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.

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.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Scored With Some Pretty Heady Escorts For The Arboretum’s Fundraiser Patron Party At Amy And Kelsey Warren’s Estate

As Pat Green surveyed Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Co-Chair Amy and Kelsey Warren’s backyard, he laughed when someone asked him if it was bigger than his spread in Fort Worth on Tuesday, April 25. What brought the country-western singer to Dallas was the Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. No, he wasn’t going to be entertaining at the tea the following Thursday. But his adorable blonde wife Kori Green was going to be one of the category judges and Pat was playing the role of escort for the evening.

Amy Warren

Pat and Kori Green

Still another escort was Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was also playing a secondary role to wife Micki Rawlings, who also was to be a judge.

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Tracy Rathbun and “her husband”

But wait! There was still another judge in the crowd overlooking the palatial grounds. It was restaurateur Tracy Rathbun with “her husband.” Tracy told “her husband” she had been amazed earlier in the day at how itty-bitty Simone Biles was at the “A Chance to Soar” benefiting Jonathan’s Place.

Amanda Hill and Melissa Lewis

Jocelyn White and Joani White

Others in the crowd were the Honorary Co-Chairs Amanda Hill, Women Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Melissa Lewis, evening’s chair Emilynn Wilson and husband Claude Wilson, Anne Stodghill, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Joani White and Jocelyn White, who would be emcee at Saturday’s Equest Gala as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea.

MySweetCharity Elves Turn To Reliable Sources For Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Weather Predictions

Sharla Bush

The MySweetCharity weather elves have been monitoring the wet conditions, since they were knocked out of their bunk beds this morning. The question was: “What about Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea‘s ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ at the Dallas Arboretum?”

After reviewing the various scientific resources, they turned to their reliable Ouija boards. Their decision: The rains should be history with the sun shining by the time the cars filled with hatted folks arrive.

That’s the good news for the sold-out Dallas Arboretum fundraiser.

The not-most-marvelous-news is that the temperatures will be in the upper 60s and a tad bit chilly for sundresses… unless they’re under cashmere coats.

It’s a little ironic, actually. Thursday’s forecast for Tuscany, Italy, predicts a 70% change of rain with temperatures in the low 60s. Mamma mia!

Grovel Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun”

Mad Hatters Tea (File photo)

It seems that Mad Hatters Tea Chair Linda Spina and Vice-Chair Sharla Bush weren’t able to hunt for Easter eggs over the weekend. They were too busy checking the headcount for the Thursday, April 27th fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum.

The results? They discovered that the “Tea is officially sold out.”

Does that mean it’s really, truly a done deal? True, the “buy tickets” links aren’t going to do much good, but there’s still hope. So, before putting away that Easter bonnet, send Sue Ringle an email and see if she can squeeze you in.

Threatening Skies Cleared Just In Time For 1,300 To Eat, Drink And Celebrate The Inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

When Chef Sharon Van Meter took a flight from New Orleans to Dallas on the morning of Thursday, March 16, she was hoping Big D would be warmer than the Big Easy had been. But she arrived to 60-degree weather, overcast skies and the threat of drizzle.

Sharon Van Meter

Normally, that would not be a problem for a chef, but Sharon was chairing the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival that evening outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum with an expected 1,300 guests.

As the day continued, organizers called area meteorologists hoping to hear that clear skies were on the evening docket. In the meantime, Sharon received at least 200 calls seeking tickets for the sold-out fundraiser.

Even at 5 p.m., things weren’t looking so rosy, with the clouds staying put. Then, magically, right on cue at 6 p.m. as the VIP patrons approached the Main Parking Gate, the skies cleared, with the sun slowly slipping into the west over White Rock Lake and temperatures in the low 70s.

The festival was a way to start building the anticipation of the under-construction, two-acre “A Tasteful Place” slated to open this fall. The Place will be a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a 3,600-square-foot Garden Pavilion for dining and teaching. But for now, the guests were on the scene to dine and wine throughout the Arboretum. 

