Preservation Society’s Dance Through Time Gala

Photo courtesy of Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) will be hosting its annual gala on Saturday, September 23, from 6–10 p.m. featuring different locations and eras that highlight the cultural diversity and richness of Western North Carolina. PSABC’s 41-year mission of protecting, preserving and promoting the historic resources of WNC will be exemplified by the very buildings in which the gala will be hosted. Festivities will begin at the YMI Cultural Center followed by visits to Zealandia Castle and Sondley Estate.

“Unless you attended last year’s Gala, you’ve never been to a party quite like this,” says Jack Thomson, executive director of the PSABC. “It’s such a unique way to see historical homes and institutions that you might not otherwise have the opportunity to tour.”

Located just south of Pack Square, the Young Men’s Institute, known today as the YMI Cultural Center, is one of the country’s oldest African-American institutions. This community center was funded by George Vanderbilt and has served the Asheville community for more than 120 years.

At the YMI Cultural Center, guests will be treated to a speakeasy-era jazz band, hors d’oeuvres and drinks before being whisked away for visits to the Belle Epoch era at Zealandia Castle and the Arts and Crafts movement at the Sondley Estate. At Zealandia Castle, located on Beaucatcher Mountain, guests can dance and sip champagne in the very ballroom frequented by the Vanderbilts themselves.

Finally, the Sondley Estate will serve as the location for guests to end the evening. With dancing reminiscent of PSABC’s mountain heritage, the estate will evoke elegant country living. “With visits to these charming historic sites,” says Thompson, “the event gives attendees first hand knowledge of why PSABC does the work that it does while raising the funds to make that work possible.”

The Dance Through Time Gala is 1890s–1920s costume optional. Tickets start at $100 and can be purchased at

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