While Dallas Zoo Ambassadors Played Second Fiddle, The New “Hip Kids” Highlighted The 2017 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Sean Greene

Dallas Zoo VP Guest Experience Sean Greene admitted that the Zoo was busting with babies. New born lioness Bahati had already started making the rounds in the lions’ den; Katie’s long-necked baby giraffe Tsavo was still in the nursery; Tamandua Cora eating everything in sight; and year-old elephant Ajabu was splashing around the Giants of Savanna.

Yup, Sean was looking like a man prepared to hand out cigars on Wednesday, June 14, at the 2017 Zoo To Do kick off at the Highland Hippo Hut. But as the crowd gathered overlooking the hippopotamus swimming pool, the talk of the night was about Boipelo and Adhama. In hippo world, Adhama is hunky Chris Pratt. He has all the right moves both under water and on the sandy beach. Talk about a showman.

On the other hand, Boipelo is a diminutive, shy gal that coquettishly plays second fiddle to her boy-toy pond pal.

Dallas Zoo “hip kids”

As for the 150 guests, not one had a negative comment. (Whispered Don Daseke: “I understand they’ve taken the female off birth control, so there may be some baby hippos soon.”) Meantime, many guests were surprised at how the water horses seemed like graceful, hefty ballet dancers as they tiptoed past the below-water-line Brierley Encounter station. Diane Brierley was like a proud new mother as she encouraged guests to step down to the station to check the hippos out.

Others love the twitching, tiny ears and the cubby faces barely appearing above the water line checking out the guests.

Hippo waterworks

At one point a Zoo staffer pointed a hose in the direction of the hippos. While other animals would have scrambled for covered at the water being shot in their direction, the hippos simply opened their gargantuan mouths as if they were doing tequila shooters at spring break.

Cora

Gimli

Laya

Owl

But the news of the night was not just the hippos and the Dallas Zoo ambassadors (the owl, Gimli the alligator, Cora the tamandua and 18-year-old Laya the armadillo, that was just too shy to unroll). 

Dan Patterson and Mary McDermott Cook

It was to reveal plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do. Co-Chairs world-traveling Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged for the annual ZtD event to take place on Saturday, November 4, at the Zoo with a live auction that should be more than amazing with animal-loving Diane and Hal Brierley in charge. They also managed to get longtime Zoo supporter Mary McDermott Cook to serve as honorary chair again.

Also joining the Dasekes in their zoo fundraising will be Barb and Steve Durham heading up the host committee, Cindy Gummer in charge of decorations and Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs.

In addition to the auction, grazing around, chatting with the Zoo residents and a silent auction, Emerald City All Stars will perform from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

Don and Carol Glendenning

Alina and Ruben Esquivel

Michael Meadows, Christi Contreras and Margaret and Carl Weinkauf

Laura Leppert

Joan and Alan Walne

In the crowd learning about plans were Dan Patterson, who was within two weeks of holding a wedding for his daughter in his backyard…Laura Leppert with her left hand wrapped due to recent surgery to handle skin cancer… Speaking of skin cancer, Alan Walne was looking great due to surgery to attack the basil skin cancer around his left eye…. Birthday girl Hayley Hamilton Cogill, just back from a jaunt to Equator with husband Gary Cogill and Monica Egert SmithCarol and former ZtD Co-Chair Don Glendenning trying out the hippo on the Hut’s wall… Also spotted: Dallas Zoo Executive Director/CEO Gregg Hudson, Quincy Preston and David Seeley, Amanda Moreno and Jim Lake, Barbara Crow, Alina and Ruben Esquivel, former ZtD Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer, Michael Meadow, Margaret and Carl Weinkauf and Karen Waller.

The Weather Played Nice For La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas’ “Under The Stars” To Be Out In The Open At Gwen And Doug Parker’s Casa

Rebecca Gregory, Gwen Parker and Nancy Monning

When La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas organizers woke up to raindrops on their roofs, lightning in the air and thunder overhead, it didn’t bode well for their “Under The Stars” event on Friday, June 9. Sure, Gwen and Doug Parker’s 12,000-square-foot Park Cities home could handle the expected 300 Duchesses, escorts, parents, and underwriters. But they had so hoped for a true night under the stars.

Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga

Evidently, the evening’s Co-Chairs Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga had pull. By early afternoon, not only had the stormy weather gone elsewhere, but the temperatures became so downright friendly that one gal with bare shoulders thought out loud, “It might get chilly.”

As event photographer James French snapped photos out front, the highlights inside the home and in the backyard were:

  • The Parkers’ turf ground-covering validated Gwen’s decision to have it installed, instead of the need-be-mowed green stuff. Despite the rains earlier in the day, the big backyard with tables and chairs was dry and stiletto-friendly.
  • A string trio—two violins and a cello—were playing softly in the entryway.

    Ben Smith, Elizabeth Cooper, Clare Obenchain and Grayson Borrego

  • Elizabeth Cooper and Clare Obenchain admitted that their so-perfect tans were the real thing and not the spray-on variety.
  • Harrison Buford, Anna Buford, Claire Green and Robert Farrow

    In taking an accounting of high school roots, Robert Farrow was from Cambridge School, Anna Buford was a Hockadaisie and Harrison Buford and Claire Green were Highland Park Scots.

    Sonoma chicken salad croissants

  • The food on the dining-room table reflected the French theme, thanks to Sonoma chicken salad croissants, macaronis au fromage, steak au poivre crostini and spinach and mushroom quiche.
  • Doug Parker, who’s chairman and CEO of American Airlines Group, didn’t make it. He was out of town on business. Boo-hooed one attendee: “I’m sad Doug’s not gonna be here!” Parker’s presence was still felt, though: on the fireplace mantel in one cozy, white-plaster-walled room, there was a black-and-white plaque that read, “Behind Every Good Kid Is A Great Dad.”
  • Gwen Parker, looking around the house, said they were almost empty-nesters. Despite son Luke Parker in from New York University to be a La Fiesta escort and son Jackson Parker in from Nashville to watch his brother, the Parker household was down to daughter, Eliza Parker, still living in the nest while attending Hockaday.
  • Also in keeping with La Fiesta’s French theme, the servers wore red neckerchiefs and berets.

It was an early evening, though, because the big gala at The Fairmont was the next night, and a crowd of 900—believed to be the biggest ever—was expected to show up. Funds from the summer extravaganza will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Weather Forecasters Predict Some Cooler-Than-Usual Days For The Dallas Arboretum’s August Dollar Days

It’s only the third day of August and the temperature is barely going to hit 90 degrees thanks to clouds. Really? Yup! And the next few days are going to be repeats with off-and-on rain. Why the weather forecasting? Because the timing couldn’t be better to take full advantage of the Dallas Arboretum’s August Dollar Days.

