It’s Their Time’s First Fundraiser Paid Off With A Six-Figure Grant For Dr. Roger Rosenberg’s Alzheimer’s Research

Leave it to Leslie Ann Crozier to get her dander up about a problem and do something about it. When Alzheimer’s hit a family members, she did more than  just talk to doctors. She put together a foundation — It’s Their Time — and held a splashy get together  at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on  Tuesday, May 23 with the likes of Dr. Roger Rosenberg and Pete Delkus. And, boy, did it pay off! Here’s a report from the field:

Roger Rosenberg, Leslie Ann Crozier and Pete Delkus*

Established within 116 days ago by founder Leslie Ann Crozier, It’s Their Time held a Kick-Off Celebration on Tuesday, May 23, to a sold-out audience at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. As a result of the event, Dallas’ newest foundation committed to advancing research for Alzheimer’s was able to present a $100,000 grant to award world-renowned Dr. Roger Rosenberg of UT Southwestern Medical Center for his DNA Vaccine. 

Mark Goldberg and Anne Lacey*

Tom Bevins and Clint Henderson*

Jana Hayes, Nancy Solomon, Diane depoi and Barbara Moroney*

“It was a magical evening filled with love, laughter, and lots of support. The generosity of all our May 23rd guests including Tom Bevins, Clint Henderson, Anne Lacey, Melissa and Steve Brooks, Dr. Mark Goldberg, Jana Hayes, Nancy Solomon, Diane Depoi and Barbara Moroney was overwhelming. Being able to award Dr. Rosenberg a $100,000 Grant from the evening proceeds exceeded all of our Committee’s expectations, especially given that the Charity is only a couple of months old,” confirmed Leslie Ann Crozier.

Guests enjoyed a festive cocktail celebration filled with lots of surprises . . . and pictures with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Dallas’ favorite meteorologist, WFAA Pete Delkus, was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and was welcomed by “thunderous” applause, as the ballroom filled with sounds of thunder and lightning!  Pete was to leave halfway through the program to get back to the TV station; however, he was having so much fun that he stayed until the Live Auction and rushed to make the 10:00 p.m. ABC News. During the 10:00pm broadcast, Pete shared fun pictures and evening highlights.

When Leslie took the stage and shared five shocking Alzheimer’s statistics with the audience . . . you could have heard a pin drop. One of the most surprising facts was that women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during their life as they are to develop breast cancer.

After a powerful video introduction, the evening’s recipient, Dr. Roger Rosenberg, took the stage to a standing ovation. He unveiled his UT Southwestern Medical Center Press Release, sent out just hours earlier, announcing that his DNA Vaccine “is on a shortlist of promising antibody treatments” that may prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.

Aubree-Anna*

Popular singer songwriter Aubree-Anna sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Over The Rainbow” as tears flowed throughout the ballroom. 

The evening wrapped up with a spectacular Live Auction that included 3 of Leslie’s young 20-something nieces/nephews bidding $8,500 and winning the Lady Gaga Box Suite.  The audience was in shock, as Leslie’s nephew, Collin, took the stage and explained that they really only had $85 . . . however his 90-year-old grandparents, who could not attend, bought the package absentee to support the family and the Charity! 

The It’s Their Time Committee deserves a heroic round of applause, especially Strategic Planning Chair Steve Crozier, Event Chair Carol Hall, Advertising and Public Relations C0-Chairs Barbara and Stan Levenson and Creative Co-Chairs Alison Wood and Paula Feinberg

Evening Sponsors whose contributions helped make the evening an even greater success, include:

  • Champions of Hope ($10,000) — Lee Bailey, Melissa and Stephen Brooks/Grand Homes and Leslie Ann Crozier
  • Advocates for Advanced Research ($5,000) — Chris Bright, Gordy Ceresino, Jana Hayes, Hot On! Homes and Nancy and Gerald Solomon

As the first fundraising chapter comes to a close, It’s Their Time friends and supporters are looking forward to a rewarding journey creating a storybook filled with many more events, and many more memories.

For more information on It’s Their Time or to support It’s Their Time’s ongoing efforts for Advancing Research for Alzheimer’s, visit www.itstheirtime.org.  

