Party Time: The Haute Five Galas in Philadelphia

September traditionally marks the beginning of the “season,” a series of galas, balls, auctions and other special events that keep the city warm and entertained through the cold weather. Philadelphia is no stranger to this custom, with a slew of charitable events scheduled right through January. If you are looking to be seen and do a little good at the same time, try and nab one a coveted invite to one of these haute galas.

The Philadelphia Charity Ball

First held more than 125 years ago when the city was young, a brilliant idea was derived: why don’t we support the charitable organizations in the area, but have fun while doing it? Hence the Philadelphia Charity Ball, one of the first philanthropic celebrations, was born. These days, the event is used to raise funds for a foundations and other causes chosen by a committee of young men and women, as well as the debutantes who are being introduced into city society. The soiree will benefit The Gesu School, a Catholic grade school in a struggling North Philadelphia neighborhood.

The Philadelphia Charity Ball will be held November 26 at The Union League of Philadelphia. Visit for more information.

The Red Ball

Galas and balls typically include fabulous food, but The American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s annual Red Ball is famous for it’s multiple courses of couture cuisine, served up by some the most popular chefs and caterers in the Philadelphia area. The evening also includes a live band, VIP Luxe Lounge and one of the best silent auctions in the city, all to benefit The Red Cross House, a short-term shelter for disaster victims in West Philadelphia.

The Red Ball will be held March 5 at the Please Touch Museum. Visit for more information.


Everyone loves a party with a theme, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ annual event embraces one that nearly everyone can raise a glass to: wine! With a 2010 theme of Pinot on the Palate, the gala features the dishes of Chef Daniel Le Guenan of CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla,  paired with amazing vintages, plus wine tastings and and both live and silent auctions. The days leading up to the main event are also filled with tastings, special wine dinners and this year, a pinot noir symposium. Proceeds from the event benefit student scholarships and other educational programs.

Bacchanal! Pinot on the Palate will be held on November 13 at PAFA. Visit for more information.

Black Tie Tailgate

Part Philadelphia International Auto Show preview, part charitable ball, the Black Tie Tailgate has a little something for everyone. There’s the requisite dining, drinking and dancing, but there’s also a host of state-of-the-art cars that guests are invited to inspect and “test drive.” Proceeds from the event go to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation.

The Black Tie Tailgate will be held January 28 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Visit for more information.

The Academy Ball

Held each January, The Philadelphia Orchestra‘s Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball is considered by many the highlight of the social season. The evening begins with the orchestra performing at the Academy, a stunning space that has been in Philadelphia as long as there has been music. From there, the party moves down the Avenue of the Arts to the Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, where the ballrooms and salons are decked out for the ball. Multiple bands, dining stations and cocktail lounges help this party last all night. The 2011 event will be the 154th celebration, sure to be filled with gorgeous music and merriment by the city’s elite.

The Academy Ball will be held in late January at the Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue. The exact date will be announced in September when tickets go on sale. Invitations to the ball are mailed in October.