Baltimore's party season is off and running after getting its kickoff last night with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gala, which many folks consider the unofficial start to the fall party season. The next three months may be the most intense time of year when it comes to the dozens of shindigs dedicated to raising money for a number of non-profit organizations. The parties themselves are as varied as the charities they support, and the crowds they draw.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22
Benefits: The Life and Breath Foundation
What: This giant cocktail party starts with an intimate VIP gathering poolside at 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel. There, you can mingle and take photos with this year's honorees — former Ravens Brad Jackson, Matt Stover and Qadry Ismail — along with other past and current players. The Festivus proper starts in the hotel's main ballroom, hosted by Fox45's Candace Gold.
See: This is Baltimore's cool crowd. Invitees include former and current Ravens Michael McCrary, Ed Reed and Kyle Richardson, and actor Kenny Johnson. Expect to see such notables as Turner Development's Pat and Jeanine Turner and Premier Rides' Jim Seay and Sara Ingram.
Be seen: Resort casual. Tommy Bahama shirts for men, sundresses for women — but a touch of glam doesn't hurt. Flip-flops not required, but encouraged. Channel your inner L.A. celebrity self.
Dine: Heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar.
Superlative: Coolest party this fall.
Tickets: $100, VIP/$175. lifeandbreath.org or 410-750-8808.
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 28
Benefits: Living Classrooms Foundation
What: With 2,500 people in attendance, this is the biggest blast of the season. More than 60 Baltimore restaurants, caterers and liquor purveyors have stations around the tented Douglass-Myers Maritime Park campus. Outdoors, the 20-member MarchFourth Marching Band incorporates stilt-walkers, fire-eaters and dancers into its act as it performs funk, rock and jazz. Inside, a jazz band performs.
See: Younger professionals, as well as those who are established but in the know. A typical mix might include Brody Transportation's Steve Brody; real estate company founder Jim Piper and his wife, Mimi; Westport Group's Chuck Nabit; and Banks Contracting's Ken Banks.
Be seen: Casual festive. Dress up your jeans in a fun way, but leave the 4-inch stiletto heels at home. There's a lot of ground to travel here. Go for flats or easy wedges.
Superlative: Best all-out bash
Dine: Food stations, beer, wine. Cash bar for cocktails.
Tickets: $110/$120 at door. livingclassrooms.r2ismash.com or 410-685-0295 ext. 209.
Rock 'N' Roll Bash
When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29
Benefits: Casey Cares Foundation
What: The 10th annual bash is the time to release your inner rock star at Rams Head Live. Mingle with 800 of your closest friends and five bands: Blatant '80s, Cold Gin (a KISS cover band), Bad Medicine (Bon Jovi cover), High Voltage (AC/DC cover) and the Bash's All Star Band, with members of the "Saturday Night Live" band, Billy Joel's band and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
See: Folks who may have been fans when the original bands were in their prime, including Oxford Research Group's Mike and Ellen DiMayo, Capital Securities' Gil and Marianne Kuta, and American Breadcrumb Co.'s Michael and Donna McCabe.
Be seen: Casual or rock star. If all these bands are going high-voltage rock, why shouldn't you? Pull a favorite '80s outfit out of your vintage stash, or go for an edgy look. And rock it.
Dine: Heavy hors d'oeuvres/open bar or food counters/cash bars.
Superlative: Best time machine.
Tickets: $40/$80. Higher-priced tickets include heavy hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. caseycaresfoundation.org or 443-568-0064.
A Celebration of Leadership + Innovation
When: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6
Benefits: The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation
What: Probably more "reserved and professional" than "party animal." But Baltimore's business and academic leaders will be in abundance at this Baltimore Marriott Waterfront event honoring University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Freeman A. Hrabowski III for his 20 years as president.
See: Business, academic and political leaders, mixed in with UMBC folks and supporters. The host committee includes Brown Capital's Eddie and Sylvia Brown, Woodbrook Capital's Earl and Darielle Linehan, A&R; Development's Theo and Blanche Rodgers, Exelon's Mayo and Molly Shattuck, and McCormick's Alan and Wendy Wilson.
Be seen: Black-tie optional. Dress up in a nice business suit or cocktail dress. It's all about showing love and respect.
Dine: Cocktail hour, seated dinner.
Superlative: Most serious.