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The VIP types were directed to the DeGolyer House for a private reception, where they had expected to see the Chef With No Name. But, no. No Name was a no show. Still, there were other chefs like Chad Houser and Craft Spirits specialist/mixologist Matt Orth making magic.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

Christine Stein and Haley Muse

Alexis Abril and Danielle Abril

Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson and Melora Leiser

The VIPs enjoyed the terrace better than even the DeGolyer family had with incredible dining, view of the grounds and White Rock and seeing such folks as Gail and Cliff Fischer, Connie and Denny Carreker,  Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson, Melora Leiser, Christine Stein, Haley Muse and Danielle Abril with her brother Alexis Abril.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Terry and Anne Conner

Kay Weeks

In the meantime, the early-arrival general admission guests lined up for the official opening at 6:30. What they discovered were four areas throughout the grounds, each one representing a different region (Pan Asian, Southern American, American Bistro and Mediterranean) featuring loads of area chefs (Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Chef Alex Astranti of Uchi, Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows, Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Chef April Barney of Miller and Associates, Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas, Chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus, Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Chef Daniele Puleo of CiboDivino, Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, Chef David Gauthier of Smoky Rose, Chef Eric Dreye of Fearings, Chef Gianni Santin of Haute Sweet Patisserie, Chef Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Chef Jay Valley of Saint Rocco’s, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Jean-Marie of CADOT, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs of The Slow Bone, Chef John Doumas of Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Chef John Tesar of Knife, Chef Josh Harmon of Kitchen LTO, Chef Junior Borges and Chef Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Chef Justin Box of Cedars Social, Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate, Chef Larry Williams of Sallio, Chef Luis Olvera of Trompo Taco, Chef Mark Wootton of Garden Café, Chef Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies, Chef Matt McCallister of FT33, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Co., Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Mike Shetsky of SĒR Steak and Spirits, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia/Whistle Britches, Chef Rebecca Jolly of Grayson Social, Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, Chef Samantha Rush of Rush Patisserie, Chef Samir Dhurandhar of Nick and Sam’s, Chef Scott Nakachi of Paul Martin’s American Grill, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos of Cheesecake Royale and Royale Desserts, Chefs Sonny Pache and Michael Scott of Ocean Prime and Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown) and wines to match. The people-watching merrily continued with Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi supporting her CapRock Services husband Alex Laurenzi and Smoky Rose brother David Cash, Kay Weeks and Anne and Terry Conner. Alas, the servers like Sonny Pache, Sandra Reyes and Roberto Cabrera were so busy serving, they rarely got a chance to look up.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and David Cash

Another highlight of the evening was checking out the Dallas Blooms’ “Peace, Love And Flower Power” displays.

Dallas Blooms’ Love, Peace and Flower Power

Just after 8 p.m. Hobo Cane was in concert at the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn, along with desserts from around the world.  

Dallas Arboretum VP Terry Lendecker looked like a person amazed at how perfect it all turned out — the 500,000 blossoms were vying for attention skyward; the guests grazed happily at the 40-ish chef stations; the weather was a step above spectacular; and there was not a mosquito in sight.

Summed up Chef Sharon: “What a perfect place this was for it. We all love the Arboretum. I call Arboretum people ‘little fairies,” because they go around spreading good cheer all over the place!” 

Make plans now for the next Food and Wine Festival. It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Jewelry Designer/Attorney Kori Green (Aka Mrs. Pat Green) To Be The 8th Judge For Mad Hatter’s Tea Hat Competition

Under The Tuscan Sun*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2017 Chair Linda Spina is going “green” with the announcement of the eighth judge for the “Under The Tuscan Sun” theme chapeau competition at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, April 27.

Hold on to your hats! It’s Kori Green. In addition to being a jewelry designer, an attorney and pretty darn cute, she’s also the wife of Grammy-nominated country singer/songwriter Pat Green and mom to their two kiddos Kellis Green and Rainey Green.

She got in the jewelry designing business while studying law at the University of Texas Law School. It provided her with a creative outlet. In addition to her professional activities and community involvement, she and Pat established the Pat Green Foundation.

Kori won’t be the only “greenie” in the judging line up for the eight categories. She’ll be joining Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green plus celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

Tickets for the annual eye-popping fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum are available here.

* Graphic provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

Watch For Hobbits Thursday, Friday And Saturday While Touring The Whimsical Shire Of Preston Hollow For Equest

Now that this wet stuff seems to be calming down, the upcoming days seems bright and shiny. Evidently, the Equest organizers arranged something with Mother Nature to have perfect weather for folks to explore the Tolkien-inspired Shire in Preston Hollow.

