Waiting in line outside of the Swan Dive, the setting feels transformed. The red carpet below our feet, the excitement emanating from the other people in line, their feathers and fringe swaying in the night breeze.
We stood for our picture in front of a beautiful grey and blue fleur background, like a vignette from Downton Abbey, me in my elbow-length gloves and Adam in his white tie tuxedo with tails.
We were transported into the roaring 20’s inside, swinging jazz blaring and dancers jitterbugging on the center floor.
Our hostess, Mandy Lauderdale, floated through the crowd, yet what was trailing behind her? Wasabi, a bouncing puppy!
And why? This fabulous Secret Society Ball, hosted by the Austin Influential Group, was in support of Austin Pets Alive!
Genesis of Austin Influential Group
The Austin Influential Group, a charity group run by Candice Johnson, started in early 2012 with the goal of continuing the work of a disbanded Charitable Ladies organization here in Austin. Austin Pets Alive! (APA) was a natural choice for sponsorship. Candice got both her cats from APA, an organization that works hard to maintain Austin’s status as a No-Kill city.
Impact of the Secret Society Ball
For the theme of the Secret Society Ball fundraiser, the 1920’s was the natural choice for Johnson. She is enamored with the era and originally hoped the event would coincide with the release of The Great Gatsby. But even with the delay of the film, the popularity of shows like Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire – along with the amount of creativity brewing in Austin – made the event a wild success. Almost $10,000 was raised for Austin Pets Alive!
The enthusiasm of Austinites for themed dress-up parties made the event even more special, as attendance was through the roof and costumes were outstanding! The entertainment that Johnson arranged was an excellent reflection of the times. Johnson commented:
“I needed a delicate combination of risqué, along with class and style. I knew my audience would be unfamiliar with this style of entertainment and I really wanted to open their eyes, but was also very conscious of walking that fine line between sex appeal and grace. The 1920s was an age of women taking on their independence and they began to dress more provocatively and behave more flirtatious. I wanted my entertainment to be authentic to the times.”
And authentic it was! Between the entertainment, specialized decor, and the fabulous costumes of the participants, it was a complete package. No wonder the night was so successful!
How to Get Involved with Austin Influential Group
What’s next for the Austin Influential Group? “A Timeless Splendor,” an event run in collaboration with The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co. and Sophie Parrott, will take place on April 14th from 3-6 PM.
To find out more information about taking part in or supporting the Austin Influential Group, contact Candice Johnson.
What non-profit would you like to see Austin Influential Group support?