* Photo provided by It's Their Time

JUST IN: Tracy Rathbun’s Husband Will Celebrate His 20th Anniversary Heading Up The March Of Dimes Dallas Signature Chefs Auction

When the March of Dimes Dallas Signature Chefs Auction was just three years old back in 1997, there was young fellow who was making a name for himself in these parts. In addition to his day job of cooking in area restaurants, he offered to take the lead for the fundraiser.

Tracy Rathbun and her husband (File photo)

Back then he was known as Kent Rathbun, but due to a legal quagmire he’s known nowadays as restaurateur “Tracy Rathbun’s husband.”  

But the namelessness hasn’t stopped his support, involvement and leadership in the March of Dimes Dallas’ “premiere fundraising gala,” that will take place on Thursday, November 2, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

To celebrate his 20th anniversary as Lead Chef of Dallas Signature Chefs, Mr. Rathbun has once again assembled some of the top and most generous chefs to provide chef samplings, as well as a live auction “featuring unique dining experiences.”

David Holben (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

The gathering of chefs includes: Damian Avila of Lockhart Smokehouse, Jermaine Brown of Great Scott, Carlos Capistran of Shinsei, Donald Chalko of Texas Spice – Omni Dallas Hotel, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Fish Market Grill, John Coleman of Savor Gastropub, Dwight Harvey of Off the Bone Barbecue, David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Jeffrey Kollinger of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly – Hotel Zaza, Carlos Mancera of Republic, Sonny Pache of Ocean Prime Dallas, Tom Parlo of The Mansion Restaurant – Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Janice Provost of Parigi, Mico Rodriguez of Mesero and Meso Maya, Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Jim Severson of Sevy’s Grill, Nathan Tate of Boulevardier and Rapscallion, John Tesar of Knife and Chris Vogeli of III Forks.

Jim Severson (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

This one is a true graze and gaze around with loads of people watching. Start those diets now, because the tickets are available here.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 8th Annual Steaks On The Lake

According to  8th Annual Steaks on the Lake Co-Chairs Polly and Mike Campbell, Susan and Evan Griffiths and Bev and Alan Vuckovich,

Polly Anderson, Bev Vuckovich and Susan Griffiths*

Imagine a crisp fall evening, a delicious steak dinner, live music by Downtown Fever, a wine and whiskey pull and an exciting auction. All landing on Friday, November 17, at the impressive Frontiers of Flight Museum. Imagine having this much fun while supporting Grant Halliburton Foundation as it works to promote better mental health for kids, teens and young adults.

We are honored to be serving as co-chairs of this wonderful event while raising money for a cause that has directly touched each of our families. We have experienced firsthand that helpless feeling of learning that your child is struggling with a mental illness. 

Grant Halliburton Foundation was established in 2006 in memory of Grant Halliburton, a Dallas teen who battled depression and bipolar disorder for several years before taking his own life at the age of 19. The foundation that bears his name exists to help prevent similar tragedies. Its mission is to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens and young adults; promote better mental health; and help prevent suicide.  

According to The Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds and the third leading cause of death among 10- to 14-year-olds.  Through Steaks on the Lake, and with your help, we hope to raise awareness and erase the stigma of adolescent mental illness.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Grant Halliburton Foundation at 972.744.9790. Tickets available in September.  To learn more, visit granthalliburton.org.

* Photo provided by Grant Halliburton

 

Guests Came From Near And Far For The Sweet Sounds At The Sapphire Gala For Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra

It takes more than talent to perform at such venues at the Meyerson. It takes money to fine tune that talent. So The Sapphire Gala under the leadership of Venise Stuart did just that for the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra on Sunday, May 18. Guests came from as far away as Colorado for the evening of dining, bidding and listening to young musicians at the Meyerson. Here’s a report from the field:

Through the ages, sapphires have been treasured for their sparkle, romance and beauty. The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) glittered with brilliance at the Sapphire Anniversary’s Spring Gala and Season Finale celebrating 45 years in the community. It was held on Sunday, May 21, at the Meyerson Symphony Center and is the only fundraising event for the youth orchestra.

Dallas Jazz Institute*

The shimmering Gala included a silent auction and buffet dinner with music featuring performers from the GDYO Jazz Institute. It was followed by a full concert of the top ensemble featuring guest violinist Chee-Yun, and ended with post-concert desserts.