Crape Myrtle Allee (File photo)

Talk about an Arboretum Prime Month! Admission to the 66-acre grounds is a buck. And even the entry fee to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is a dollar. But wait! It only gets better. The usual $8-$15 for parking is dropped to $5. Sodas, juice and frozen pops will be a $1. Hotdogs and root beer floats will be $2. And for $4 you can get a sundae.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s Pergola Shade Structure (File photo)

If you’ve been putting off a stroll through the grounds or schmoozing with the squirrels because you were on a killer budget, skip dessert or that latte and you’ll take in one of North Texas’ true treasure.

Who knows? You just find it to your liking that you’ll buy a membership that will allow you to free year-round general garden admission, free parking, express entry during major events and other perks.

August Dollar Days is being made possible thanks to Presenting Sponsor Reliant.

JUST IN: Park And Palate Plans Announced For Klyde Warren Park’s Mega Fundraiser With Loads Of “Pillars And Proteges” On The Menu

The Klyde Warren Park team has really been cooking up some plans for this year’s Park and Palate at Klyde Warren Park on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Yes, yes, that’s Texas-OU weekend, but what a great place to eat, drink and party with locals and out-of-towners. Now settle back for the news.

Park and Palate*

This year’s theme is “Pillars and Protégés,” and for good reason. The “pillars” will be established vets in the culinary centers cooking up dishes with “a partner (aka protégé) who will collaborate with them at the event to create a truly diverse lineup.”  

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, “We are thankful to have the support of so many talented, culinary icons for this year’s event. The Pillars and Protégés theme certainly brings a unique twist, which is what Klyde Warren Park is all about. We supply the fun; all you have to bring is yourself!”

For the Friday night exclusive “Down To The Roots” from 6 to 10 p.m., it’s a Lone Star roundup of culinary greats including Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s Restaurant in Fort Worth,  Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin, Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurant Group in San Antonio, Houston’s Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar and Monica Pope and our local fellas Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun.

Dean Fearing (File photo)

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Kent, who will also be serving as the Saturday Grand Taste chef host, commented, “I am so thrilled to participate in the third year of Park and Palate. Having the opportunity to select a partner chef at the event will be such a great way to have a one-of-a-kind lineup. We will be able to really showcase our passion through our collaborative dishes. It will truly be a rare and exclusive experience unlike any other Dallas event.”

Omar Flores (File photo)

Lisa Garza-Selcer (File photo)

Brian Luscher (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

And speaking of the Grand Taste, it will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 .m. with the following “pillars” already signed on board: Alex Astranti of Top Knot, Jeff Balfour of Southerleigh, Ryan Barnett of Lark on the Park, Nilton “Junior” Borges of The Joule Hotel, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate, John Coleman of Savor Gastropub, Jason Dady of The Jason Dady Restaurant Group, Kevin Fink and Page Pressley, of Emmer & Rye, Omar Flores, of Whistle Britches Chicken, Diego Galicia, of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, Lisa Garza-Selcer of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar, Jared Harms of The Pyramid, Ethan Holmes of Snap Kitchen, Nick Hurry of Proof and Pantry, Brian Luscher of The Grape, Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, Andrea Meyer of Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie, Kent Rathbun, Amanda Rockman of Café No Sé, Richard Ruskell of Cake Wars and Food Network, Joe Scigliano of Savor Gastropub, Jim “Sevy” Severson of Sevy’s, Callie Speer of Holy Roller, Philip Speer of Bonhomie, Aaron Staudenmaier of Lovers Seafood, Shuji Sugawara of Shinsei, Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Rico Torres of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, David Uygur of Lucia, Julie Vorce of Savor Gastropub, Nick Walker of The Front Room and Nicholas Yanes of Juniper with cocktails by Michael Martensen of Shoals.

Jody Grant and Tara Green*

Here’s a breakdown of how to eat your way through the Klyde Warren Park fundraiser:

  • The very, extra-special Down To The Roots on Friday night is limited to those signing on as underwriters and sponsors. Interested? Then just check with Tara and she can make your delicious dreams come true, while also helping support the park and its more than 1,300 free programs and events each year.”
  • Saturday’s Grand Taste is available by simply buying a ticket. Better lock yours down now before the Longhorns and Sooners get wind of this yummy shindig and decide to call Klyde Warren a post-game celebration. And while you’re at it, splurge and go for the VIP ticket that also includes valet parking, specialty cocktails, wines, food tastings, VIP Swag and early access to wine and spirit seminar. BTW, don’t hold off until the day of because there will be no tickets sold at the door.

Leading the two-day event will once again by Co-Chairs Lyn and John Muse and Carolyn and Rob Walters, presenting sponsor Republic National Distributing Company and media sponsor D Magazine.

A couple of suggestions:

  • This is definitely a date night because all ticket holders must be over 21 years of age. So, reserve that baby sitter ASAP.
  • Leave the car at home and Uber, Lyft, DART or walk. It’s gonna be a jam-packed event with a projected crowd of 2,600 wine and food lovers. You just know how you hate to hassle with navigating the streets. So, just sit back and let someone else do the driving.
* Photo provided by Klyde Warren Park

JUST IN: Thanks To Dollar Day! The Dallas Zoo Busted The Million-Human Mark Earlier Than Ever On Thursday

Gregg Hudson (File photo)

Despite the heat, more than 19,000 folks took advantage of Thursday’s Dollar Day! at the Dallas Zoo. In addition to an amazing show of humans, it resulted in the Zoo breaking the million-visitor mark for the third straight year. And this million-breaker was the earliest one yet!

According to Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson, “Once again, more than a million people have turned out to support our mission of engaging people and saving wildlife. Our community knows how hard we’ve worked to make the Dallas Zoo one of the nation’s best zoological parks, so it’s appropriate that we broke the million mark this year on a day when we look to give back to that community.”

The staff attributes the successful numbers to the following:

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

  • The April opening of Simmons Hippo Outpost, the zoo’s new $14 million, 2.1-acre exhibit which is an immersive African waterhole habitat featuring two hippos and okapi. It includes a 24-foot by 8-foot viewing window that brings guests eye-to-nostril with the Nile hippos as they explore their 120,000-gallon waterhole.
  • The April opening of the National Geographic Photo Ark Here through Sunday, October 1, the outdoor exhibition showcases more than 80 stunning images from world-renowned photographer Joel Sartore, featuring some of the most endangered animals on earth.
  • The zoo’s much-celebrated baby boom, including the arrival of Bahati in March, the first lion cub born at the zoo in 43 years; beloved elephant Ajabu, who turned 1 in May; and the May birth of giraffe calf Tsavo, born to world-famous mother Katie.
  • Earning its sixth consecutive Certificate of Excellence award as one of the world’s best businesses by TripAdvisor, the largest travel reviewing and planning web site, and maintaining a four-star rating on Yelp.