The Shire of Preston Hollow*

While other estates in the neighborhood are manicured like a socialite’s nails, this acreage is a wonderland with its 9,000-square-foot main house, an attached conservatory and a detached guest house known as the Hobbit House. Why, Frodo Baggins would feel right at home there! And rightly so. After all, it took seven years to create. Why, one would actually expect Legolas to flutter by or to be greeted by Gimli at the drawbridge before crossing to the portcullis.

Inside there will be “couture fashions and accessories from Lily of the West and Hari Jewels, with designer guests appearances, and additional luxury items from Origins of Santa Fe Boutique” plus refreshments and music. And while Shadowfax, Arod and Bill the Pony won’t be on hand, their good buddies, the Equest mini-ambassadors, just might be hoofing around for a photo or two.

Like Brigadoon, this magical property at 4668 Meadowood Road will be available for touring this Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit Equest. Alas, it’s only available for checking out by big kids (21 years and older). Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $20 for the equine therapeutic program. Register right here.

* Photo provided by Equest

JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests’ finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy. Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats. Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish. Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

The Perfect Fix For St. Patrick’s Day Weekend’s Need For Green

Dallas Arboretum tulips

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Instead of flying off to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone or hitting the pubs for a tankard of Guinness Extra Stout, why not surround yourself in picture-perfect green?

It can be found at the Dallas Arboretum with acres of  magnificent green grounds being highlighted by 500,000 blossoms.

And if you’re set on kissing something, the Arboretum has plenty of tulips. Wink, wink.

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Arboretum’s Inaugural Food And Wine Festival

Dallas Bloom’s tulips (File photo)

Despite claims that North Texas has been evacuated due to Spring Break, ain’t so! In fact, more than 1,300 are gonna be at the Dallas Arboretum’s First-Ever Food and Wine Festival Thursday. If you haven’t gotten your ticket, you’re out of luck because the food fest is sold out!

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Dunia Borga (File photo)

It’s been such a gangbuster sell-out that the tulips are squeezing together to make room for the participating chefs (Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, Chef Abraham Salum, Chef Alex Astranti, Chef Anastacia Quinones, Chef Andrea Shackelford, Chef April Barney, Chef Brad Phillips, Chef Chad Houser, Chef Christopher Patrick, Chef Daniel Pittman, Chef Daniele Puleo, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Rebecca Jolly, Chef David Gauthier, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Eric Dreyer, Chef Gianni Santin, Chef Henry Gentry, Chef Jay Valley, Chef Janice Provost, Chef Jean-Marie, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs, Chef John Doumas, Chef John Tesar, Chef Josh Harmon, Chef Junior Borges, Chef Josh Sutcliff, Chef Justin Box, Chef Katherine Clapner, Chef Larry Williams, Chef Luis Olvera, Chef Mark Wootton, Chef Mary Sparks, Chef Matt McCallister, Chef Meaders Ozarow, Chef Michael Scott, Chef Mike Shetsky, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana, Chef Omar Flores, Chef Richard Chamberlain, Chef Robert Lyford, Chef Samantha Rush, Chef Samir Dhurandhar, Chef Scott Nakachi, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos, Chefs Sonny Pache, Michael Scott and Chef Uno Immanivong).

After grazing among the 500,000 blossoms and food stations, guests will be entertained with a concert on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage And Lawn as the sun sets behind White Rock Lake.

North Texas Smarty Pants — TAG And Lee Park Jr. Conservancy — Make Kentucky Derby A Two-Day Fest Of Fundraising

Tired of hearing about event collisions? You know. That’s when two or three very interesting fundraisers are scheduled at the same time like this past Wednesday, when the luncheon slam-bang — Linz Award, Planned Parenthood and the Virginia Chandler Dyke — had guests making Solomon-like decisions. Not everyone can be a Janie McGarr, who attended the Linz VIP reception in the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom and then scooted on over to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom for Planned Parenthood.

But how about some good news about two groups that had competed for the same type of guests and managed to make it all work this year?