Dolores Barzune, Venise Stuart, Larry Barzune and Larry Stuart*

Venise Stuart was extremely proud and honored to be chairing the Gala.

“The young talent the Metroplex has is amazing,” said Venise. “It takes a true passion and commitment from everyone involved to deliver the amazing experience you will have this evening. The GDYO is a hidden gem in the city and these young musicians soar under the direction of Maestro Rick Giangiulio.”

Cynthia and Brice Beaird*

Honorary Co-Chairs were Cynthia and Brice Beaird, longtime supporters of the Dallas community. Cynthia is a founding Partner/Executive VP with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. Brice is the owner of the Beaird Agency, Inc. and also a singer/songwriter. 

GDYO provides DFW’s most talented young musicians with high quality instruction, challenging repertoire and the opportunity to come together and perform at world class venues like the Meyerson Symphony Center. It was founded in 1972 by parents, educators, and members of the Dallas music community to provide music education and performance opportunities for youth with demonstrated musical ability. The program includes over 450 talented musicians, ages 8 to 18, performing in two full orchestras, three string orchestras, a wind ensemble, a flute choir, and eight jazz combos, and socializing with a diverse group of highly talented peers from more than 50 communities.

Sherwood Wagner and Marena Gault*

“Many GDYO alums continue to study music at schools like Julliard, Cleveland Conservatory and others,” said GDYO Board Member Sherwood Wagner. “Regardless of the path they choose for their career, the students receive a world class music education/performance experience and a lifelong appreciation for arts.” 

There are a few notable alumni of the orchestra. Cathy Hernandez, the recently appointed Executive Director of GDYO, has come full circle by having been a musician with the orchestra while in high school, and now many years later, she heads the organization. Another familiar alumna from the program is Denise McGovern, who is currently Vice President of Communications at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Cathy Hernandez and Don Nebhan*

Gerald and Dana Sampson*

Attendees included Marena Gault, Delores and Larry Barzune, Dana and Gerald Sampson, Norma and Don Stone, Heather and Jerry Moore, Doug Haloftis, Becky and Brad Todd and Sharon and Maurice Ballew.

Gerry and Dana Sampson moved to Colorado nearly two years ago, but flew back for the event. They were both wearing purple because Gerald is on the National Board of Alzheimer’s Association. Even his shoes were purple.

The proceeds from the evening will benefit the GDYO Scholarship Fund and the GDYO Tour Fund, allowing deserving students a chance to not only experience the GDYO Program, but to be further enriched by experiencing new cultures while traveling and preforming with their peers. Each year, young musicians in GDYO receive $20,000 in scholarships, and that number doubles in a tour year.

For more information:  www.gdyo.org

* Photo credit: Chuck Clark

JUST IN: Returning Aware President Venise Stuart Reveals The Grant Recipients And Board Members For 2017-2018

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Venise Stuart’s dance card is getting full. Not only is she chairing the 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, she is once again going to serve as president for Aware .

Venise just revealed the following ten organizations have been named Aware grant recipients for 2017-2018:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation – Support for the salary of a Ph.D. Neuropsychology Intern for Baylor AT&T Memory Center.
  • Center for BrainHealth – Discovery Group – Support for the Discovery Group, a program designed to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias focus on preserving abilities and tapping strengths to promote meaningful engagement and slow the progression of the disease
  • Dallas Museum of Art – Memory Moments – Support for teaching honorariums, supplies, and staffing for Memory Moments, a program designed to provide participants with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias ways to engage in art that are revitalizing and gratifying.
  • Jewish Family Service – Support for the salary of a Clinical Social Worker to provide independent living services to adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their families/caregivers.
  • Juliette Fowler Communities – Support for group and individual therapy sessions with a Certified Music Therapist for memory care residents, and to help purchase additional instruments and therapeutic tools.
  • NorthPark Presbyterian Church – Casa de Vida – Support the Casa de Vida program, which gives relief to families/caregivers by providing one-on-one care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at the church for programs involving art, music, games, and lunch one day per week from 9:30 until 1:30.
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach – Support for two concerts by professional musicians in 87 nursing homes and adult daycare facilities that serve individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation – Broad Strokes – Support for the Broad Strokes program at Grace Presbyterian Village that provides music and art therapy to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • The Senior Source – Senior Companions – Support for the Senior Companion Program matching volunteers with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families needing assistance with meals, light housekeeping, and companionship.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center – Support to advance Dr. Roger Rosenberg’s research and clinical trials on a DNA Vaccine to clear amyloid plaques in the brain to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship awardees will be Baylor University’s Nora Drutz-Rogney and TCU’s Lindsay Ross.

