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