The second annual gala to raise funds for the construction of the Fayetteville Community Center & Performance Theater bested the previous gala, raking in more than $600,000 for the project currently under construction in Fayetteville’s town square. 

More than 300 guests attended the “Night at the Theater” themed black-tie event at Windy Knoll in Round Top. Fundraiser co-chairs Joan Herring and Wendy Burks welcomed guests alongside the Champagne Diva as country music artist Donnie Blacketer crooned in the background. 

There was plenty to be excited about, as the gala’s associated live auction was full of covetable prizes including private dinners, destination vacations in Texas, Utah and New Mexico, and luxury fashion items. A round of golf at Big Easy Ranch, custom boots from Rockabilly Baroness and a Cartier watch from Deutsch Fine Jewelry of Houston were among the most popular items up for bids. 

Houston radio personality Sam Malone hyped the crowd ahead of the auction followed by a rousing rendition of “Big Spender” belted out by Houston-based vocal trio SASS. 

The highlight of the live auction conducted by Andrew Bost was the spirited bidding for a set of antique presentation Bowie knives that once belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody. The set — donated by The Compound vendor Axe Antiques — sold for $27,000. 

A humble silent auction item took the biggest prize, however. A signed photograph of country music star Lyle Lovett jumped from an opening bid of $250 to a final sale price of $160,000. 

A “paddles up” video was also shared with the audience featuring interviews with former County Judge Joe Weber, Fayette County Community Theater founder Susannah Mikulin, Shakespeare at Winedale founder Doc Ayres, Kennedy Center’s Glenn Turner, legendary piano player Ezra Charles and the Black Cat Choir’s Frank Hillbolt. All underscored the case for building the 150 seat multi-use performance theater on Fayetteville’s square. 

The video also included interviews with Laura Wilson (mother of actors Andrew, Owen and Luke Wilson) and SASS trio’s Sharon Montgomery. 

Head of construction and gala board member John Dennis provided an update on the Fayetteville Community Center & Performance Theater project, noting that construction has begun on the theater site as part of Phase I. Phase I, which includes a renovation of the historic building, is completely funded and progressing. Phase II is comprised of plans for a new concrete and steel performance theater to be built onto the back of the structure.

For more information, go here.