Congratulations to the Zoo-sters, both human and critter.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: A Tasteful Place Gala

According to Dallas Arboretum’s A Tasteful Place Gala Co-Chairs Barbara Bigham and Robin Carreker,

Barbara Bigham (File photo)

Robin Carreker (File photo)

We are thrilled to serve as chairs of the opening of A Tasteful Place, the Dallas Arboretum’s newest garden focused solely on all things food. Called “A Gala Garden Party,” we’re organizing one of the most exquisite events to open A Tasteful Place. Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. We’ll enjoy cocktails, garden tours, a delectable dinner, dessert and some fun surprises that you’ll just have to wait to experience that evening! Our fabulous honorary chairs are the lovely Diane and Hal Brierley.

Of course, attire is “garden gorgeous.” If you’re interested in joining us, tickets start at $500, and you can contact Sarah Warnecke, [email protected], or leave a message at 214.515.6524.

A Tasteful Place*

About A Tasteful Place: Majestically placed overlooking White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas, A Tasteful Place is a verdant 3.5-acre garden woven in a beautiful tapestry of ornamentally displayed fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers with a lagoon. Located at the Dallas Arboretum, A Tasteful Place is the first of its kind in the Metroplex and will fill a much-needed void in the community. The garden was developed as a living, learning, growing experience that will help guide us toward understanding how to prepare foods and eat more healthily. Plus, it’s just a fabulous place to have a party!

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Arboretum

JUST IN: Accident Victim Daisy Mae Was Just Found In A Ravine With A Broken Femur And Rescued By Mutts And Mayhem

While some folks were attending church and others were sleeping in, the amazing volunteers with Mutts and Mayhem were out in the summer heat helping a total stranger. They were stomping through the terrain just off of the Bush Tollway.

Back story: Last Tuesday, Erica Cruz hitched a ride to work with a couple of friends. Her 11-month-old white Labrador named Daisy Mae insisted on tagging along. Suddenly, the car they were riding in was hit from behind by an 18-wheeler. In addition to a sprained ankle and whiplash, Erica’s back was fractured in two places. Luckily, the other passengers got off with minimal injuries. But Daisy Mae couldn’t be found. She wasn’t in the wreckage nor anywhere around. Erica was helpless. She was bed bound and asked for help via social media. The response was spectacular with a lot of friends and strangers pitching in.

A family dog, Daisy Mae had been missing for almost a week after her and her owners were in a car crash in Plano…Daisy has been found but likely has a fractured pelvis and femur. Her left leg is swollen twice the size that it should be and she could no longer walk from her injuries. This is her rescue video courtesy Mutts & Mayhem Animal Rescue.HOW TO HELP: http://on.wfaa.com/2uyiq2P

Posted by WFAA-TV on Sunday, July 16, 2017

 

For days, the search in the sweltering heat and off-and-on rain continued. Late this morning Daisy Mae was found in a ravine by the rescue group Mutts and Mayhem.

Needless to say, Erica was in tears when she got the news.

Daisy Mae*

In addition to being hot, Daisy couldn’t walk. Carefully, the team took her to the animal ER where they discovered her back femur was broken in several place and would require surgery in the days ahead. But that kind of surgery can be costly, so Mutts and Mayhem has reported that you can go to their donation page and specify under “donation purpose” that the money goes to Daisy’s care.  

BTW, Mutts and Mayhem is a nonprofit animal welfare group that was founded in 2013 by two active-duty paramedics. It relies solely donations. If you could spare the change, they sure could use it.

But let’s cut to the chase. If you were on the way to something or other with your BFF and were in a true-blue accident, wouldn’t you appreciate a come-from-nowhere source of strangers scouring for help? Yep! That’s what everyone thought.

* Photo and video provided by Mutts and Mayhem

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Zoo

According to Dallas Zoo intern Lauren Lombardo*,

The dog days of summer may be here, but the Dallas Zoo knows just how to get families off the couch with a wild outdoor adventure. We’re debuting new exhibits and more than 2,000 animals that are sure to please the whole family. So pack a cooler and join us from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily!

Simmons Hippo Outpost*

Our new Simmons Hippo Outpost features a 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window that’ll bring guests eye-to-nostril with these majestic “river horses” as they swim around their African waterhole. The exhibit is the first major addition to the Dallas Zoo since Giants of the Savanna opened in 2010, and offers an elevated view of our hippos from the Wilds of Africa Safari monorail—trust us, you’re going to want to bring the camera. Catch a daily hippo keeper chat at 2:30 p.m., and you might just see these hefty herbivores munch on a head of lettuce.

You can also find more than 80 large scale photos throughout the Zoo as part of the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibition. These larger than life images are perfect for snapping selfies or striking a pose with your favorite animal. We’re one of only three zoos showcasing this incredible collection of photos by photographer Joel Sartore through Sept. 4.

If that’s not enough, we’re currently in the midst of an adorable baby boom! Little lion cub Bahati and giraffe calf Tsavo are making daily appearances in their habitats. You can see Bahati play with mom Lina and aunt Jasiri in the Wilds of Africa as well as hand feed giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge.

Admission is free for children age 2 or under and Zoo Members, $12 for children age 3-11 and seniors over age 64, and $15 for adults age 12-64.

* Much to the disppointment of the staff, Friday was Lauren’s last day at the Zoo 
** Photo provided by the Dallas Zoo

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Klyde Warren Park

Tara Green*

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green,

For the past four years, Dallas’ favorite greenspace, Klyde Warren Park, has provided more than 1,300 free programing and education activities for 1 million visitors each year and every summer the fun gets even bigger. Located in the heart of Dallas, directly between downtown and Uptown, Klyde Warren Park is the perfect place for a day of family fun. All activities at Klyde Warren Park are free thanks to our sponsors and private donations made to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.

In addition to the Children’s Park and several splash pads located throughout the park, here are a few activities that you and your family can take part in this summer:

 

  • Dallas Children’s Theater*

    Dallas Children’s Theater Activities (Every 3rdSaturday of the Month from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Ages: 4 and up — Bring your drama princess or prince to the Children’s Park for acting games and fun with the Dallas Children’s Theater. Children and their parents can learn acting techniques from Dallas Children’s Theater teachers and participate in mini-performances alongside other participants each session.

