A Night of 1920's Glamour and Modern Day Entertainment: 2018 Equest After Dark Gala
A Night of 1920’s Glamour and Modern Day Entertainment
2018 Equest After Dark Gala
DALLAS, TEXAS – April 25, 2018 – Just like The Great Gatsby himself, Equest threw an unforgettable affair for close to 500 guests last Friday, April 20, at Deep Ellum’s historic Bomb Factory. Honorary Co-Chairs Sue and Ben Casey and Co-Chairs Susan and Jon Farrier led the exciting modern speakeasy-inspired Equest After Dark Gala to celebrate the achievements of Equest’s remarkable 37-year history of enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs through the human-horse connection.
The fundraising gala, designed by event planner The Brand Divas and the incomparable Equest development staff, was the bee’s knees! Women in sequins, fringe and beads and men in bowler hats, pinstripe three-piece suits, and oxford shoes were greeted to the jazzy 1920’s tunes of the Texas Gypsies swing band, hors d’oeuvres, and the signature Blue Pony cocktail featuring Skyy Vodka. Rows upon rows of silent auction items, such as jewelry, handbags, art, and unique Dallas experiences, were strategically perused for bidding, and a hidden gaming parlor was quickly discovered for additional entertainment. Equest Mini Ambassadors Cisco and Dare, two miniature horses under 36 inches tall, were donned in their finest feather headpieces for portraits with guests.
Following the welcoming reception, guests were seated for a delectable three-course dinner created by Farm to Market Catering and a high-energy performance by the Arthur Murray Dance Studio dancers. Emcee Jocelyn White, award-winning television personality and host of “Designing Texas,” led the exciting and emotional program with the help of several Equest clients who were asked to describe in one word what Equest means. Their heart-felt answers: strong, amazing, joy, success.
Next, auctioneer Wes Pool took the stage to raise money for horse sponsorships. Within minutes, five sponsorships were donated at the $5,000 level, ensuring food and care for one year for five therapy horses. Quickly following, over 60 guests raised their paddles to donate at various levels – from $2,500 to $100. The incredible generosity continued as the evening progressed to the live auction featuring six spectacular packages, such as a private meet and greet with cast members for a pre-show dinner and Broadway tickets in New York City, a five-course wine dinner for 10 at the home of Chef Kent Rathbun, and an all-inclusive Zulu South Africa photo safari. After the live auction, the night opened to Equest’s first ever gala after-party. Guests gathered onto the dance floor while Emerald City Band played everyone’s favorite covers and latest hits until the clock struck midnight.
Among the 500 guests were Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Co-Founder and Board Member Susan Schwartz, Connie and Denny Carreker, Lynn and Allan McBee, Michael Petty and Pam Dealey Petty, Bill and Lezlie Noble, Leslie and Ed Kennedy, Beth and Chuck Theole, Lane Cates and Brad McLain, Caroline and Romy Anderson, Michelle and Michael Deese and representatives from A Center for Spiritual Living Dallas, Sherrie and Tony Varrichio, Daniela and Mark Engelbrecht, Laurie and Paul Anselmo, as well as City Councilperson Rick Callahan and City Councilperson Kevin Felder.
The gala was made possible by: JetLinx Aviation, Connie and Denny Carreker, Bridget and Tom Black, Susan Schwartz, Bertino Investment Consulting Group, Crossfirst National Bank, Kayne Anderson Rudnick, Mercury One, Sue and Ben Casey, Susan and Jon Farrier, William Noble Rare Jewels, Armanino Foundation, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Patricia Decker, Stephanie Decker and Mark Arneson, Frost Bank, Neuberger Berman, and in-kind sponsors Skyy Vodka, PaperCity Magazine, My Sweet Charity, and photographers Bob Manzano and Danny Campbell.
Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine facilitated activities, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities and veterans with adjustment challenges. The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship and competition. With the help of 36 therapy horses, 10 instructors, four therapists, two counselors, and 400 volunteers, lives are changed on a daily basis for more than 3,000 clients served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. Equest offers an engaging volunteer program that provides 40,000 hours of direct program service opportunities each year. www.equest.org
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Photo credit: Thomas Garza