Part of the grant funding is achieved from proceeds from the annual Aware Affair. This year’s event — Celebrate the Moments — will take place on Friday the 13th of April with a three-course dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing. Wondering where it’s gonna be held? And who’s chairing the event? Good questions! That information is coming in the weeks ahead.

Joining Venise on the 2017-2018 Aware board will be Carol Stabler, secretary; Sue John, treasurer; Stacey Angel, membership; Myrna Schlegel, Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship Fund and Janet Broyles, past president. 

JUST IN: Jennifer And Richard Dix And Kristi And Ron Hoyl To Co-Chair The Family Place’s 2017 ReuNight

Just when you think no more news could develop in the rising summer temperatures, The Family Place team proved they were filled with news.

But they weren’t sharing all the developments for the annual ReuNight dinner and auction just yet.

What is known is who will be co-chairing the event. It will be a couple of gals who are old hands at bringing the dough — Jennifer Dix and Kristi Hoyl.

The two ladies single-handedly made the 2010 and 2011 Cattle Baron’s Ball at Southfork spectacular.

Richard and Jennifer Dix (File photo)

Ron and Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

To shore up their efforts, they’re bringing along two R’s — husbands Richard Dix and Ron Hoyl.

As for when and where, the foursome won’t cough up the info yet. But stay tuned. Pressure is being applied to get the details.

Arty Event At The Joule Raises Cattle Baron’s Funds

Anne Stodghill

Sunie and Steve Solomon

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon decided this year to have a special party to auction off art that had been donated to the cause. That’s why, on Wednesday, May 17, a big room at The Joule Hotel was given over to an amazing display of art for sale, the proceeds from which would be deployed in the fight against cancer.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction

The 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction was sponsored by The Joule and its owner, Tim Headington, who not only bankrolled the shindig, but ponied up a $50,000 donation to boot. The live and silent auction, the first of its kind ever for Cattle Baron’s, showcased something for everyone’s taste. Like Marilyn Monroe? There was a portrait of her on display, with a $13,500 price tag  on it. John Wayne more your style? A painting of The Duke was marked for sale at $10,000.

Steve Stodghill and Erin and Larry Waks

Francois Bellemare and Lauren Chapman

Kelly Perkins and Cindy Stager

While the 200 guests including CBB stalwarts Joanna Clarke, Dawn Spalding, Ashley Lyon, Laura Moon, Greg Nieberding, Cindy Stager, Kelly Perkins, Jacque Wynne, Mary Black, Vicki and Bob Chapman, Lauren Chapman, Francois Bellemare, Isabell Novakov, Nikki Webb, Erin and Larry Waks and Katy and Lawrence Bock munched hors d’oeuvres and checked out the pieces that were up for bid, Debra Nelson was remembering her dad, who passed away last year, and her Norwegian roots in Stoughton, Wisconsin, where she grew up. Her nostalgia was especially strong, Debra added, because today (May 17) was also “Syttende Mai”—or Norwegian National Day.

Olivia Kearney

Jeff Kearney

Olivia and Jeff Kearney, meantime, were also marking an important day: their 18th wedding anniversary. (Quipped Olivia: “That’s the longest I’ve ever been married to anyone!”) To celebrate the occasion they’d just returned from New York, where they had rave reviews for a new play they saw called “Come From Away.” It tells the true story of what happened in 2001 after 38 planes (carrying 7,000 people) were ordered  to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the week following 9/11.

When the evening was over and all the receipts were added up, organizers said the pioneering Art Auction brought in a total of $128,000.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction

Art was definitely in the air on Wednesday, May 17, in downtown Dallas. While the fashionista types were oohing and ahing over at the Dallas Museum of Arts for the private reception of the Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, the cancer-battling types were at The Joule.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction

Seems 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill had added a new touch to the annual fundraising efforts to conquer cancer. They pulled together all types of art for a Texas-sized auction in The Joule’s ballroom.