Tickets: $250. Call 410-455-2210. Note: RSVP deadline is Friday.
Toast & Roast of Tom Hall
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 12.
Benefits: Baltimore Choral Arts Society
What: This soiree at Hunt Valley Inn marks the 30th year Hall has been the society's music director. After a cocktail hour, guests will sit for dinner and a program involving some fun tributes to Hall, who's known for his relaxed nature and cheeky sense of humor.
See: Professional, business and cultural leaders mixed with chorus members and arts supporters. The society's annual Ruby Cabaret usually attracts folks such as Maryland Institute College of Art President Fred Lazarus, MPT's Rhea Feikin and philanthropists Ed and Ellen Berman.
Be seen: The invite says "Night on the Town" attire. You can ramp up a business look or go with easy cocktail attire. You're going to be sitting most of the night and doing a lot of laughing.
Dine: Hors d'oeuvres, dinner, first drink included in ticket price. Cash bar.
Superlative: Friendliest vibe.
Tickets: $85. baltimorechoralarts.org or 410-523-7070.
The Walters Gala & The pARTy: Salute to Gary Vikan
When: Oct. 13
Benefits: The Walters Art Museum
What: Six hundred corporate types, arts leaders and philanthropists arrive in full finery for a cocktail hour and first peek at the museum's new "Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe" exhibit, followed by a seated dinner. In between, Vikan, who is retiring after 17 years at the Walters' helm, will be honored. A Las Vegas theme is a nod to Vikan's affection for all things Elvis. At 8 p.m., the doors open for the shindig's second tier, when 200 more folks will join in for cocktails, desserts and dancing.
See: In the past, we've spotted Baltimore Orioles' owner Peter Angelos and wife Georgia, Brown Advisory's Bill and Nan Paternotte, Kennedy Krieger's gal-about-town Lainy Lebow-Sachs and Nevins & Associates' David and Susie Nevins. The pARTy is being chaired by entrepreneurs Adam and Meredith Borden and Steve and Rosanna Best Corbin.
Be seen: If you have a ticket to the black-tie gala, go all-out glam, or bling it up a la Elvis. You can also use the Elvis theme or a cocktail look for pARTy attire.
Dine: Gala: hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, open bar. pARTy: desserts, open bar.
Tickets: Gala is sold out. pArty, $90. thewalters.org.
One Night, One Show, One Cause
When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14
Benefits: Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
What: Taking its annual Kimmel fundraising concert to a new level, Paul Reed Smith Guitars is bringing Journey to the Modell Center for the Performing Arts at the Lyric Opera House. Band members will meet and greet some 500 guests at the VIP pre-concert party. Starting at 5:30, you can also mingle with L.A. music industry leaders and former D.C. "Real Housewife" (and girlfriend of lead guitarist Neal Schon) Michaele Salahi, who will host a fashion show. A live auction of autographed guitars is followed by the concert at 8:30.
See: Sterling Partners' Eric and Jill Becker and WJZ's Mary Bubala will be among those who don't stop believing.
Be seen: You can go rock 'n' roll casual or dressy jeans. But, you can also go over-the-top in rocker glam to mix with big-time music types.
Dine: Food station, open bar.
Superlative: The rockingest.
Tickets: $250-$1,000 ($1,000 tickets include front-row seats at concert). $75-$250, concert only.
An Evening of Celebrity Fashion and Fun
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 27
Benefits: Pathfinders for Autism
What: This event, hosted by Pathfinders founders Polly and B.J. Surhoff, generally sells out. Not only is it one big cocktail party — this year at the Center Club — but the Surhoffs recruit sports and broadcasting celebrities for its fashion show. This year's models include Mia Hamm, Nick and Christina Markakis, Chris and Dana Hoiles, Qadry and Holly Ismail, Paralympians Jessica Long and Brad Snyder, and Olympian Ricky Berens.
See: This party attracts many city sophisticates, ages 25-55, like Townsend Capital's David and Gretchen Townsend, and Attman's Marc and Debbie Attman.
Be seen: Trendy cocktail attire. This is your chance to explore this season's glamorous trends and feel completely city-chic.
Dine: Heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar.
Superlative: Biggest jock crowd
Tickets: $200. pathfindersforautism.org or 443-330-5370.
