St. David’s Toast Of The Town Star-Studded Party Series Goes Virtual
By Rob Giardinelli Photography courtesy of St. David’s Foundation
THE SETTING: St. David’s Foundation’s Toast of the Town, one of Austin’s most anticipated party series of the year, recently completed another star-studded round of soirées with a twist. This year’s events were hosted virtually due to the pandemic. Despite toasting from afar, guests were treated to the same fun, engaging parties with interesting speakers as in years past. The result was virtually the best Toast party series ever.
THE STYLE: Those who attended the party series were still treated to the same white-glove experience they’d always had for the in-person events. In advance of each of the events, a welcome kit featuring multi-course meals from some of Austin’s best and most beloved venues, along with program details and a special thank you gift, were delivered to guests for them to savor and enjoy their five-star experience at home. In addition, prior to the launch of each event, guests were provided a special welcome on their screens by St. David’s Foundation CEO and President Dr. Ed Burger, allowing them to feel a part of the action in person.
The evenings began with words from St. David’s leadership before moving to the main programs. This year’s parties provided something for everyone. Those passionate about food engaged in separate events, including the Taste’s of Japan with celebrity chef Tyson Cole and barbecue with Daytripper Chet Garner. While, history buffs were treated with several options, including a conversation with Presidential historians Douglas Brinkley, Mark Updegrove, and H.W. Brands, as well as a national security discussion featuring Gen. Vincent Brooks, William Inboden, and Robert Chesney. Lastly, no Toast party series would be complete without music. This year exceeded expectations with separate evenings featuring music from legends of multiple music genres. These performances included country music legend Clint Black and Society Texas’ own Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, who interviewed pop and punk rock icon Kathy Valentine about her new book All I Ever Wanted…she even serenaded the audience with The Go-Go’s iconic song, Vacation.
THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Mary Katherine Stout, with Ellen Troxclair serving as vice-chair, raised over $1.7 million for the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program. Since the program’s founding, nearly 600 students have received annual scholarships of $7,500 to pursue health-related careers at Texas colleges and universities.