As purty as the art was on display, the gathering of baronesses and barons was darn impressive, too.

Francois Bellemare and Lauren Chapman

Mary Black and Jacque Wynne

While the i’s are being dotted and the t’s crossed on the post, the pictures are up at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Mosaic Family Services’ Champion Of Human Rights Award To Be Presented To Brittany Merrill Underwood At 8th Annual Gala

Mosaic Family Services 8th Annual Gala Co-Chairs Ashley Anderson Smith and Nusia Sookarow have just announced that Akola Founder/CEO Brittany Merrill Underwood will receive the Champion of Human Rights Award on Friday, October 6, at sixty five hundred.

Brittany Merrill Underwood*

Steve Kemble (File photo)

According to Ashley, “Brittany Underwood and Akola have transformed the lives of thousands of women and children around the world. We are thrilled to honor her as a Champion of Human Rights. We hope the community will join us in ‘Raising the Stakes’ as we raise vital funds to support Mosaic Family Services and our mission of providing a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses.”

Past recipients of the award include Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, Libby Spears, Abi Ferrin, Judge Roberto Canas Jr., Jan Langbein, Paige Flink, Luis C. deBaca and Lauren Embrey.

Along with Steve Kemble serving as emcee, Susan Posnick will be the honorary chair for the “Night in Monte Carlo”-themed fundraiser that will include cocktails, dinner by cn catering, a silent auction, a raffle, a casino and music by DJ LC.

Mosaic Family Services “is a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses, including domestic violence and human trafficking. The multicultural staff at Mosaic supports, educates, and empowers more than 25,000 people each year through direct services and outreach. Refugees and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence receive shelter, legal representation, counseling, access to health care, and support services in more than 30 languages. Every year, Mosaic House provides emergency housing to hundreds of women and children fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking.  They are the only shelter in North Texas providing comprehensive services to multicultural survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.”

The goal is to hit $200,000, so purchase a ticket here!

* Photo provided by Mosaic Family Services

JUST IN: Lisa Singleton To Chair The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2018 Fashion Show And Luncheon

Lisa Singleton may become the top contender for the lady who lunches for funds. She’s already chaired the Chick Lit Luncheon in 2013, St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show in 2015, The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazers Luncheon in 2016 and is co-chairing the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon on  Friday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

Lisa Singleton*

Now, word comes that the blonde is already looking into next year and will be chairing The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary‘s 2018 Fashion Show And Luncheon on Wednesday, May 9.

According to Lisa, “I am honored to have been asked to carry on this 26-year tradition of raising funds to support The Salvation Army and those in need in North Texas. Although the event is a fashion show and luncheon, we can’t lose sight that through the dedication of the many volunteers involved in putting on this tremendous event, people in our communities receive the support they need. Together, we have the power to affect tremendous change.”

In addition to already selecting the date for the fashion show highlighted by donated clothes, Lisa revealed that the event will return to the Meyerson with the opening reception, silent auction, the Chic Boutique, the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple and a seated luncheon.

Sponsorships are available now starting at $5,000 and individual tickets can be had for $300 by contacting Tina Trejo at 214.637.8121.

BTW, if you have that gorgeous gown that you wore to a ball and just know you’ll never wear it again, donate it. Lisa is going to be looking for clothes to fill the racks and the runway.

* Photo credit: Beau Bumpas

JUST IN: Mary McDermott Cook To Take A Second Bow As Honorary Chair For 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering”

Mary McDermott Cook (File photo)

Animal-loving philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook had so much fund fundraising as last year’s Zoo To Do‘s honorary chair that she’s signed up for a second year.

In fact, quite a few of the 2016 Zoo To Do crew is making a return trip to raise money for the Dallas Zoo including 2017 Co-Chair Barbara Daseke and 2017 Live Auction Co-Chair Hal Brierley

This year’s event at the zoo will take place of Saturday, November 4, with the theme “Animal Gathering.”

They’ve got their work cut out for them. Last year’s event raised $1.4M and since then there’s been the addition of a couple of hungry and adorable hippos.