Horse racing (File photo)

Back story: In past years, the Kentucky Derby has had the BrainHealth’s Think Ahead Group (TAG) and Lee Park Junior Conservancy holding their fundraisers at the same time to see the Run for the Roses. Ah, but this year those brainiacs came up with an idea — a two-fer by holding their event the night before to get the momentum underway plus celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Gee, no wonder they’re so dang smart!

So, here’s how North Texas is gonna celebrate the Kentucky equine race:

  • Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt (File photo)

    Friday, May 5 (8 p.m.-midnight) — TAG holds Cinco de Derby at Marie Gabrielle with margaritas and mint juleps complementing Mexican food. If you haven’t been to Marie Gabrielle, don’t tell a soul. It’s Dallas proper’s sweetheart of an oasis within the concrete forest. Proceeds benefit the Discovery Group, a program at the Center for BrainHealth that “works to improve quality of life after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.” As for tickets, non-TAG member tickets are going for $87 and members save $20 for their $67 tickets.

To keep things rocking and rolling, wake up late morning and put on your prettiest frock and nattiest duds and prepare for fashionable strutting and horse racing watching. (Editor’s note: put tea bags on top of those partied-out eyes for 10 minutes before applying the makeup.)

  • Tyler Stevens, Gay Donnell and Camille Cain Barnes*

    Saturday, May 6 (4 – 7:30 p.m.) — For the big spenders, the 9th Annual Day at the Races Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens announced at the kick-off party at Vineyard Vines that there will be a VIP private champagne reception at Arlington Hall and Lee Park starting at 4 p.m. But, please let the jeans, cowboy boots and leather fringe take the day off. This one demands true southern comfort sundresses and seersuckers topped off with smashing hats. Well, after all, there is a competition for the Best Dressed and Best Hat. If it’s a pretty day, there will be lawn games. But if it’s one of those drizzle days, don’t despair. (Alliteration is everything, don’t you know!). Inside Arlington Hall there will be a silent auction, a wagering table, live music and watching the Derby on major screens. Remember? You’re there for the Kentucky Derby. Tickets are available now with Lee Park Junior Conservancy members getting a thrifty $125 per person and non-members paying $150. For that VIP special, it’ll be $500 for two and it include “an invitation to attend the Patron Party in April.” Love perks!

If you haven’t been to either or both of these events, stand in the stand-out corner. There isn’t a zit in the crowd and even AARP types suddenly become young fillies and stallions.

* Photo provided by Lee Park Junior Conservancy

Despite Topsy-Turvy Temps, Dallas Blooms Will Be Abounding With “Peace, Love And Flower Power” Through April 9

Yesterday the temperatures were in the upper 80s. Tonight the mercury will drop to the 30s. This winter has been a roller coaster with wardrobes going from shorts to quilted jackets and back to sandals within hours.

If you think you’ve been dizzy from the changes, take pity on the plants. One minute they’re poking their heads up to spring-like conditions and just as quickly they’re being threatened with frost.

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

And you just know the Dallas Arboretum folks have had their hands full in preparation for Dallas Blooms that had its Iberiabank sponsor Dallas Market President Daryl Kirkham, Dallas City Councilperson Mark Clayton and Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf on hand for the preview of this year’s theme “Peace, Love and Flower Power.”

This year’s petal extravaganza will “showcase an explosion of color with vintage VW floral topiaries and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms” until Sunday, April 9.

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

According to Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Dallas Blooms is the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland. Later in the festival thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees will blossom, leaving breathtaking color at every turn. Guests are sure to have an unforgettable experience this spring in our world-class garden.”

During the run of Dallas Blooms through Sunday, April 9, different activities celebrating the 1960’s theme will take place. From an Ed Sullivan Show-Celebrity Weekend, a music festival throughout the gardens to guests getting henna tattoos, and 1960s fashion on display in the DeGolyer House, it’ll make you dig out your bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

And as if the Dallas Blooms isn’t enough, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be back in action Saturday after going through its annual winter refreshing.

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

How About A Whopper Of A Valentine’s Day Floral Arrangement?

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and it’s to florists what the Super Bowl is to pizza shops. And like pizza, the usual dozen long stem, red roses will be history all too soon. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

But how about a gift of flowers that lasts all year round for the recipient? And the price is less than $100.

Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

It’s an individual membership at the Dallas Arboretum. Not only does it allow the lucky recipient free access to the more-than-60 acres of grounds overlooking White Rock Lake, it also provides a guest to come along free and free parking for one vehicle plus four total reservations to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

And if you want to look like a really big spender, you might want to check out the other levels of membership.

While you’re being such a sweetheart, why not share your love with a child you don’t know but who sure could use that special feeling? You don’t even need a stamp to lick…just a finger to click here!

JUST IN: Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins Announces Craig Hall To Receive The First Great Contributor To Art Award And Much More Deets

Due to circumstances way beyond our control, the next couple of days are going to be filled with announcements galore thanks to those wonderful people who bring you fundraising in North Texas. The news will be revealed as soon as it breaks.

The very first on the lineup just took place, courtesy of Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins, who never tackles any project in a lightweight manner. She gathered a crowd of folks, including many of her 48-member committee, at Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer House this evening to reveal plans for the upcoming Artscape Reimagined 2017.

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

The eyebrow-raising headline of the evening was the creation of the Great Contributor to Art Award in association with the garden’s fine art and craft show. And to kick the launch of the award off with a bang, she announced the very first recipient will be entrepreneur/best-selling author/philanthropist/vineyard owner Craig Hall.

According to Kaki, “Craig Hall embodies the spirit of this award. He is someone who collects art not for himself but for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work, and we are excited to honor him.”

Craig will be presented with the Gary Lee Price-designed award on Friday, May 12, at the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall.

With wife Kathryn Hall standing nearby, Craig said, “I am a strong believer in the importance of public art and the incredible effect it can have on its audience. Art has the ability to touch the soul and make people think, and it should be shared openly and democratically. The Dallas Arboretum, through its public art exhibits, sculptures throughout the garden and Artscape, is a great example of how our city is embracing public art, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

Regarding Artscape itself, it will feature more than 100 renowned artists from around the country thanks to the Artscape jury including Chair  Patricia Meadows, Katherine Wagner and Marty Ray with assistance by Gail Sachson. This year’s show will feature “a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, fiber, ceramics and more.” But leave it to Kaki to have ramped it up to live up to its Artscape Reimagined theme, like:

  • An architect-designed landscape layout with decorative signage and boulevards that provide excellent audience flow and heightened visibility for the artists.
  • The historic DeGolyer House transformed into the DeGolyer Gallery, featuring local Dallas galleries presenting works by artists they represent
  • The University Zone, where approximately 10 universities will show and sell works by their professors and students.

And it will all take place with the Arboretum grounds in full bloom, thanks to dazzling azaleas. The schedule calls for the member preview on Friday, April 28, with the public viewings on the following Saturday (April 29) and Sunday (April 30).  

As an additional offering, Artscape guests will also be able to check out ZimSculpt, the exhibition of “modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures that will be incorporated into the garden” from Saturday, April 15 through Monday, July 31. This collection of more than 100 hand-carved pieces will be the first time that the sculptures will be on display in the southern U.S. During their stay, Zimbabwean artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko will be on hand to demonstrate how the stone is carved into modern art.

BTW, tickets for the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner are $300 per guest and will be available for purchase on Monday, February 6.

JUST IN: With An Italian Flavor, 2017 Mad Hatter’s Chair Linda Spina Reveals Eight Categories For Under The Tuscan Sun’s Judging

Under The Tuscan Sun*

And the news that Mad Hatters and their chapeau designers have been waiting for has just been revealed. 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina revealed that in keeping with the “Under the Tuscan Sun” theme, the following categories will be judged at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, April 27, for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum fundraiser:

  1. Molto Italiano (“Very Italian”) — Most True-to-Theme. Everything Tuscan, from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasurers of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between. 
  2. Rachel’s Pick — Special guest Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat. The best of the best, from her point of view.
  3. Bella Donna (“Beautiful Woman”) — Most Elegant. 
  4. A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy.  Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  5. Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  6. Fellini’s Follies — Famed late Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats.
  7. Mamma Mia! — Most Outlandish. Go wild!
  8. Ciao Bella! (“Hello Beautiful”) — People’s Choice. The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Now, get those glue guns warmed up and have a glass of France MayesToccare le Stelle, while you’re at it.

Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Reveal Party Had Loads Of Surprises And Rachel Zoe Name Dropping

With just five months to prepare their dazzling headpieces, the Maddest Hatters gathered at Tootsies on Thursday, November 17. Besides celebrating any occasion connected with the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the guests were there to learn the details for the Thursday, April 27th Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum.

Dyann Skelton, Melissa Lewis and Emilynn Wilson

Yes, the date was important because, unlike a few years back when guests shivered in near-freezing temperatures, Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis and Event Chair Linda Spina picked a date in late April when frost will be long gone. It also allows more time to prepare those hats for showing and competing.

Linda Spina and Lynn Dealey

Under The Tuscan Sun*

But the big news was the event’s theme. This news was the one that warmed the hearts and glue guns of hat designers. Drum roll. The theme for the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea will be “Under the Tuscan Sun.” No wonder the gals picked a sun-friendly date and artist Lynn Dealey’s sunflowers artwork took full advantage of the theme.

But wait, there was still more news and it was a real head turner. Thanks to Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and the Mad Hatters brain trust, super-duper special guest will be fashion designer, author, business woman, nuclear scientist Rachel Zoe. (Okay, so maybe not that last one about the nuclear scientist, but she’s everything else and so much more.) Is anyone surprised that Mad Hatters fashion sponsor Tootsies carries Rachel’s line of fashions? Nah!

Sharla Bush and Amy Warren

While a couple of the guests (mostly guys) looked a little baffled about the younger crowd getting downright thrilled over Rachel’s participation, they’ll wise up by the big day, especially if they check out The Zoe Report.

Adding to the namedropping of the occasion, it was revealed that Amy Warren and her daughter Amanda Hill would serve as honorary co-chairs thanks to their buddy Mad Hatter’s Co-Chair/Warren buddy/McKinney shop keeper Sharla Bush.

But there was even more good news. Individual tickets are available now at $350 via the Women’s Council website. Later in the spring a limited number of tickets will be made available for $250. But who wants to wait and take a chance on missing the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple, a seated luncheon overlooking the Arboretum grounds, and being seen on the scene?

Proceeds from the event will “grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden.”

* Graphic courtesy of Lynn Dealey

Starting Sunday Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden To Take Time Off To Prepare For Spring Festivities

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

Not only is 2016 closing down Saturday, the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is going on hiatus until Friday, February 24.

Dallas Blooms (File photo)

During this time period, the staffers will be providing “winter maintenance” and getting it prepared for the spring festivities including Dallas Blooms: Flower Power that starts Saturday, February 25, with 500,000 blooming flowers.

Plants Have Feelings, too

Today and tomorrow the Dallas Arboretum staffers are busy planting bulbs snug in the grounds and covering them with petunias. As the below-freezing temperatures approach Saturday night, here are some suggestions from Dallas Arboretum VP of Gardens Dave Forehand,

Dallas Arboretum crew planting bulbs before the freeze

  •  Water before it freezes: Watering material before the threat of frost protects the plant root zone. Water acts like a blanket insulating the roots. This makes the plant stronger against a freeze. When plant cells are full of water, they are less likely to be subject to frost damage. If possible, water a day or two before a freeze and make sure to water the entire root zone of the plant. This is especially important in newly planted trees and shrubs. Try watering early in the day so plants have time to absorb water before a freeze. If at all possible, avoid watering the foliage. If you have an irrigation system, hand watering might be the best option for certain locations. Keeping water off the foliage prevents the formation of ice on leaf material which can cause breaks and more damage.
  •  Use frost cloth: Frost cloth acts as a blanket and helps trap heat. Make sure that you secure the cloth entirely around the plant and tighten to the soil using fabric pins or bricks (anything that will hold it down firmly will work). Frost cloth is made from a product that “breathes,” and this cloth helps against burn caused by other materials. Purchase frost cloth months in advance. When the threat of a freeze is coming, frost cloth sells out quickly. Do not use frost cloth when there is a chance of snow. Otherwise, it will cause more damage breaking plants from the weight of the snow.
  • Check plant health: The healthier your plants are, the more prone they are to handle stress. Proper water and maintenance throughout the growing season will help in the winter months. It is also important to select the right plant for your area.  Check to make sure that the plant material you select is appropriate for your location. Check out USDA plant hardiness zone map to see what zone you live in. This information will help you purchase the best plant material for your zone.