  • Kathryn’s Book Nook Summer Reading Club (First Sundays, July – August from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 – 10-years old — Hosted by local non-profit Kathryn’s Book Nook, Summer Reading Parties in the Children’s Park at Klyde Warren Park will make sure kids don’t fall into the all too familiar summer-reading slump. There will be read-alouds, games, crafts, giveaways, and performances. RSVPs are encouraged to ensure we have adequate supplies. RSVP by going tokathrynsbooknook.com.
  • Miss Kimberly*

    Music and Stories with Miss Kimberly (Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 0 – 4 years old — Bring the kiddos to a storytelling session in the park every Tuesday! Read along with Miss Kimberly as she features cute stories and fun tunes for little ones. Bubbles, parachutes and games round out this fun and engaging storytime. 

  • Imagination Playground (Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: Open to all ages —

    Imagination Playground*

    Play, create and let your kids’ imaginations soar at our Imagination Playground! Bring the kids to the park where they can build a new world every time they play using the larger-than-life Imagination Playground blocks. 

  • Family Art Activities with the Nasher Sculpture Museum (Every 4thSunday of the Month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 and up — Experts from the Nasher Sculpture Center will offer family-friendly activities in the Dallas Morning News Reading and Games Room. Learn painting, sculpting and other unique art techniques during this free, interactive demo. Families are encouraged to make a whole day out of it and visit the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center after playing artist for the afternoon.
* Photos provided by Klyde Warren Park

North Texas Food Bank To Commemorate The Inspiration Of Its Late CEO/President Jan Pruitt

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

With Tricia Cunningham coming on board to head up North Texas Food Bank, don’t think that the late Jan Pruitt’s inspiration has ceased. Despite a lengthy health battle and her death in January, her spirit is way too powerful to be diminished.

To celebrate her legacy of feeding countless thousands of members of the community, she will be commemorated at both the NTFB’s Farmers Market headquarters and the under-construction Perot Family Campus in Plano, where “Jan’s Garden will serve as the cornerstone for the campus,” which is scheduled to open in late 2018.

Rendering of Jan’s Garden*

According to NTFB’s Anna Kurian, “Our team that offices out of the Farmers Market will also have a piece of Jan via the renaming of our street to Jan Pruitt Way.”

Yes, Jan is missed but far from forgotten. And thanks to the NTFB, the generations to come will know of a driving force named “Jan.”

* Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

JUST IN: Late Afternoon Winds, Rain And All That Kind Of Stuff Hit North Texas

For all those who have fled North Texas and think those left behind are sitting by the pool and ho-humming, rethink. Late this afternoon the area got hit slam-bammed with wind, rain and typical Mother Nature temper tantrum weather.

Tree downed

Of course, you’re saying, “Whatever,” as you slather on some more sunscreen and order another umbrella drink. But you might want to check with your neighbors that your estate wasn’t crunched and you now have an unexpected skylight.

Don’t you just love the ever-changing weather of your hood?

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

According to Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Board Chair Mark Wolf,

If the children ask you again, “What are we doing today?,” tell them that you’re going to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden located at 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas, Texas, 75218. It’s open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and some nights are open even later including Wednesdays until 8 p.m. No reservations are needed, and there’s plenty to do, every day of the week. You can pack a picnic, blankets, strollers and wagons, and the children will thank you for showing them one of the top “15 Breathtaking Botanical Gardens in the World,” according to Architectural Digest. 

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

Here are highlights, and more information is listed below.

  • ZimSculpt
  • Arboretum After Hours
  • Family Fun Fridays
  • Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (for those 21 and over)
  • Live Music Every Weekend
  • Summer Camps
  • Father’s Day Weekend
  • African Music Fest
  • Red, White and The Blues on July Fourth Weekend
  • Garden Gigs Concerts in July
  • Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
  • August Dollar Days

Tickets range from $10 and $15 per person, and certain days have discounts (see below). Be sure to check the website, www.dallasarboretum.org and social media for the latest details. See you in the garden!

Cojoined, Victor Matafi*

ZimSculpt: Now thru July 31 — For the first time ever in the southern U.S., the Dallas Arboretum presents the international blockbuster exhibition ZimSculpt, a world-renowned display of modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures.  More than 100,000 guests have visited ZimSculpt, featuring live sculpting demonstrations daily by Zimbabwean sculptors and artists-in-residence, Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko. Known as Shona sculpture, these contemporary pieces are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall. This sculpture is the most collected form of African art that can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rodin Museum and in the homes of the Prince of Wales, the Rockefellers, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover and the late Michael Jackson.

Arboretum After Hours On Wednesdays: Now through October 25 — Bring a picnic, and dine al fresco in one of the prettiest places in Dallas. Every Wednesday, the garden extends its hours to 8 p.m. for families and friends to enjoy a night out. Tickets are buy one, get one free (general admission, only valid at the ticket booth.) 

Family Fun Fridays (Now through – July 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Bring the family to the Pecan Grove for a critter-filled petting zoo, incredibly artistic face painting and lively music, every Friday through the end of July.

Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (Saturdays 11a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays noon-3 p.m., Café on the Green) — New for the summer! Join us for wine samplings. For $10, those 21 years old and older can taste three samples of a specific varietal, with the featured varietal changing frequently. Price does not include garden admission.

Live Music Every Weekend (Saturdays and Sundays, 11a.m.-2 p.m., throughout the garden) — Enjoy different live performances tucked away in various locations through the garden every weekend this summer.

Summer Camps at the Arboretum: Varies weeks — These camps provide children ages 4 years to entering 7th grade with hands-on explorations in nature, science and art to spark imagination and inspire environmental stewardship. Register online.

Red, White & the Blues–July Fourth Weekend: July 1-4  (July 1-4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Pack a picnic, bring the family and celebrate Independence Day. Various blues bands will perform throughout the weekend to provide a cool, relaxing backdrop.

  • July 1: Linny Nance Network
  • July 2: Buddy Whittington Band
  • July 3: Linny Nance Network
  • July 4: Rob Holbert Group

Garden Gigs: July 14-28 — Friday evenings, 7:30-9:30 p.m. — Discover hidden gems-music by local musicians, adventurous choices from food trucks and off-the-beaten path spots in the garden. Admission $10 (non-members), $8 (members) and includes free parking.

