By Wicker Van Orsdel
The Year of the Dragon 2012 slipped by in a blink and a sneeze and our big blue marble has taken another trip around the sun. The first big gala to start out the 2013 “Year of the Snake” was the 28th annual Black Tie Event at the Hy-Vee Conference Center benefiting Variety – The Children’s Charity. After all the holiday hoopla has died down, everyone looks forward to a fun start to the new year with this premium gala event.
IMHO, there is never a bad time to wear black tie (except maybe the gym), and I’m always ready to squeeze into some sequins! The event name alone inspires many typically recalcitrant dressers to put on their dazzling gowns and zoot suits and becomes a wonderful showy parade of drool-worthy style. It’s a great place to network and rub elbows with Des Moines’ best and brightest community and business leaders, philanthropists, supporters and all-time great athletes. At the same time, you are helping out the children of Iowa. Speaking of rubbing elbows…we had a fun table: Rosalie Gallagher, Eileen Gannon, Soozie McBroom, Patsy Tobis, Dean Weitenhagen, Dawn Taylor, Bill Caldwell, Rita, John Forsythe and me! There were lots of laughs and plate sharing; it was very cozy.
Dan Wilcox, event chair, and Susan Hatten, co–chair, took the helm for this event, and since it is one of the organization’s major fund-raisers, it was great news that they sold more tables than any previous Black Tie Event. We also had lots of younger attendees participate this year too: That’s Young Variety at work! Kudos to the committee and the Variety staff!
The room was impressively decorated in red and white and black (Variety’s colors). Premier auction items included everything from fun sports packages to luggage to weekend getaways. Keith Murphy was an upbeat emcee in honoring Iowa sports celebrities from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Casey Wiegmann (former Hawkeye and Kansas City Chief) was the featured speaker for the evening and came across as a warm-hearted guy who intuitively knows how to entertain an audience. There was a stirring tribute to the legendary Johnny Orr, whose name is synonymous with Cyclone basketball. What a legacy he leaves. The whole evening made you proud to be from Iowa. It’s always a good way to bring in the New Year, even if it is the Year of the Snake!
Check out some of the fun loving attendees in my photos below and follow this link to view even more party pics: