What: The tenth annual gala fundraiser for the Washington Animal Rescue League.
Where: Union Station.
When: Saturday, April 24, 8 PM.
Ticket price: $150 for general admission; $250 for a VIP ticket.
Who: Dogs of all shapes and sizes were the favorite accessory for 500 Washington animal lovers attending WARL’s largest annual fundraiser Saturday night. From mammoth great Danes to the tiniest chihuahuas, four-legged guests were just as dolled up as their human companions, sporting everything from bejeweled leashes and bow ties to pink satin evening gowns and feathered headdresses. Two vested German shepherds from FEMA’s search-and-rescue unit were also in attendance along with their handlers. The 7 PM VIP reception in the smaller upstairs Columbus Club brought notable names such as NPR’s Diane Rehm and Wonkette founder Ana Marie Cox before the main event.
Downstairs in the towering East Hall, NBC 4’s Jim Handly and Wendy Rieger delivered opening remarks. WARL board-of-directors chair David S. J. Brown and gala chair Susan Ridge thanked the crowd. Executive director Dr. Gary Weitzman presented a video on the organization, and local animal advocates Marty King, Dr. Sol Perl, and David and Mary Brown were honored with awards.
TLC’s cameras were rolling when Georgetown Cupcake founders Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne presented an impressive spread of their signature baked goods, adorned with pastel poodle cutouts and a giant dog constructed of cupcakes. The sisters, whose lives are being chronicled for an upcoming reality show on the television network, also brought along a table of dog-friendly “pupcakes.”
The scene: Guests at the elegant cocktail reception were greeted with table after table of silent-auction items including everything from a personalized pet portrait to lunch for two with Tucker Carlson at the Palm. A retro photo booth complete with zebra-print cowboy hats and Mardi Gras masks for dressing up added a fun touch for guests and their dogs. Inside the East Hall, another photo station provided more professional portraits. One guest took home an even better souvenir: a diamond ring the group raffled off at the end of the night.
On the menu: In keeping with the animal-welfare theme, the evening’s menu was strictly vegetarian. Servers carried trays of cream-cheese-and-asparagus bites and pesto-stuffed cherry tomatoes around the VIP reception and silent-auction areas, and food stations that dotted the East Hall offered options such as a salad of sprouted wheat berry, barley, and wild rice; and a spicy pad Thai. In addition to Georgetown Cupcake’s treats, dessert was chocolate-covered strawberries, lemon-mousse cordials, and mini sticky-bun lollypops. Canine guests weren’t left out: there were the peanut-butter-and-applesauce “pupcakes,” and the Arlington-based organic-pet-food company Max & Ruffy’s brought pumpkin, blueberry, and pizza treats. The dogs also enjoyed their own open bar—water bowls beside each beverage station.
Ratings (for an explanation of our ratings system, go here):
Boldface guests: 2 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 3 (out of 5)
Food and drink: 2 (out of 5)
Overall exclusivity: 2 (out of 5)
Total: 9 (out of 20)