigman, Tiffany and Randall Wong, Susan and Charlie Neuhaus, Claudine and David Hartland, Megan Sutton Reed and Chris Reed, Jill and Calvin Schlenker, Kara Vidal, and Bobby and Lil Newman.