As we sink knee deep into planning our 17th annual gala, I thought it might be fun to share some gala highlights. A few years after Horse and Buddy began, and only a year or two after we received our 501(c)3 nonprofit status from the IRS, we decided we needed a big, cool fundraiser. A gala seemed to fit the bill, so we planned and hosted our first at The Barn at Fearrington. It was gorgeous and fun and we didn’t lose any money, which was kind of the only goal we had that year.
Our gala has continued every year since that first one in 2006. It’s usually the first Friday in May, but this year is a bit different. More on that later. It’s a fun night, with dinner, drinks, dancing, and crazy auction bidding. We’ve upgraded a few things (online bidding is so much easier than 3-ply bid sheets!), but our overall goal of having fun hasn’t changed a bit. We have some sponsors who have supported us for the majority of our existence, and many attendees who have done the same.
In 2014, we even had a special guest, Don Jeanes, the gentleman who was in all those Super Bowl commercials with the Budweiser Clydesdales and the puppies! He was such a nice man. He signed photos, ran in our 5K that weekend, let us auction him off for a dinner the following evening, and came out to see what we do at the barn.
We name our volunteer of the year at the gala, and we have a wonderful parent speak about what the program means to their family. Most important of all, we raise money to help us continue providing our valuable services to the community. Thank you is never big enough to express our gratitude for the incredible support.
For the past 2 years, we have had to move to a virtual gala due to COVID. That was a different sort of fun, and the support we received in that format was mind blowing. But we are VERY happy that we will be giving hugs (only to those who want them!) and seeing smiles on faces in 2022. If you haven’t bought your ticket or sponsorship yet, it’s not too late, but it’s getting close! It looks like we might sell it out!
Oh and here’s the answer to the teaser above. WHY isn’t the gala on the first Friday in May this year? Because it took us a minute to decide if we thought we could go live this year, and by the time we said yes, the only date left in April or May was May 13th. Evidently NO ONE wants to get married on Friday the 13th! We are optimistically planning for our best event ever! What could possibly go wrong???
I’ll end this with the Top 10 Reasons to attend our gala. Don’t forget to buy your tickets today at: https://www.horseandbuddy.org/gala
- Celebrate our first live event in 3 years. No more Zoom gala!
- Eat, drink, and be merry.
- Learn more about Horse and Buddy and the amazing population we serve.
- See the Horse and Buddy staff dressed up. You won’t recognize us.
- Meet and mingle with staff, board, volunteers, riders and parents who can tell you all about what we do.
- Bid on amazing silent and live auction items. Spoiler alert: We have 3 beach vacations, plus an African safari!
- Get a great bottle of wine from our Wall of Wine.
- Dance the night away to the amazing music of DJ George. Melanie would love to have new dance buddies!
- It’s the perfect excuse to buy new shoes.
- Listen to a parent touch your heart with the story of their rider’s experience.