It should be a howling success since there will be a full moon out that night. 

JUST IN: Wanda Gierhart And Dean Fearing To Co-Chair TACA 50th Anniversary Gala

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Former Neiman Marcus exec Wanda Gierhart and her fiancé/chef extraordinaire “Dean of Food” Fearing are quite a twosome. Back in 2014, their official joint-project debut was the TACA Custom Auction and what a night it was. The front row was filled with art-loving philanthropists with names like Carlson, Hobson and Brierley.

So, when Wanda, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary year celebration, decided that she would roll up her silk sleeves and chair the black-tie TACA 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, she sorta got nostalgic and brilliant. She drafted Dean to co-chair it with her.

As for the auction itself, don’t expect dozens of items up for bid. Word has it that it’s going to a very limited number and they’ll be very special.

BTW, the years that Wanda was in charge of curating the auction items were years that brought some very platinum paddles competing for the final bids. ‘Twas great sightseeing!

TACA Lexus Party On The Green Felt Right At Home In Its New Sammons Park Setting With Performers, Ice Carvings And Chefs Galore

Like a family realizing that perhaps they need to expand their residence, TACA organizers had determined that, as part of its year-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the annual  TACA Lexus Party On The Green needed a change. So, after years at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, they moved the outdoor fundraiser to Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts District on Friday, May 12. It was nothing against the Mansion. After all, they were going to have the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Mansion on Friday, September 8.

With both the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner at the Arboretum and the Party On The Green taking place outdoors on the same night, Mother Nature was in a kindly state of mind and provided spectacular weather.

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Katherine Wynne

POG Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne had orchestrated a beautiful setting with a backdrop of the very green grass shaded by grown-up trees. Giant lit white balloons hovered over each of the tented chef’s stations. Tabletops were gowned in TACA green and chairs wrapped with pashminas (some salmon-colored, others turquoise, still others emerald-green). An artist with a power saw sprayed ice chips as he carved “50” into two massive blocks of ice on a mini-stage. A ginormous lit balloon with Lexus TACA Party On the Green floated on the reflecting pool. Adirondack chairs were perfectly positioned on the lawn, with flawless views of the action in the pool.  

2017 Lexus TACA Party On the Green

Ice carver

Dawn Spalding

Dancers in reflecting pool

Of course, like any move to new surroundings, there were the expected “oops.” For instance, the PA seemed at times loud enough to be heard in Deep Ellum. Pleasant conversations required ramping up the vocal chords to compete with the myriad of announcements and actors and musicians.

At times, there seemed to be an overly aggressive push for the performing arts. While the dance in the pond was indeed captivating, the theatrical production on stage with Booker T. Washington as a backdrop was a smash … for those within eyesight. For those grazing near the Meyerson, it was a jumble of verbal clutter, just as it was at the last Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

Hal and Diane Brierley

Chris Heinbaugh and Nannette and Tracy Fitz

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash and Merrick and Stuart Huckin

Even those little snafus couldn’t hold back the 700 or so art-loving guests, like Amy and Michael Meadows, Charmaine and George Tang, TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue with wife Cheryl McCue, Diane and Hal Brierley, Ron Corning, Chris Heinbaugh, Nannette and Tracy Fitz, Simona Beal with her posse (Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs and Matthew Wilson), WaterTower’s Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Dawn Spalding, Dean Driver, Holly Reed, Susan Arledge, Marsha Getto-Aikens, Rachel and John Michell, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash, Merrick and Stuart Huckin, Paige McDaniel with Joe B Clark and Leslie Crozier

Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs, Simona Beal and Matthew Wilson

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz

Paige McDaniel and Joe B Clark

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Susan Arledge and Marsha Getto-Aikens

