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