LUX Annual Benefit & Exhibition
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 9
Benefits: Maryland Art Place
What: The party's "Old Hollywood" theme comes from a photograph of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, taken by Elliott Landy, that will be auctioned that night. Landy was a juror for the new MAP photo exhibition and will also be on hand. The honorary chairs are the Ravens' Ray Lewis — an amateur photographer himself, whose work will also be on display — and his fiancee, Juliana Childress.
See: Among those spotted here in the past: board chair Suzi Cordish and her husband, Cordish Co.'s David Cordish; venture capitalist Patrick Kerins and his wife, Terry Morgenthaler of MAP; and Baltimore Museum of Art Director Doreen Bolger.
Be seen: The suggested attire is Old Hollywood or "creative glamour."
Dine: Food stations manned by local chefs in a culinary competition; open bar.
Superlative: Widest mix of people.
Tickets: $250. missiontix.com or 410-962-8565.
The Holly Ball
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 14
Benefits: Gilchrist Hospice Care
What: An honest-to-gosh ball. Begun by Patricia Modell, the ball this year is dedicated to her and fellow Gilchrist supporter, Bill Pitcher. Some 700-800 formally clad guests — many in designer gowns — will fill the mezzanine of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront for the cocktail hour, before the doors to the ballroom open. Modell wanted guests to simply enjoy an elegant evening of fun. So there's just a seated dinner and dance music provided by the Michael Carney Orchestra from New York.
See: Folks who have come to past balls include Sinclair Broadcasting's David and Jane Smith, H&S; Bakeries' John Paterakis, St. John Properties' Ed St. John and former Maryland Education Secretary Nancy Grasmick and her husband, Grasmick Lumber's Lou Grasmick.
Be seen: Black tie and gowns. This is the time to play dress-up to the max. No holds barred. Chances are, there will be someone more glammed-out than you.
Dine: Hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, open bar.
Superlative: Most old-fashioned (in a good way).
Tickets: $350. gilchristhospice.org or 443-849-8245.
Shoot: Elizabeth Massing, photographed by Algerina Perna on Sept. 11. Styling by Sloane Brown. Hair by Susan Heydt, THE Artist Agency.
For a cocktail or black-tie affair: Black Haute Hippie halter cocktail dress, $695, Jones & Jones. Jimmy Choo stilettos, $498 on sale, Ruth Shaw. Ivanka Trump earrings, $4,400, and bracelet, $12,000; all Radcliffe Jewelers. Shoes are model's own.
For a sophisticated out-on-the town event: Rag & Bone bronze and black jodhpur, $350, blazer, $545, and T-shirt, $255; Below The Belt waist-cincher, $218; all Ruth Shaw. Michael Kors heels, $265, Handbags in the City. H. Stern Hera Collection earrings, $2,800, and necklace, $13,300, all Radcliffe Jewelers. Elena Canter cuff bracelet, $460, Jones & Jones.
For a rock n' roll bash: Paprika Helmut Lang dress, $295; Jimmy Choo booties, $1,295; all Ruth Shaw. Roberto Coin earrings, $11,800; John Hardy hinge cuff, $1,995; David Yurman sterling-and-ceramic bracelet, $4,750, and sterling bracelet, $4,200; all Radcliffe Jewelers.
For a dressed-up casual party: Sanctuary Buddha tunic, $90, and jeans, $154; Michael Kors Fagan sandals, $295; Diane von Furstenberg Carolina bag, $345; all Handbags in the City. Hammered gold hoops, $95, Jones & Jones. Elizabeth Locke bracelet, $12,300, Radcliffe Jewelers.
The model: Elizabeth Massing, 37, of Roland Park, is the director of human resources for Agora Inc. Her own list of not-to-miss events this fall includes Maritime Magic, The Walters pARTy, One Night One Show One Cause, An Evening of Celebrity Fashion and Fun, and LUX.
Jones & Jones, 5100 Falls Road in the Village of Cross Keys; 410-532-9645; jonesandjones1970.com
Ruth Shaw, 2100 Falls Road in the Village of Cross Keys; 410-532-7886; ruthshawinc.com
Handbags in the City, 840 Aliceanna St., Harbor East; 410-528-1443; handbagsinthecity.com
Radcliffe Jewelers, 1848 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville; 825 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson; 800-487-0309; radcliffejewelers.com