So, if you’ve finished your uber shopping, then why not take advantage of this advice from a man-who-knows? Come spring you’ll be the standout among your neighborhood of cottages.

Just 48 Hours Before His Accident, Chef Kent Rathbun Was Heading Up The March Of Dimes Signature Chefs Dinner

The fall temperatures weren’t the only things in the “change mode” on Thursday, November 3, While the Flora Award Gala black-tie set were celebrating adorably cute couple Myrna and Bob Schlegel at Texas Discovery Gardens, the short-skirted, stiletto types were grazing over at the Hilton Anatole for the March of Dimes’ Signature Chefs Dinner.

Despite years past of partying at the Omni, the 500+ crowd owned the Chantilly Ballroom with Lady Lucy Wrubel at the musical helm. And it truly was the type of music to diner with and bid on.

Lucy Wrubel

Lucy Wrubel

Alina and Ruben Esquivel

Alina and Ruben Esquivel

Fraser and Rhonda Marcus

Fraser and Rhonda Marcus

Andrea Weber

Andrea Weber

As Diane and Hal Brierley, Laura Moon, Andrea Weber and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus sampled around the room that was lined with chefs like Jim Severson, Gilbert Garza, David Hoblen, Janice Provost, John Tesar, Chad Houser, Nicolas Blouin and Elvis cooking up a storm, Chief Chef Kent Rathbun had his arm around longtime cooking pal Aaron Staudenmaier. While Kent was pulled away to talk with another pod of pals, Aaron remembered how sad Kent had been when the kerfuffle with his business partner had taken place. But Aaron quickly added, “But Kent is strong.”

Hal Brierley, John Tesar and Diane Brierley

Hal Brierley, John Tesar and Diane Brierley

David Holben

David Holben

JIm Severson

JIm Severson

Elvis

Elvis

Gilbert Garza

Gilbert Garza

Aaron Staudenmaier and Kent Rathbun

Aaron Staudenmaier and Kent Rathbun

Little did Aaron or Kent know that just 48 hours later, Kent’s strength would be put to the test following a devastating ATV accident in Marfa that resulted in his being air-lifted to Odessa and then Parkland with punctured kidney, fracture vertebrae and 27 ribs.

We are pleased to report that thanks to outstanding medical care, wife Tracy Rathbun’s constant presence and the support of family and friends, Kent made it home in time for Thanksgiving.  

JUST IN: The Dallas Arboretum Just Welcomed Its Millionth Visitor For The Year

It’s not every day that the “million mark” is hit.  And today was the day that the Dallas Arboretum scored it for the first time in its history. Well, of course, there have been millions over the years, but this year is the first time that they welcomed the millionth visitor within the calendar year.

And what a visitor it was! Actually it was a couple — first-time visitors Micki and Randy Baldwin, who were in town from North California. They had been in Oklahoma City to visit their sons and a new grandchild and decided to drive on down to Dallas to check out the Arboretum. Made perfect sense since Randy is a gardener and the twosome like to check out botanical gardens and arboretums.

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Micki’s and Randy’s helping the Arboretum pass the million-visitor point put the Arboretum in a very rarified place. “Of the more than 50 large gardens in the nation, the Dallas Arboretum joins only six other ones that have reached more than a million visitors annually.”

They couldn’t have picked a more perfect day. Not only did the icy chill hold off, but Micki and Randy were able to see the elaborate 12 Days Of Christmas throughout the grounds, as well as being greeted and ballyhooed by Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf, Board member Al Olson and Arboretum Senior VP Missy Whisler.

According to Mark, “First, we are grateful for the support of our 37,000 members and donors. Second, there were several factors that helped us reach a million visitors. In addition to our popular Dallas Blooms in the spring and Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden finally added a blockbuster holiday display — The 12 Days of Christmas — that attracted our local community and many out of town visitors.”

If you haven’t checked out the winter wonders, bundle up and head on over. BTW, if you want a night time view of the exhibit, you’re in luck. The gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday evenings through Friday, December 30. However, the 12 Days will be available for daytime viewing every day leading up to Sunday, January 8, except for Christmas Day, when the grounds are closed.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum