Junior League Of Dallas Reveals Big Plans For Anniversary Year With Awards Luncheon Featuring Venus Williams And “Encore” Gala

The very idea of a coat, tie and suit on Tuesday, June 21, was like wearing mittens to thread a needle. But a handful of gentlemen like Dan Novakov, Brent Christopher and David Shuford mustered up their inner strength for the announcement of the Junior League of Dallas’ upcoming fundraising plans for its 95th anniversary.

But don’t be too teary-eyed for the men. After all, the event was taking place inside Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s mansion. And to keep things cool, the house general Roxann Vyazmensky scurried to the entry hall to close the front doors that were wide open. After all, the secret to summer party success is keeping things literally cool.

Roxann Vyazmensky, Lena Baca and Joyce Lacerte

Roxann Vyazmensky, Lena Baca and Joyce Lacerte

The plan for the evening called for the party to start at 5:30 and the “remarks” at 6 p.m. By 5:40, the streets were already lined with vehicles. Sure, some of ‘em belonged to folks at the Highland Park pool, but more than 170 were there to hear the JLD reveal.

Bonner Allen

Bonner Allen

Promptly at 6 on the dot, like a lead cheerleader 2016-2017 JLD President Bonner Allen welcomed the group including Nancy Halbreich, Lynn McBee, Aimee Baillargeon Griffiths with her old Vanderbilt roomie Dr. Regina McFarland (aka JLD-er Linda McFarland‘s daughter-in-law), Sarah Losinger with her son John Losinger and his wife Laura Losinger, Linda GibbonsMarian Bryan, Connie O’Neill, Gerald Turner, Louise Griffeth, Christie Carter, Nancy Gopez, Linda Secrest and Dee Collins Torbert.

Laura and John Losinger and Sarah Losinger

Laura and John Losinger and Sarah Losinger

Dee Collins Torbert

Dee Collins Torbert

Susan Nowlin

Susan Nowlin

Aimee Bailllargeon Griffiths and Regina McFarland

Aimee Baillargeon Griffiths and Regina McFarland

But let’s not dawdle with the niceties. It’s the news of the night that had the Lacertes’ great room greatly filled with two cloaked easels positioned in front of the fireplace.

Amanda Shufeldt and Amy Prestidge

Amanda Shufeldt and Pat Prestidge

First on the agenda were 2016 Milestones Luncheon Co-Chairs Pat Prestidge and Amanda Shufeldt, who revealed the event will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Wednesday, November 16. Then they announced three biggy surprises. First was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a highly prized acknowledgment among the JLD sisterhood, since it’s given only once every five years to a JLD Sustainer. Previous recipients had been Ruth Altshuler, Lindalyn Adams, Linda Custard and Lyda Hill. The 2016 honoree will be Caren Prothro. Next up was the announcement of which of the JLD Sustainers would be recognized for her work. It was no surprise that Linda McFarland will be the honoree.

Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich

Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich

Linda McFarland

Linda McFarland

Then the final luncheon surprise was who the speaker would be. In the past, it had been folks like Jan Langbein, Vernice Armour, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager. Pulling the cloth off one of the easels, Pat and Amanda announced the keynote speaker would be tennis powerhouse Venus Williams. The news was greeted with cheers and applause.

KarenShuford

KarenShuford

Next up was Isabell Novakov, who is chairing the 55th Annual Junior League of Dallas Ball on Saturday, March 4, in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. First out of Isabell’s bag of surprises was that Karen Shuford, who has chaired practically everything (JLD Ball, Cattle Baron’s Ball, Crystal Charity Ball, The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Luncheon and Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball when it was known as the Beaux Art Ball) except the Byron Nelson, will serve as honorary chair.

As for the theme, Isabell removed the drop cloth from the second easel and there was the theme —“Encore.”

Isabell is using the event to “celebrate and pay tribute to our dedicated ball chairs who are now serving as Sustaining Advisors. We plan to showcase past balls and bring back elements of our history once more for the ‘Encore’ presentation.”

Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Isabell Novakov, Lydia Novakov, Linda Secrest and Connie ONeill

Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Isabell Novakov, Lydia Novakov, Linda Secrest and Connie ONeill

Watching proudly from the sidelines was Isabell’s mom, Lydia Novakov. It was a bit like old home week for Lydia as she was joined by members of the executive committee (Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Linda Secrest and Connie O’Neill) who served with her when she was JLD president.

Tickets for the black-tie ball are available, as are tickets to the Milestones luncheon.

For more photos of the reception, check out MySwetCharity Photo Gallery.