  • July 14: Jonathan FoxZach CoffeyBecky Middelton
  • July 21: David TribbleJohn Lefler and CamilleMicah Peacock
  • July 28: Kate Minor, Shayne Green, TBD

Music Performances: Varies

  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 22, 10 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Kupira Marimba (July 22, noon) — Listen to high-energy, family friendly music from Kupira Marimba on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Zimbabwe Choir, Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church (July 22, 2-3:30 p.m.) — Enjoy the inspiring voices of the Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church Zimbabwe Choir located at the DeGolyer Pergola.
  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 23, 11 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Activities: All Summer — This eight-acre children’s garden is where science and learning become one. Each learning area teaches science in a fun and interactive way. Try out your experimenting skills in the lab, and learn the parts of a flower in Plants Are Alive, where everything is larger than life. See below for select activities during special days/weekends in the garden.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s plaza (File photo)

  • Mask Making with the DMA (June 24-25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Create a mask with the Dallas Museum of Art’s Teen Advisory Council.
  • Craft Corner: The Stars and Stripes (July 1-4, 9 a.m.-11 a.m., Entry Plaza) — Stop by the Craft Corner table and create a fun, patriotic craft using the colors of the American flag.
  • Click here for a full list of summer programs for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
  • A Study of Zimbabwe (Horti)Culture (July 15-16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Come and go workshop.

August Dollar Days: August 1-31 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) — Round up the whole family and come to the Arboretum for $1 main garden admission per person for the month of August.

Discounts: BOGO Wednesdays, which are buy one get one free general admission and include Nature Nights, are available at ticket booth, with a limit of one purchase per person. Senior Thursdays offer discounted admission of $11 for seniors 65 and older and a 20 percent discount in the Hoffman Family Gift Store.

* Photo provided by Dallas Arboretum

MySweetCharity To Launch Mini-Series — “Summer Pitch”

MySweetCharity

North Texas is now at “that point in the summer.” The kids have seen all the movies including the losers. The good old swimming hole is starting to look like it could boil lobster. Summer camp is either in the rear view mirror or still a couple of weeks away.

What’s left for the summer of 2017? Lots!

Thanks to North Texas nonprofits, there are still loads of gotta-dos available. Some are obvious and well known; others are off the traditional radar. But they’re all family oriented and the results of North Texan generosity.

In the days ahead, MySweetCharity is going to run a brief series — MSC Summer Pitch — for these organizations to describe their things-to-do for your consideration.

Why not give ‘em a try and don’t forget to take photos.  

Black-Tie Types Celebrate Craig Hall’s Receiving Artscape’s “Great Contributor To Art” Award At Dallas Arboretum

While the casual chic set partied at Lexus TACA Party On The Green over at Sammons Park, the black-tie folks were toasting and bidding at the inaugural “Great Contributor to Art Award” dinner and auction at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12. It was the final piece of the Artscape Reimagined pie that had been cooked up by fundraiser Kaki Hopkins. Being toasted was the “great contributor of art,” Craig Hall. Thank heaven, Mother Nature cooperated, gifting guests with a perfect evening. Here’s a report from the field:

On the heels of a successful Artscape Reimagined at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Artscape Chairwoman Kaki Hopkins, along with her stellar committee, hosted the “Great Contributor to Art Award” and Invitational Fine Art Auction on Friday, May 12. The black tie event began with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres, giving attendees like Patricia Meadows, Donna Guerra, Cynthia Salzman Mondell, Tammy and Martin Cohen, Michelle O’Michael, Carolyn Brown, Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls, Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Barbara and Bob Sypult, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, Donna and Herb Weitzman, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Margo Keyes, Marnie Wildenthal and Lucy and Henry Billingsley time to peruse the live and silent auction items, which were generously donated by dozens of acclaimed artists and local Dallas notables, such as Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Jim Keyes.  The springtime weather served as the perfect backdrop for the first time event.

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal and Tammy and Martin Cohen*

Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum chairman of the board, welcomed guests. After dinner, he called up Artscape Award Chair Gloria Snead to join him. Wolf said, “It is my pleasure to introduce the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’ This aptly named prize was designed and contributed by Gary Lee Price, whose Great Contributors exhibition at the Arboretum in 2016 was the inspiration for the award’s name. Receiving this inaugural award tonight is someone we know and admire deeply, Craig Hall. Craig, who is an entrepreneur, businessman, New York Times bestselling author and philanthropist, is also a lifelong art collector. He believes that art nourishes the human spirit and can make a profound difference in people’s lives. His company, Hall Group, displays an extensive contemporary art collection at their properties. Craig truly embodies this award, so we are pleased to welcome and honor Craig Hall tonight as the inaugural awardee of the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’”

David and Beth Dike and Gloria Snead*

“It is an honor to receive the Artscape Great Contributor to Public Art award, and being able to share our art collection with the public has been a great joy of mine,” said Craig. “However, tonight’s award is really a tribute to the talented artists who make all of this possible. It is because of their hard work and creativity that we are able to contribute art for our communities to enjoy.”

Mark Wolf, Kaki Hopkins and Craig Hall*

Hopkins added, “It was a great pleasure to have Craig Hall as our inaugural awardee. He has done so much to make art available for the public to enjoy by investing in many artists’ works and displaying them so they can be seen by all. He is a terrific citizen of our city, and we are fortunate that he calls the Dallas Arts District his home.”

The live auction generated plenty of spirited bidding, especially Pamela Nelson’s “Mother Plant,” which graced the invitation cover, program cover and notecards given to patrons. Hopkins added, “I was overwhelmed by the artists’ and galleries’ generosity and pleased that our audience showed them the appreciation we all felt by participating in a spirited and fun auction.”

The Artscape Selection Committee and Heritage Auctions chose the following for the live auction, with the criteria to create a group diverse in style. Each artist graciously donated his/her piece to benefit the Dallas Arboretum, with many nature-inspired:

Arienne Lepretre, Mary Vernon, Donna Guerra and Cynthia Salzman Mondell*

Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls and George Tobolowsky*

  • Carly Allen-Martin – “Exhale Doubt 2/50”
  • Carolyn Brown – “White Rose” and “Orange Ruffled Rose”
  • Marianne Gargour – “Visions Revisited”
  • Beth Hickman – “Moonlight Gardening”
  • Arienne Lepretre – “Arboretum Day”
  • Christopher H. Martin – “Cassini Disc II”
  • Pamela Nelson – “Mother Plant”
  • Brad Oldham – “Traveling Man”
  • Jessie Palmer (Am. 1882-1956) – “Still Life with Roses”
  • Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir – “Source II”
  • George Tobolowsky – “Looking for Light”
  • Mary Tomás – “Bloom”
  • Mary Vernon – “Raccoon”

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Under Perfect Skies Artscape Reimagined Patrons Toured The Remarkable Art Collection At Hall Arts

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for an outdoor affair. While the Dallas Women’s Foundation was over at the Omni on Tuesday, May 9, the art loving/environmental fans were sipping wine and taking tours of Kathryn and Craig Hall’s art at Hall Arts.

Patricia Meadows, Jane and Chick Pierce and Kaki Hopkins

Charles and Cindy Feld

Sarah Hoffman and Kymberley Scalia

The occasion was the Dallas Arboretum’s Artscape Reimagined patron party. While Artscape Honoree Craig Hall was juggling appearances with another Hall-sponsored event upstairs, Artscape Chair Kaki Hopkins was charmingly advising people like Cindy and Charles Feld, Jane and Chick Pierce, Sarah Hoffman, Kymberley Scalia, George Tobolowsky and Shelton Hopkins to follow petite art curator Patricia Meadows on a tour of the property art collection.

Hall Arts

Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman

Donna Arp Weitzman revealed that a script was being prepared based on her book “Cinderella Has Cellulite: And Other Musings From A Last Wife.” Her two caveats:

  1. It can’t be based on a dumb woman.
  2. And it can’t be a Dallas woman.

As one guest eyed the naked men assembled on the exterior of the elevator, he pointed to the nameplate and admitted, “I thought it was a piece of art, too.”

Steinynn Thorarinsdottir’s “Paths”

The event was all in preparation for the formal presentation of the Artscape Award and auction dinner at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12.

David Weinreb’s Breathtaking Estate Was Just Made For Cattle Baron’s Trailblazers To Party The Night Away

Sunie Solomon, David Weinreb and Anne Stodghill*

Up north on Thursday, May 4, while others were celebrating Cinco de Mayo eve, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill  and their committee members were honoring their early bird underwriters with a Traiblazers party at David Weinreb‘s estate. You know who he is, of course. Whisper in your ear — he’s the fella who heads up The Howard Hughes Corporation.

David Weinreb estate*

Regardless, David opened his home … no, make that palace and grounds with a swimming pool longer than Beverly Drive and a cabana that would make Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool seem like an ornate kiddie pool. Checking out the digs, one guest proclaimed, “This place is big enough to hold Cattle Baron’s Ball here!”

Annika Cail, Samantha Wortley and Megan Flanagan*

Isabell Novakov and Jamie Jo Boulogne*

Underwritten by PlainsCapital and PrimeLending, the partying was so typical of Cattle Baron’s with flirty fashions  being worn by Lauren Chapman, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, Merrick Huckin, Jamie Jo Boulogne and Evening Co-Chairs Annika Cail, Elizabeth Fischer, Megan Flanagan, Samantha Wortley.

As for the munchables, the food being ladled out was barbecue thanks to Spice of Life.

Brian and Cammie Heflin and Danielle and Brent Raindl*

Ana Laspetkovski, David Weinreb, Olya Sinitsyna and Andy Beal*

Katy Bock and Jonika Nix*

Gathered poolside as the sun was setting were PlainsCapital’s Isabel Novakov, Danielle and Brent Raindl, Camy and Brian Heflin, as well as CBB Founding Co-Chair Jacque WynneJoanna Clarke, Nancy Gopez, Mary and Robert Black, Steve Stodghill, Steve Solomon, Lawrence Bock, Olivia and Jeff  Kearney, Ana Laspetkovski and Andy Beal with Olya Sinitsyna, who were on hand despite their baby being due at any moment. (UPDATE: Andy’s and Olya’s little Austin Beal arrived a week later. All three are doing just fine.)

The big news of the night was the announcement that blondes Katy Bock and Jonika Nix will be the 2018 Cattle Baron’s co-chairs.

* Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

 

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme – “Evening In The Alps” – Announced At Jan And Trevor Rees-Jones’ Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Estate

The Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party generally attracts 60-75 guests. But on Thursday, May 4, the headcount was just shy of 200.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Well, yeah! After years of designing and construction, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones had made their 15,000-square-foot home the site of the 2017 CCB theme announcement, and even the most stay-at-home types weren’t going to miss this one. And it was one that was not to be missed.

Channeling Frank Lloyd Wright into the 21st century, this baby overlooking the Dallas Country Club was brilliant, to say the very least.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones home

The Rees-Jones’ connecting home offices showcased the couple’s different styles. His wood shelves and drawers with hardbound books had a perfect view of the golf course. Her gloriously sleek and gleaming office, with shelves filled with framed photos of family and friends, was surrounded by the creek and the towering trees. Connecting the two offices was an open doorway and a see-through fireplace.

As guests entered the home, they were greeted by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and a couple of snow bunnies lending a feel for what would be announced. Then it was decision time: go outdoors on the terrace, or wander through the house with its mammoth windows and wonderful art collections. (Jan’s is modern, while Trevor’s is western, by the likes of such legends as C.M. Russell and Frederic Remington.)

Janie Condon, Margaret Hancock and Angie Kadesky

Cynthia Beaird and Tiffany Divis

Before the announcement took place, the guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres by Cassandra and revealing their stories of the day. Janie Condon was preparing to Southwest it to Kentucky to greet her first granddaughter… Cynthia Beaird had had a rough day. Forget her being stuck on the tollway for nearly an hour; she had dropped her purse and broken an ornament on it. Then, arriving at the CCB reception, she was more than an hour late and still was on her way to husband Brice Beaird’s performance… Lisa Singleton was late arriving. She had been way north on the tollway for the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Trailblazer party at another mega-estate belonging to Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David Weinreb.

Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement guests

Bob White and Pam Perella

Quietly, the bunnies disappeared from view and guests were herded onto the terrace. Pam, standing next to a covered easel, thanked Jan and Trevor and the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas, who was represented by Bob White. Bob, an old hand at these occasions, made his comments brief, thanking the CCB for what they do so well—raise money “in buckets.” While Pam recognized key people in the crowd like event producer Tom Addis, the bunnies were seen just below the terrace inching their way up the steps along with Bernie the St. Bernard, which had arrived earlier in the day from New Jersey. Just in time, they joined Pam on the other side of the easel as it was uncovered and Pam announced the 2017 theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

However, it should be noted that word evidently had slipped out to some of the CCBers, since a few wore snow-white outfits and others’ ensembles were highlighted by sparkling designs.

It will be interesting to see how the 1,000+ guests interpret the theme on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole to benefit area children’s nonprofits.    

