Masked Charity……

Masked Charity……

by intern Elana Levitan
Photo credit: Shelley Rees

You didn’t have to be Italian to express yourself in masquerade style at the Venetian Carnivale held at the dimly lit luxurious Italian Embassy, you just had to celebrate Georgetown.


The annual black tie Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) gala brings together over 350 guests, neighbors, sponsors and politicos to celebrate Georgetown and CAG’s mission of historic preservation.

The event brought out generations of Georgetowners for a night of community, friendship and generosity. It was about bringing a community together and celebrating the best that Georgetown has to offer. 


As this is The Year of Italian Culture in the US, Honorary Chairs Ambassador and Mrs. Claudio Bisogniero wanted guests to have a taste of true Italian culture. The Venetian Carnivale masked ball featured a lavish Italian dinner buffet, fabulous entertainment, unique live auction items and a hip After Party.


The Italian Embassy, designed by Piero Sartogo Architects, is distinctively Italian while also complementing the surrounding landscape and architecture of Washington, DC. “Sartogo’s building plan evokes Italy’s architectural tradition, with the patterns of solids and spaces and the lean, austere lines characteristic of a Tuscan villa, while the great, slanting buttress recalls the stalwart defensive bastions of a medieval castle,” according to their cultural section.


Robin Jones, co-chair of the gala, put it best when she described the night as “a fundraiser of course, but also an event for everyone to dance and have a good time while learning about CAG’s mission.”

The gala was not just a charity event, but an evening to honor the accomplishments of Herb and Patricia Miller, long-time Georgetown residents and patrons. Herb founded Western Development Corporation, a real estate development and management organization with a forty-four year history of innovative mixed-use developments. He is a developer that focuses on the goal of preservation. 


DC Councilmember Vincent Orange, Patricia and Herb Miller, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Instead of acquiring new land and destroying what was there before, the goal is to acquire the land and protect what is there, exactly the mentality that Georgetowners strive toward. In the 1980s he redefined Georgetown by building Washington Harbour and the Shops at Georgetown Park. The Millers were Georgetown residents for years until this past April when they sold their Federal-style row house on N Street. The Gala Committee agreed that “We couldn’t let them leave without a proper goodbye!”


Co-chair Colleeen Girouard expressed that everyone there is “all a family, we are a really small town and we all care about each other [and] this event helps to fund security and the parks and historic preservation.”

The evening expressed how a community will stand together through the good times and the bad, and the Citizens Association of Georgetown is just helping to keep the community strong.


For the first time in the history of the gala, the formal event was followed by an After Party with dancing until 1:00 am, hosted and attended by the younger set of Georgetown. The evening’s entertainment included guests serenaded by live opera performers upon arrival, the DC Love Band playing during cocktails and dinner, followed by celebrity DJ Adrian Loving upping the tempo and getting everyone dancing.