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Black Tie Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2019 12 months ago

The Ringling's UnGala returns this October

After a decade-long hiatus, The Ringling's UnGala fundraiser is back with a return to its original concept.
by: Harry Sayer Black Tie Reporter

After a 10-year intermission, The Ringling's UnGala is returning to the social scene.

UnGala 2019: 'The Evolution' will be held in The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art's courtyard on Oct. 19 and will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the fundraiser’s premiere in 1986. It will also kick off The Ringling’s season of visual and performing arts, according to The Ringling Assistant Director of Events & Rentals Christina Fraser.

"We're bringing it back to its roots," Fraser says. "This will be a fun party — not a stuffy party."

UnGala was conceived as an alternative to the formal events seen throughout Sarasota’s social scene with the hopes of attracting a younger crowd. But the event strayed from its original vision and became more formal in later years. This year, the fall event will have an 'Evolution' theme to reflect the march of time and The Ringling’s many changes.

The event dress code will allow guests to wear what they feel is comfortable — harkening to the event's casual roots — and will have a $375 ticket price to appeal to a greater number of people. The event can accommodate 700 people and is expected to sell out.

UnGala 2019 is forgoing an event chair in favor of 25 ambassadors who are akin to committee members. About half of these ambassadors have attended prior UnGalas while the other half are younger figures who are looking to become more involved with The Ringling.

"It's really important to keep that interest alive with the younger crowd,” event ambassador Sarah Beattie says.

Rather than a sit-down dinner, UnGala 2019 will opt for a number of food stations and passed hors d'oeuvres.

The gala’s decor will be in shades of silver with a touch of fuchsia to give the night some flair. Guests can be part of a “Chance to Win” drawing that will include gifts worth $1,000 or more. There will also be a surprise performance that The Ringling is keeping secret — at least for now.  

This will be the third UnGala that Fraser has helped plan.

"There's something about a Christina Fraser event that sets it apart," Beattie says. "And this is special because it contributes to all aspects of The Ringling — education programming too."

Those interested in attending can register on The Ringling’s website for an invitation. They will be mailed in early August and online ticket sales will begin shortly after.

Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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