Out & About: Planning your Austin social seasons

Parties filter into five periods of play in 2013

Some of 2012’s social delights will not be repeated.

Richard and Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux will not revisit their epic End of the World Party with its Mayan temple and hours of participatory revelry on the grounds of Britannia Manor.

Bobbi Topfer and brood will not reload their double-barreled grand opening parties for the venue bearing their name with Broadway stars and circus-style tent on the Zach Theatre campus.

A shadowy Austin-Los Angeles consortium will surely not spend another $2 million turning La Zona Rosa into three different plushy lounges populated with imported celebrities when Formula One roars back in November.

Or maybe they will. Some Austin socializing, however, will return as predictably as the swallows to Capistrano.

To prepare for 2013, just follow the five social seasons.

Spring

In Austin, frenetic spring lasts from late January through late May. It starts with the gigantic Dell Children’s Gala (Saturday) and begins to ease during the processional Toast of Town gatherings for St. David’s Foundation (from mid-April to mid-May).

Also big in February are — take a breath — Carnaval Brasileiro (Feb. 2), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner for Project Transitions (Feb. 2), Rodeo Austin Gala (Feb. 9), Human Rights Campaign Dinner (Feb. 9), Citizen Generation’s Masquerade (Feb. 9), JDRF’s Deal for the Cure (Feb. 9), The Nobelity Project’s Artists and Filmmakers Dinner (Feb. 10), Philanthropy Day Luncheon (Feb. 14), Blanton Museum of Art Gala (Feb. 16), Town Lake Links Mardi Gras Gala (Feb. 16) and Capital Area Dental Foundation’s Casino Night (Feb. 16).

Also in the shortest month: Camp Fire Promise to Children Award Luncheon (Feb. 20), Austin Under 40 Gala (Feb. 22), Austin Lyric Opera Guild Dinner and Wine Auction (Feb. 23), American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball (Feb. 23), Austin Easter Seals’ Casino Royale (Feb. 23), Preludes & Accolades (Feb 26), Austin Anti-Defamation League Centennial Year 2013 Jurisprudence Luncheon (Feb. 27) and Go Red For Women Summit (Feb. 27).

Come March, consider attending the New Wave Ball for Austin Children’s Shelter (March 1), Viva Las Vegas for Aids Services of Austin (March 2), CASAblanca Ball (March 2), Helping Hand Home for Children’s Crystal Ball (March 2), Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association Awards Show (March 3), Amplify Austin Launch Party (March 4), Texas Medal of the Arts (March 4-5), Texas Film Hall of Fame (March 7), Fashion for Compassion (March 22), Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Bandana Ball (March 23), Heart to Heart Gala for Sacred Heart Community Clinic (March 23), or Explore Austin’s Quest for the Summit (March 28).

Then in April, drop by There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch for People’s Community Clinic (April 1), Luminaria benefiting the American Red Cross of Central Texas (April 5), Long Center Gala (April 6), Celebrando Austin (April 6), Rose Gala (April 12), Seton Board Gala (April 13), Fusebox Festival’s Night of the Tarantula (April 14), Petcasso for Animal Trustees of Austin (April 14), Lone Star Paralysis’ Lone Star Classic (April 18-19), Zach Theatre’s Red, Hot & Soul (April 20), Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction (April 24), Live Fire for Austin Food & Wine Alliance (April 25), Umlauf Garden Party (April 25) or LifeWork’s White Party (April 26).

In May, take time for Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale (May 3), Perfectly Pink Party for Komen Austin (May 4), Sustainable Food Center’s Farm to Plate (May 9), Free Love Luncheon benefiting Emancipet (May 13), Breast Cancer Resource Centers’ Art Bra Austin (May 18), or Be Somebody to Somebody (May 21).

You’ll notice that some charity groups tend to book their biggest parties of the year on the same night. It just shows that, while our social scene is expanding, it has a long way to go vis-à-vis working together.

Summer

Socializing is reduced to a low simmer during the summer. Which not to say that the parties go away. They just shrink. And some go underground.

Why is this? The most obvious reason: It’s hotter than Hades here. And, apropos of galas, those guests who can buy a $50,000 table are somewhere else — anywhere else — during the summer months. If you could afford to escape, wouldn’t you?

Fall

High season returns to Austin from September through November. In recent years, the kickoff has come early with the excellent Excellence in Leadership Gala for Concordia University Texas (Aug. 23) and the Texas Tribute Gala (late August).

Come September, expect Ballet Austin’s classic Fête (Sept. 6), Authentic Mexico for MexNet Alliance (Sept. 16), and the Big Give for I Live Here I Give Here (Sept. 27). In October, taste La Dolce Vita for AMOA/Arthouse (Oct. 10), Austin Film Festival’s Film & Food Party (Oct. 23), and the Texas Book Festival Gala (Oct. 25).

Dates are not yet available for the Andy Roddick Foundation Gala, Livestrong Gala, Jewel Ball, Art of Giving Gala, Black & White Ball, Lone Stars and Angels, Signature Chefs, Putting on the Ritz, Big Reds and Bubbles, Charity Bash Live Auction, Help Clifford Help Kids, Hill Country Nights, More Than a Party and many more fall revels.

Winter

Readers assume that December and January are peak socializing months. Nope. Austinites, like others, retreat inside to play with close friends and family during the winter holidays. The year’s second high social season pretty much ends on Thanksgiving.

Two bright, shining exceptions are the LBJ Presidential Library’s State Dinner and the Center for Child Protection’s astoundingly popular Dancing with the Stars Austin. Otherwise, this is a good time to try that new food trailer, catch a stray musical act or hit the dance floors of downtown Austin.

Festivals

There’s a fifth season: All other socializing grinds to a halt during three Austin mega-fests. South by Southwest (March 8-17), Austin City Limits Music Festival (Oct. 4-6 and Oct 11-13) and Formula One (Nov. 16-17) deprive all other parties of any social oxygen.

Some other fiestas — Rodeo Austin (March 8-23), Texas Relays and Urban Music Festival (March 29-30), Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest (April 24-27), Austin Food and Wine Festival (April 26-28), Austin Fashion Week (May 3-11), Pachanga Latino Music Festival (May 10-11), Republic of Texas Biker Rally (June 3-16), Austin Film Festival (Oct. 24-31), Texas Book Festival (Oct. 26-27), Fun, Fun, Fun Fest (Nov. 8-10), East Austin Studio Tour (Nov. 16-24) and Zilker Trail of Lights (dates to come) — do a pretty good job of distracting everyone from competing events, too.

On Jan. 20, the American-Statesman published a handy schedule of Austin’s numerous festivals. Consult it regularly at austin360.com.

And let’s not forget the acres of socializing that goes on before, during and after each of six University of Texas home football games (Aug. 31-Nov. 28). If the Horns are doing well, that translates into a combined total of 600,000 revelers on site, not counting those who skip the stadium and watch the team from tailgates, sports bars, family dens and man caves.

As Peggy Lee might sing with a touch of weary irony: “Is that all there is?”

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