by M. Latimer
The “Western Gala,” hosted by the Jacksonville (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, is no longer just a party. The event, held annually since 2003, has become a Northeast Florida tradition. Last weekend over 400 people flocked to the Western Gala for a night of line dancing, good food and games all under a western theme.
Gloria Mendez, a guest that attends every year, states, “I look forward to coming to the event. I wear my cowboy boots and cowboy hat, and know that I will have a great time.”
Held as the chapter’s signature fundraiser, the Western Gala enables the chapter to give back to the community. Event chair Marietta LeBlanc notes that the Gala generates tens of thousands of dollars annually for those in need.
“The Western Gala is a labor of love for our chapter. We are able to fund projects for middle school students, provide college scholarships and address health issues in the African American community,” states LeBlanc.
Thanks to the Western Gala, the chapter supports the GEMS (a year-round mentoring program for middle school girls at Eugene Butler Leadership Academy), provides assistance to students at Edward Waters College and other UNCF schools, and donates to the Sickle Cell Foundation.
In addition to the Western Gala, the Jacksonville Chapter of The Links, Incorporated will host its 50th anniversary celebration in 2016.
Photo highlights from the event are in the PHOTO GALLERY