Hold your horses! The annual Equest gala has galloped over to a new venue for the Friday, April 20, fundraiser. Perhaps it was the bus rides that guests had to take to Texas Horse Park. Or, perhaps it was last year’s very threatening weather that forced the organizers to postpone it a day.
Whatever! Who cares? The news is that the hoedown Equest After Dark Gala will be held at The Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum, once the ‘hood for jazz and blues musicians back in the 1920’s. The Factory itself was built in the 1900’s to manufacture Henry Ford’s horseless carriages. During World War II, it morphed into helping the war effort by producing bombs and ammunition.
According to Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, “Just like The Bomb Factory and Deep Ellum, Equest is modernizing our traditional way of doing things while still paying tribute to our incredible 37-year past. We are excited to produce this year’s gala, as it will be an extraordinary and new experience: a new venue, a more casual-yet-sophisticated concept, new people leading the team, and fun-filled new fundraising activities. I think even the great Jay Gatsby would be proud.”
As for the evening’s leadership, Gala Co-Chairs Susan and Jon Farrier and Honorary Co-Chairs Sue and Ben Casey are thoroughbreds when it comes to the world of horses and philanthropy.
Let’s start with Sue. In addition to being the owner of Dressage Horizons, she is “a longtime national-level champion dressage competitor/trainers and also an FEI international dressage judge.” In 2017, she received the White House Lifetime Achievement Award from the President for her many volunteer endeavors.
Then there’s Ben, who was president of Texas Healthcare Foundation as well as having “50 years of experience in not-for-profit organization management, both as a professional and as a volunteer. He currently serves as the president of Philanthropic Horizons Consulting and is on the boards of the Texas Horse Park Foundation, VolunteerNow, the Rotary Club of Dallas Foundation, and the Scottish Rite Museum.”
Susan, who been an equestrian since she was five, is an old hand at raising greenbacks for nonprofits. She’s been part of the leadership for such fundraisers as “Cattle Baron’s Ball, Dallas Museum of Art’s Beaux Arts Ball, The Dallas Opera Gala, and a luncheon to benefit The National Kidney Foundation.”
And finally there’s techie Jon, he knows the importance of horses in a person’s life because of Susan’s involvement, as well as the entire family including their two kids owning and caring for their New Zealand Thoroughbred, Hail II.
Longtime Equest supporters Jocelyn White and Jody Dean be returning to handle the emcee duties supported by a welcome signature cocktail from Skyy Vodka, a seated dinner created by Farm to Market Catering, complimentary wine and beer, games of chance, silent- and live-auctions, oversized dessert stations and entertainment by The Texas Gypsies and Emerald City.
Tickets and sponsorships are available, so giddy up and put your posse together for this one come rain or shine.
* Graphic courtesy of Equest