A beautiful spring Saturday evening is best spent getting dressed up and going out with friends to enjoy a lovely dinner while listening to live music. Such an evening is only made better when it’s for a great cause.

Take the scene at gorgeous Peck Barn at The Compound, which is owned by Round Top Mayor Mark Massey. Notable locals from all over Fayette County gathered in the sprawling barn to support the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter. Funds were raised to support the shelter and all the vital things GJAS has been doing for the county’s furry best friends.

“We had a great turnout,” GJAS director Teresa Stanley-Brown says. “It was very successful for the shelter and we had a couple of things in our favor: People were ready to get out and be together, and our fundraising committee did an incredible job. It was an outstanding event.”

An evening out in Round Top full of great food, music and an even greater cause. Getting the party started, the lively quartette, Cool Freddie E & The Crew, played a wide variety of music.

Gathering around linen-clad circle tables, guests enjoyed dinner from Celebrations by Bistro 108 Events and Catering based out of La Grange.

Melanie Tipton of Last Petal a Floral Studio in La Grange brought the whimsy with dog-shaped floral centerpieces. A smash hit with the gala-goers, these colorful spring florals graced the backs of teddy bear-esque brown dogs which sat poignantly at the center of each table.

In this instance, it’s a good thing to say that the gala went to the dogs.

“We don’t have our bottom number but I think it was probably a banner year for us. I think it was probably a record year,” Stanley-Brown says.

Gardenia E. Janssen’s History of Helping

Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter has been serving the needs of Fayette County’s animals for more than 20 years. The long-running shelter has only ramped up its hard work throughout the years.

“We have taken in on average, over the last 10 years, about 1,500 dogs and cats (a year) and in 2020 we took in 1,400,” Stanley-Brown says.

Cool Freddie E & The Crew Perform at The Compound
Cool Freddie E & The Crew played a wide variety of music for a fun night. (Photo by Chris Bachman)

While raising funds for a more-than-worthy cause, the GJAS Gala also served as a thank you to the shelter’s staff, volunteers and supporters.

“We work tirelessly and creatively and we put everything into it. And we clearly couldn’t do it without the commitment and passion from our staff and our volunteers and fosters,” Stanley-Brown says. “. . . Our supporters, the people that were at the gala — and our board of directors and the foundation.

“We are boots on the ground but we are not alone.”

The support for the shelter was more than apparent during this gala event. Boosters from all over the county came together under one sloped barn roof and raised funds for GJAS over dinner.

“It just all came together and in a small community, it’s important that we all work together,” Stanley-Brown says. “In the last couple of years, the shelter has really just gained so much support, attention and traction in what we’re doing.

“It feels — from our perspective inside the footprint of the shelter — good to know that we have the support of the community and that the community wants to be involved in what we’re trying to do here.”

To find out more about the shelter and its upcoming events, check out the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter’s event page. Golf tournaments and a gala in south Fayette County are planned for the coming months.