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Givin' Big at The Big Give

The Big Give Under the Big Top's night of fun, philanthropy and circus freaks

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Ben Schave juggles several large blades. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Valerie Cason and Adi Pavlovic dance to The White Ghost Shivers. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Aeriel silks dancer, Michele Frances. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Co-Chairs Charisse Sayers and Mary-Wommack Barton. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Davis and Donna Baldwin and Heidi Hicks. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Leo Welder, 2013 Big Giver Honoree, and event Co-Chairs Charisse Sayers and Mary-Wommack Barton. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Anita James and Adrienne Longenecker. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Callie Clemons and Sloan Garvey. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Sondra Lomax, Julie Hooper and Ann Flemings. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Beth Sims, Ysaac Keith and Lizzie Choffel. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Craig Hester, Felicia Teel, Collin Acock and Nicole Ireland. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Chris Pinkston, Caroline Ittner, Co-Chair Charisse Sayers and Scotty Sayers. Photo by Jon Shapley
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The White Ghost Shivers perform. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Lauren Lovell, Blakeley McCracken, Caroline Huddleston and Brian Haley. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Mary O'Hara, with Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, receives the big award. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Kimberly and Clark Menge and Sara Cain. Photo by Jon Shapley
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The White Ghost Shivers perform. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Gabrielle and Leo Welder. Leo was the 2013 Big Giver. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Elliott Weeks plays a carnival game. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Retta Van Auken and Patsy Woods Martin watch a video honoring the work of Martin. Photo by Jon Shapley
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With the Hyatt Regency ballroom transformed into a circus tent, philanthropists and socialites mingled with contortionists and circus freaks at the 2013 Big Give Under the Big Top on Friday, September 27.

Decked out in their vintage cocktail best, guests perused the dozens of silent auction items, sipped wine from Barefoot Wines and cocktails from Dripping Springs and munched their way through an enviable spread of Hey Cupcake! goodies. The gypsy-esque musical stylings of the always entertaining White Ghost Shivers provided the perfect soundtrack for an evening of carnival games and aerial displays — not to mention a knife juggler.

The Big Give Under the Big Top is I Live Here, I Give Here's  annual celebration of Austin philanthropists and nonprofit organizations. The Amala Foundation, a youth services organization, received a $5,000 donation from Austin-based RetailMeNot. Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation won the big prize, receiving a $10,000 donation from Mercedes Benz of Austin. Leo Welder received the Big Giver Award for his work with YMBL Sunshine Camps. In his speech, he thanked those in the audience who had made it to the valet parking line in time to hear his speech (the line stretched down the hotel's long driveway and on to Barton Springs Road), as well as his wife, Gabrielle.

Patsy Woods Martin, who left her role as director of I Live Here, I Give Here back in August, was the subject of a touching tribute video documenting her work in establishing the foundation as well the legacy of philanthropy she leaves behind. Clad in a retro silver dress, Martin was brought onstage to a roar of cheers when the Big Giver Award was renamed in her honor.

By 9:30 pm, the silent auction was closed, and the White Ghost Shivers were back onstage to help folks boogie the night away. Out on the dance floor? Lauren Lovell, Blakeley McCracken, Caroline Huddleston and Brian Haley.  Also roaming the big top were Chris Pinkston, Caroline Ittner, co-chair Charisse Sayers (who took the circus theme to a whole other level in a fabulous glittered bolero jacket) and Scotty Sayers. Making their way past the aerialist were Craig Hester, Felicia Teel, Collin Acock and Nicole Ireland.

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