"At first, we were all dentists," says one dentist about the governing board of the Capital Area Dental Foundation, which provides dental services to the needy. "Now, non-dentists are running the show. And the dentists are going back to what they do best."

The dentists haven’t done bad so far. Their amiable annual Carnaval raises tens of thousands of dollars for procedures that alter people’s lives. This week, almost 500 guests packed into the Four Seasons Hotel for what one wag dubbed a "dentist prom." (Two of my dental heros, Dr. Alan Moore and Dr. Shane Matt, help run the charity.)

For the first time, I stayed for the whole show. Well, all except the very popular fake gambling, about which I’d love to learn more. Some charity groups, such as Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation, make it into a main attraction.

I am sticking, however, with my resolution to attend only one gala a night. That way, I don’t spend half the evening shuttling between events. Instead, I soak up conversations with a few of my favorite things: Austinites.