When I first joined the Chamber, I didn’t go to the Gala. Frankly, the idea of getting dressed up and going to a big party without a date was daunting. (Don’t ask about the “not taking a date thing!) Ultimately, I had a change of heart, and am I glad I did. Now, I view the Gala as an event to be anticipated, thoroughly enjoyed and remembered fondly. Let me share with you why attending this year’s Gala is something you should do.
1. It’s a well-planned party where all you need to do is show up and enjoy yourself!
While I don’t know what the philosophy was behind the Gala 90 years ago, I can tell you that the Gala Committee works hard to make each year’s Gala the best party ever. Chamber staff starts early with the “template,” but the real work begins in November when staff and Chamber members get together to make it happen. We brainstorm for new and interesting ideas for the cocktail hour (our signature Chamber drink, for example), the silent auction (our fur coats and jewelry and different items each year), the live auction (interesting big ticket items), our raffles (to Italy and St. Lucia) and our games (Heads or Tails). We make sure that the band will play songs that are fun to dance to (anyone remember the swing band we had way back when? I don’t swing...do you?). Staff works with The Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City to select food and wine for the evening to ensure interesting, deliciously complementary choices. And the day of the Gala, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to get the Ritz facilities ready for the silent auction.
2. You can get some great stuff at the auctions and raffles.
Over the years, I have managed to purchase gourmet wines, photo shoots, a fur-lined cape, massages, tickets and personal services via the silent auction. Often you can score a great deal, but even if you don’t, you’re helping the Chamber by making a purchase. And while I haven’t won a raffle yet, I have friends who have, so I’m optimistic about the future.
3. You will get the chance to spend quality time with people in a social setting.
There is no other Chamber event where you can do this. You will be able to create or strengthen friendships that go beyond the normal business networking conversation. And your spouse or significant other will also be able to see exactly why this Chamber is so important to what you do. Besides, it’s too cold to play golf so view the Gala as a winter version of 18 holes with potential business connections!
4. You can enjoy yourself with a date or by going stag!
Sure, you can bring a date if you want, but in the past 6 years, the Chamber staff has taken great pains to make sure that solo guests have as much fun as those in pairs. The cocktail hour is highly social and welcoming. Dinner seating is carefully arranged so that people coming by themselves are placed with other singles or people who are highly compatible. Dancing is a group activity to which all are invited. Many people (me included) have started coming by themselves just because it’s often more fun!
5. Your presence is important to the Chamber.
We like you. We really, really do. And we want to get to know you better. And experience the true value of being a Chamber member. Here in Arlington, our Chamber is synonymous with “relationship,” “deep connection” and “value.” We are a quality-based organization whose goal is to help you all succeed, prosper and enjoy yourself in the process. Having you help us celebrate our 90th year of serving businesses and organizations in the Arlington community in this fun, social setting will enhance our enjoyment…and make you happy as well.
Hopefully, you’re convinced to call Kate or Cassie and buy your ticket for the Gala. And, if you’re already coming, I hope this has only whetted your anticipation for the wonderful time you’ll have in a little more than two weeks!
Editor's Note: The 90th Annual Arlington Business Gala is on Saturday, January 25 at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City beginning at 6:30 p.m. Registration deadline for individuals and sponsors is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17. To purchase your tickets, register online or call the Chamber office at 703-525-2400.