Gala season is a special time, when bejeweled philanthropists and new players in the social elite scene commingle at events I could only ever dream of affording to attend. It’s a cliche to draw comparisons between New York and San Francisco, but truthfully, NYC is more regularly cosmopolitan throughout the calendar year, so when gala season rolls around, West Coasters can finally don ballgowns, silk gloves, and I don’t know, brandy snifters.
Fortunately for those of us who missed the chance to dress up for the Opera and Symphony galas in September, a similar annual event at the Conservatory of Flowers is still coming up — and it has a much more Halloween-appropriate theme than any of its peers.
Taking inspiration from the dracula orchid of Andean cloud forests, the elegant landmark is hosting the Dracula Ball on Thursday, Oct. 19 — and tickets are still available. They range between $350-$500, pretty standard for gala pricing, and they’ll highlight “the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile beauty of rainforests all over the world.” Drinks, food, and ample entertainment are included, and guests are encouraged to wear their finest with a Halloween edge, which is not something most events of this stripe encourage.
It’s worth noting that after the Ball comes The Gaslamp Fantasy after party, which is much more affordable at under $75 a pop, and still includes an open bar. Also food and entertainment. It’s hosted and produced by Mustafa Khan of Daybreaker/Midnight Brunch/Silicon Valley Fashion Week fame, so you know it’s going to be good.
This is more than just a night to rub elbows with the ruling class of San Francisco, it’s a chance to participate in an institution that has made this city exceptional for more than a century. Funds from this event will be dedicated to renovating their Cloud Forest Gallery, which is where the orchids live. It’s also a rare opportunity to party inside the greenhouse, since it’s more of a quiet, thoughtful place during the daytime.
The Dracula Ball and The Gaslamp Fantasy, Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:30-9:30 p.m., at the Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive, Golden Gate Park. $350-$500, conservatoryofflowers.org