For more photos of the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Reception

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Leave it to the Crystal Charity Ball ladies to land one of the most talked about estates-in-the-making in the Park Cities for the theme announcement of the 2017 children’s nonprofit fundraiser. The home-sweet-home a la Frank Lloyd Wright belonging to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones drew nearly three times the usual number for such an occasion on Thursday, May 4.

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

With the night air being spectacular and the terrace overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course and Turtle Creek, 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella with a couple of snow bunnies and Bernie the stuffed St. Bernard at her side revealed the theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

While the post is being finalized, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

With A Vintage Cadillac Out Front, Cosmopolitans On Trays And The Clutch Poolside, Genesis Luncheon Sponsors Got In The Swing Of Things

Eddie Ortega and Greg Nieberding with Dixie Belle

It was a night of whiskey sours and cosmopolitans. There was even a vintage turquoise blue Cadillac displaying in the circular driveway. The night was Wednesday, May 3 (aka the Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon sponsor party).

Nikki and Crayton Webb

The location was Greg Nieberding’s and Eddie Ortega’s and their Schnauzer daughter Dixie Belle’s home. Actually, the 60-year-old mid-century residence’s rich history was the source of the Mad Men’s evening theme. During the years when singer Margaret and fashion designer Ed Cupaioli owned the home that they built, it was a gathering place for the likes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and countless others. Over the years, the Cupaiolis had lovingly taken care of the home. Upon Margaret’s death at the age of 96, the family decided to sell it. Luckily, Greg and Eddie bought it. But if asked, Greg and Eddie insist, “We’re really just caretakers.” Yes, they’ve updated things like the windows and the roof, but they have maintained the feel and design by architect Jack Wood.

To complement the occasion, Genesis Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb surprised all, except husband/Luncheon Co-Chair Crayton Webb, with her finding and wearing a suit created by Ed.

The Clutch

Despite breezes provided by Mother Nature causing the lineup of towering trees to sway like back-up singers, the presentation took place with The Clutch quartet crooning in front of the swimming pool.

Jan Langbein and Gail Davis

Abi Perpall and Bianca Jackson

Rachel Michell

Bob White

Nancy Best

That smart move got the guests including Raffle Chair Rachel Michell and husband John Michell, Luncheon Underwriting Co-Chairs Abi and Fred Perpall, Bob White, Gail Davis, Genesis Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Best and Jessica and Drew Spaniol out on the patio for presentations by Genesis CEO Jan Langbein, Nikki and Crayton, Greg and Genesis Senior Director of Fund and Community Development Bianca Jackson about the upcoming luncheon featuring Arianna Huffington at the Hilton Anatole on Monday, May 15.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser Offers Some Helpful Hints For This Weekend’s Fundraising Festivities

Anne Besser (File photo)

Just as Heloise provides household hints, so La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser has a suggestion or two for this weekend’s La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas comings and goings.

Since the Friday night event is taking place in a very cool residential area and Saturday’s gala is at The Fairmont, Anne is recommending the following:

  • Uber/Lyft
  • Have a friend drop you and your buds off
  • Use the buddy system and carpool
  • Despite a slight chance of Friday night having a touch of drizzle, don’t worry. The home is big enough to handle the guests inside.
  • Saturday night, park at the Baptist Church multi-level parking lot
  • Saturday night, get yourself a room at The Fairmont and slumber-party it. Think room service for Sunday morning breakfast. No, make that late morning brunch.

This annual summer fundraiser is showy, fun and family-oriented.

Texas Discovery Garden’s 2017 Flora Award Will Be Presented To Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith And Marilyn Waisanen At Annual Black-Tie Dinner

Since 1982 Texas Discovery GardensFlora Award has showcased individuals, “who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, natural resource education, protection of the environment and quality of life.”

Co-Chairs Kathryn Febbroriello, Angela Shank and Amelia Valz have just revealed that this year’s Award will be presented to a trio  — Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith and Marilyn Waisanen.

Marilyn Waisanen, Bettye Slaven and Janet Smith*

According to TDG Executive Director Dick Davis, “It is our honor to celebrate Bettye, Janet, and Marilyn, and to thank them for their time spent as Board members and volunteers at Texas Discovery Gardens. Between them, they have spearheaded the renovation of our Native Butterfly Habitat, inception of our Seasonal Garden Adoption program, creation of our Demonstration Gardens, beautification of our Grand Hall, and tradition of our Commemorative Bench over the past decade.”

Other contributions to the community have included their work with Swiss Avenue Historic District Association, Children’s Medical Center Auxiliary, Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, The Stewpot, Interfaith Housing Coalition, The Salvation Army, Junior League of Dallas and Dallas Women’s Foundation.

Serving as honorary co-chairs for the Thursday, October 26, presentation at TDG are past Flora Awardees Myrna and Bob Schlegel.

Proceeds from the black-tie dinner support the “educational mission to help children and adults discover and learn to sustain their natural world.” Tickets and sponsorships are available here.

* Photo provided by Texas Discovery Gardens

Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Soared To Sky With Over-The-Top Toppers And Rachel Zoe Fashions

After a day of chilly-will temperatures and rainy storms, the 29th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea had a bright sun-shiny morning for its “Under the Tuscan Sun” on Thursday, April 27, at the Dallas Arboretum benefiting the Women’s Council of the Arboretum.

Kori Green, Caroline Kraddick and Tracy Rathbun

Tara Green and Micki Rawlings

Niven Morgan and Courtney Kerr

Unlike years before, the event started a half hour earlier at 10:30 with guests finding the Ginsburg Plaza roped off. Evidently organizers had hoped guests would flow away from Rosine Hall and the tented tables. Some heeded the suggestion, but the majority stayed clustered near the entry to watch the hat contestants wannabes hold their numbered cards up as they strolled the red carpet for the judges (Kori Green, Tara Green, Micki Rawlings, Niven Morgan, Lynae Fearing, Tracy Rathbun and Caroline Kraddick) who were seated on the elevated terrace in the shade. Judge Courtney Kerr didn’t sit because she didn’t want to wrinkle her outfit. Someone asked why she was wearing cherries in her hair. The person was corrected, “They’re tomatoes.” Oh.

Judge/designer Rachel Zoe was nowhere to be seen until the last moment. A coterie of lithe lassies popped out of a car with Starbucks in hand for Rachel, who had been sequestered away.

