SAFE Austin’s Annual Storybook Gala Was Sweet Perfection

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by DeAnn Hoeft and Ruben Morales

THE SETTING: Austin’s JW Mariott hotel was the recent setting for the annual SAFE Storybook gala. This year’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory theme ensured there would be yet another great chapter to one of the most anticipated social events of the fall season in the Capital City. In total, the 750 in attendance were treated to a sweet evening of fun and fundraising.

 THE STYLE: The black-tie partygoers began the evening in the ballroom foyer of the JW with a cocktail hour, which included children who played the roles of the Golden Ticket Winners from the iconic movie, along with Oompa Loompa characters, who effortlessly mixed and mingled with the crowd. As the doors opened to the main ballroom, patrons connected with their inner child complete with table displays of lollipops and other confection goodies that ensured even more good times were ahead.

Guests were treated to a multi-course meal that was capped off with a dessert that featured cracking a golden egg in the middle of each table to reveal delicious candy bites for all to enjoy. The evening continued with a spirited live auction that included a host of items perfect for  world travelers with trips to Italy, Sri Lanka, France, and Thailand among the items that captured everyone’s Pure Imagination. The festivities continued when the Guardian Award was presented to Dr. Upali Weerasooriya for his continued and unwavering support of SAFE. The festivities were capped off with two raffles, from Calvin’s Fine Jewelry and  Mercedes Benz of Austin, which were the cherries on top of a perfect evening.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Jay and Kelley Lamy, raised over $1.1 million for The SAFE Alliance. SAFE provides stability and healing to all of those who have lived through violence and abuse through housing, prevention programs, and support services to help stop the cycle of abuse.