In the weeks leading up to the annual TACA Custom Auction Gala, there had been some storm clouds appearing. A couple of the luxury auction packages weren’t locked down until days before the Friday, September 25, event at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.
By the big night, some longtime TACA vets were already ‘splaining why they weren’t gonna be at the annual TACA fundraiser. There was SMU’s 100th anniversary, high school football games, friends in from out-of-town and Pope Francis watching.
But when the event got underway it was obvious that change was in the air. Not so much a dramatic change but rather some adjustments to make things different from years past. For instance, instead of a Christie’s auctioneer, the auction would be conducted by local Louis Murad, who was familiar with big-time bidders. Besides he was bringing five of the auction packages to the table.
Then as the black tie crowd started to pick up their table assignments in the hotel lobby, word made its way through the ranks that instead of the live auction being held once again in the ballroom with rows of reserved seats for top underwriters, TACA’s Becky Young and her crew had decided a little change might liven things up by having the live auction in the Promenade with only a dozen or so hightops available.
But who cared as the champagne flutes found jeweled hands at the reception. Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke greeted the beautiful and philanthropic guests at the Promenade entrance.
Bob Gibbs scooted in on a knee scooter with pals Matthew Wilson and just-back-New York James Campbell and John Phifer Marrs. Seems Bob had fallen out of a tree… Another black-tie nursing an injury was Keith Laycock with his right hand in a splint. He fell off his bike riding to the Baylor/SMU game… Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson and husband/SMU prof Rex Thompson were looking forward to their 16th wedding anniversary come Thanksgiving. But before that happens, Ros has the DWF 30th Annual Luncheon to take place on Friday, October 30…Communities Partners of Texas’ Brent Christopher and Monica Egert Smith were still recovering from North Texas Giving Day…Christy Coltrin was wearing one of her Tiny Sparks necklaces that she had designed with a story to it. Evidently Christy has sapped her PR cap for a jeweler’s creativity and tools…Chef Dean Fearing was with his fav gal Neiman’s Exec Wanda Gierhart, who had put together a couple of the auction items for the night.
When the chimes were sounded, Simona Beal, Sami Abboud, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak and Jason Oleniczak and Wanda and Dean headed to the main dining room. The Dasekes and Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer hosted a gaggle of charming folks like John Clutts, Sami Arslanar and Rachel and John Michell in the Garden Room. Other guests sauntered to other areas of the hotel including the Shepard Suite, the bar and practically any place a table could be set for a seated dinner of chilled lobster, watermelon, lobster essence and black garlic and an entrée of beef tenderloin and braised short rib with smoked hummus, basil and tomato condiment. To accompany the courses, Laree and Ben sponsored C.K. Mondavi wine.
As for dessert, it was back in the ballroom at a dessert buffet including apple hazelnut macaroon, mint chocolate financier, yogurt passion cake, banana peanut glass, yuzu raspberry tart, lemon meringue lollipop and coffee.
As for the the live auction, Louis took his place on stage with mic in hand as the black-tied set gathered around despite some bailing before the bidding started. Try as he might, Louis didn’t seem to get charge of the charity crowd. First on the list of items was the Farm-To-Table auction item going for $750 a couple; it cleared the place of some of the bargain-hunting guests. As a large number of guests settled down in the ballroom for sit and sip, those left in the Promenade kept their paddles lowered, resulting in Black Friday sales Chef Dean Fearing getting the Banff trip for $9K; the guys’ getaway went for $6K; Singing for Your Supper was snapped up for $3K; lunch with Neiman Marcus taste kingpin Ken Downing was had for $43K; the “This is what we’re all been waiting for trip to” Tuscany got a final bid of $12K; Don Daseke snapped up the trip to Paris and Austria for $16K, and Barbara’s fav things including a Mathew Trent ring plus a shopping spree at Allan Knight went to Laree Hulshoff for a cool $30K.
The evening’s take: more than $400,000, but less than 2013’s $615,000.