Sarasota Young Professionals Group's throwback gala will take guests back in time — to the decade of their choosing.
Most formal events stick to a concrete theme — roaring ’20s, masquerade, even “farm chic” — but the only gala of the summer stands out with a more inclusive dress code.
Sarasota Young Professionals Group will host Throwback Gala: Sarasota Through the Years on Saturday, June 3, at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, and it will mark the organization’s first gala in some 10 years.
Events Chairwoman of the YPG Board Shantel Norman says she came up with the idea of having a gala back in December, but it wasn’t until her son went to prom this spring that she came up with the throwback idea.
“I would love to go back to the prom and do the whole king and queen thing,” she says. “I was like, this is something we need to do, to dress up and take it back.”
And so the concept of throwing an “adult prom” with a choose-your-own-decade dress code was born. Norman and her committee acquired several historical black-and-white photos from Sarasota County Historical Resources that will be blown up and hung around the venue. As for the other décor, Norman says committee members will get their hands sticky and make old-school paper flowers and lanterns.
Sarasota Young Professionals Coordinator Mimi Cirbusova makes it clear that this is not a traditional “raise-a-paddle” gala.
“For individuals who are new to the area, it’s hard to make friends, and it’s hard to get out there and do things,” she says. “We do a lot of professional networking, but sometimes you just need that fun laid-back event.”
Both Cirbusova and Norman note that most young professionals can’t afford the high ticket prices of local galas, so their $50-$75 ticket range is meant to be more attainable.
Although most galas in Sarasota focus on fundraising, Cirbusova says YPG is focused on the social aspect. Proceeds from the gala will benefit YPG programs, but the goal is to host a fun event.
Organizers are expecting an attendance of 120 people for the event, which will feature dancing, a best-dressed contest, an open bar and fusion-style cuisine by Chef Craig Chasky and John Tatum.
Cirbusova, a self-proclaimed Sarasota history nerd, says she’s most looking forward to getting into the nostalgic spirit and either going thrifting for her outfit or picking something from her own collection of vintage clothing.
Norman is excited to put on a ball gown, strap on her heels and put her hair up in a “beautiful updo” before checking out the old-school moves she hopes to see on the dance floor.
“We are going to do a soul train line so you’ve got to bring your A game,” she says.
*This story appeared in print with the incorrect number of guests expected to attend.