HAVING A BALL WITH CRYSTAL CHARITY
DALLAS — It took a lady with a heart the size of Texas and a dress size to match to put the fun back into the Crystal Charity Ball.
The venerable ball benefiting children’s charities has remained a highlight of the Dallas social season, but it had become a bit too routine.
Enter chairwoman Sharon McCutchin. The fund-raiser took the ball back to its Texas roots in a light-hearted, kitschy style that had guests grinning all night long.
Who greeted ball-goers at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel but a trio of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and a horseman astride a white horse decked out with white lights. And what better way to jazz up the cocktail hour than with a strolling Dixieland band straight out of New Orleans, the Olympia Brass Band.
Some were aghast when the Dallas Morning News reported that McCutchin would top the Caesar salad with medallions of chicken fried steak, but the menu was a Texas pleaser: rare beef tenderloin over black-eyed peas with garlic mashed potatoes, yellow squash casserole and asparagus.
And who tore the diners away from their beef to hit the dance floor but rocker Bo Diddley.
McCutchin also delivered a show-stopping dessert — everyone got their own carved ice Christmas tree bearing a scoop of white macadamia nut ice cream rolled in fudge and pecans.
“I’m nervous because I’m stepping so far out from the usual Crystal Charity Ball with all this entertainment,” confessed McCutchin as she greeted guests.
She needn’t have worried, since everyone was singing her praises all night.
Resplendent in a white beaded gown by Richard Brooks and her eternally big hair, the irrepressible McCutchin greeted Jack Gunter and quipped, “Do I look like Moby Dick?”
“It’s a rock ‘n’ roll event,” said entertainment director Gloria Godat, who had picked up Bo Diddley, the headline performer, at the airport. “He wanted to go straight to the pawn shop, so that’s what we did,” she reported. “He bought a synthesizer and said he was paying a quarter of the retail price.”
The ball was attended by a bejeweled crowd of 1,850, including Ross and Margot Perot, Caroline Rose Hunt, Margaret Hunt Hill, Gene and Jerry Jones and many of this city’s movers and shakers. While final figures aren’t in yet, more than $2 million had been raised in underwriting even before the ball’s ticket sales and raffles had been tallied.