Soni Pancretz

Karen Lukin

Kunthear Mam-Douglas

Jordi Bostock

As for the guests’ interpretations of the day’s theme, it was obvious that Michael’s had been hit hard for sunflowers thanks to folks like Soni Pancretz. Needless to say, the results varied from subtle and beautiful to towering structures with wine bottle, plates, corks and even cars. Mary Tomas wore a Ray Conniff vinyl record with dolls and feathers … Proving that pink is always a standout were last year’s Mad Hatter’s Chair Jocelyn White, Donna Darling, Pebble McGehee and her mom Faye BriggsKaren Lukin’s looked like someone had used her brown hair as a platter for their pasta, complete with meatballs and fork …Corks were the lightweight accessory of the day. Amanda Johnson‘s cork-brimmed sunhat stayed put, but poor Steve Kemble’s cork vest was shedding corks as he strolled the grounds looking like a 21st century Bacchus…Kunthear Mam-Douglas’ hat appeared to be an entire Tuscan village… On the other hand, Jordi Bostock opted for a simpler look with checkered-tablecloth table for two… Lorenda Wyant towered among the group thanks to her Leaning Tower of Pisa … On the shorter structure side, Rene Farren‘s topper was delicious with an upside-down cone of faux spumoni … Still there were others who tossed the theme idea and went with their own vision, like Barbara Daseke with bird in nest and Virginia Chandler Dykes in white fur.

Lorenda Wyant

Cathy Vieth all in purple arrived with her equally purple hat of feathers, butterflies and flowers by her side. As her car pulled up, her chapeau designer Shane Walker and his partner Billy Fulmer were there to help her plant it on her head. With the wind picking up, Cathy seemed to sway a bit thanks to the “head wind.” Shane told her not to worry — the Plaza was much calmer… at least wind-wise.

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

Amber Griffin

No sooner had Shane got Cathy on her way to the Plaza than Amber Griffin arrived in an Italian flag dress. Quickly, she took a seat on a bench as Shane and Billy erected the hat that had plates, silverware, wine bottles, grapes, corks, peppers, candles and a loaf of Italian bread. It looked good enough to eat. The structure appeared to weight more than Amber. As soon as she entered the Plaza, the oohs and applause could be heard outside at the driveway.

Evidently Amber’s Italian flag dress wasn’t a one-of-a-kind idea. Lynne Lowder wore a sleeveless version that she got on Ebay with a hat featuring her cellphone playing a video. 

At 11:30 word was passed to head into Rosine Hall for the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of Rachel Zoe’s clothes. Herding the hats and their underlings into the hall and their seats proved to be as challenging as Central Expressway at 5:30 p.m.

And then there was that issue of viewing the runway. Seems that some of the oversized hats may have been eye-catchers in the Plaza, but in the rows of chairs, they were eye-blocking. One gal was seen getting slapped around by the decorations of another guest’s hat, who kept turning her head to see others.

Rachel Zoe

Others had the problem of trying to see around the army of photographers, who were out to capture moments.

Following presentations to Honorary Chair Amanda Hill and her mom Amy Warren, the fashion show got under way with Rachel checking each of the creations, while husband Rodger Berman videoed the show on his phone.

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Next up was the live auction. Instead of relying on local media types handling the auctioneering duties, they had award-winning Wendy Lambert, who kicked things off with Amy Warren raising her paddles and eyebrows with a winning bid of $10,000 for a Tootsies shopping spree. Not to be outdone, daughter Amanda snapped up a cooking lesson for $8,500. UPDATE: The live auction results added up to $33,400, but organizers later reported, “The Live Auction amount raised was $27,000.”

The live auction was followed by the usual shout-out that tends to be more awkward than profitable. Alas, this point became evident when Wendy’s announced the goal was for $35,000. The take ended up being $8,000 $26,000. But who knows? Wendy told the crowd that she would be available afterwards to accept donation from guests who might have been too shy to participate.

Finally, the time came for the judging results, with the following named winners:

Joani White

Cynthia Smoot

Tracy Rathbun, Carmen Surgent and Lynae Fearing

Terry Irby

  • Molto Italiano (Judge Caroline Kraddick) — Joani White
  • Most Elegant (Judge Kori Green) — Cynthia Smoot
  • A Taste of Italy (Judges Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun) — Carmen Surgent
  • Bellissima Botanical (Judge Tara Green) — Terry Irby
  • People’s Choice (Judge Micki Rawlings) — Katherine Phillips
  • Fellini’s Follies (Judge Niven Morgan) — Chad Collom and Steve Kemble
  • Most Outlandish (Judge Courtney Kerr) — Lynne Lowder 
  • Rachel’s Pick (Judge Rachel Zoe) — Amanda Warren

Katherine Phillips and Micki Rawlings

Steve Kemble, Chad Collom and Niven Morgan

Lynne Lowder and Courtney Kerr

Amy Warren and Rachel Zoe

Rachel in making her presentation admitted,”I’ve had a pretty long career. In no part of my life have I ever experienced anything like this….I’m going back to L.A. and talking about this. I love Texas.”

As the ladies and guests headed to their tables to take in the beautiful day, it was learned that Venise Stewart would be chairing the 2018 Mad Hatter’s. Can’t wait to hear how Venise plans to stage the 30th anniversary of this fundraiser for A Woman’s Garden.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

It’s that event of the year in which creative juices are let loose resulting in jaw-dropping expressions by passersby. Benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the Mad Hatter’s Tea has become a feast for gawkers and showboaters.

Amber Griffin’s hat

On Thursday, April 27, “Under The Tuscan Sun” had some of the guests’ chapeaus reaching for Old Sol at the Arboretum, while others looked like an Italian platter had taken residence on their heads. Mamma mia!

While the post is being prepared, check out the hats and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Family Place Opened Texas’ First Shelter For Male Victims Of Domestic Abuse

There’s a misconception that domestic abuse only victimizes women and children in a household. Not true. The thinking is that real men just don’t get abused. That’s not true. It’s often not reported because of the humiliation that a male victim has “not stood up for himself.”

The Family Place*

For more than 15 years, The Family Place has been working with such men on a limited basis, due to financial resources. They’ve had to resort to using hotels and apartments, and that has been costly and not the most satisfactory solution. Just last year they “provided shelter for 32 men and nonresidential services for 50 men.”

That’s why The Family Place team rolled up their sleeves and committed to creating a true facility for men and their children to seek protective shelter for healing and undertaking a better life. Their goal was to provide 21 beds and private rooms for men with children.

Construction got underway in 2016 and the house was opened this month. However, there was no grand opening due to the fact that its location must remain undisclosed.

These clients will have access to counseling, emergency relief services, case management, childcare, healthcare, legal aid, transitional housing and rental assistance.

Funding for the shelter was achieved through grants.

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place