Snapshots of the scene included Mark Edgar giving a thumb’s-up for Chelsea Corner Chef Sara Griffin’s Road House Burger with truffle fries, which was getting a major top rating from many. Sara’s secret? She uses three types of meat… Rosewood Mansion’s Chef Nicolas Blouin‘s chocolate bar was a confectionary feast for the eyes and taste buds. Earlier in the day, Nicolas had been the one bright spot in a not-so-favorable review of the Mansion by the Dallas Morning News foodie Leslie Brenner…. Parigi Chef Janice Provost on her first outing at the POG decked out her tent with roses and cups set in faux grass filled with savory basil panna cotta with baby tomatoes and pesto… Sissy’s Chef Lisa Garza-Selcer was a bit frazzled during the VIP party, due to her late arrival. When asked how her baby was doing, the brunette replied, “I don’t know.” … Salum Chef Sader Matheis was subbing in for Chef Abraham Salum, who was in Lebanon with his father… Knife Chef John Tesar was all smiles over the sales of his new book, “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home.” A recent signing at the Highland Dallas Hotel had drawn 200, John explained, and he was excited about expanding his Knife empire to Plano, San Francisco, and Denver…. Equally happy was Chef Dean Fearing with fiancée Wanda Gierhart, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary, year-long celebration…  Laura Elcock reported that, earlier in the day, she’d had lunch with an old artist friend, who presented her with a portrait of Laura’s and husband Walter’s daughter… Michelle de Metz turned heads as she strolled past the tents with her leashed pooch.  

Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin dish

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Janice Provost dish

Laura and Walter Elcock

Michelle de Metz

For more photos of the faces and food, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Lexus TACA Party On The Green

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhardt

Katherine Wynne

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

In celebrating its 50 years of supporting the performing arts, TACA has been undergoing some changes like expanding its fundraising efforts to include the visual arts. Another big change was its annual Lexus TACA Party On The Green that for ages has taken place at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Nicolas Blouin

But on Friday, May 12, the whole kit and caboodle was relocated to Sammons Park in the Arts District. Made perfect sense and resulted in success, with loads of the pretty peeps grazing from food station to food station and dancers, singers, actors and musicians performing throughout the night.

Dancers

While the post is being written, the photos are ready for you to check out at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery now!

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 A Bright Sun, The Star Shone With Great Taste, Cowboys, Chefs And North Texas Food Bank Fans

After the ups and downs of weather days combining cashmere shawls with Daisy Dukes, Sunday, May 7, was bright, shiny and in the 80s. It was especially shiny at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, where the North Texas Food Bank’s fundraiser, Taste of the Cowboys, was preparing for 1,000 guests. Presenting sponsor for the event was Caliber Collision.

There had been changes from the past. It was no longer called Taste of the NFL. It was no longer at AT&T Stadium. It was no longer led by he-who-used-to-be-known-as Kent Rathbun, although there was a chap non-cooking on the premises with his family (wife/restaurateur Tracy Rathbun, son Max Rathbun and daughter Garrett Rathbun).

Garrett Rathbun,, Max Rathbun and Kent and Tracy Rathbun

While the Star’s mini-Jerry World is still a project in progress, there was some confusion about where to park and check in. VIPs like Susan and John Farris, Larry James of  CitySquare, current Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, and former Cowboys star Preston Pearson were to enter for a 5 p.m. start, but evidently some general-admission early birds nestled in a line before their 6 p.m. official get in.

John and Susan Farris

Preston Pearson and Larry James

As signage directed all to general parking a block or so away, smart VIP-ers headed around the corner to the valet check-in. Once on foot, though, the confusion continued. Folks lined up 10 deep to check in, only to finally learn: “Oh, you’re supposed to go outside and the lady there will direct you.” Alas, there was no woman there, so humbled VIP-ers wandered down the walkway like children lost at the State Fair. Soon they discovered an outdoor mini-stadium field surrounded by food stations and topped with a stage with bands performing (the headliner set for 8:30 p.m. was to be Reckless Kelly).

Taste of the Cowboys stage

The good news was that, despite the lack of signage directions, the in-the-flesh NTFB staffers were more than willing to help get things straightened out.

Once inside the air-conditioned lobby between the indoor and outdoor playing fields, there were a Mirmir Photo Booth, a Kendra Scott set-up, and a number of silent auction items.

Dunia Borgia

Aaron Hardwick and Tina Um

Chris Memme

Outside, there sure wasn’t any A/C. But there were a heck of a lot of local chefs cooking up a storm. Dunia Borgia of La Duni Baking Studio had replaced her frozen treats (at last year’s event) with sweet empanadas; Tina Um and Aaron Hardwick were showing off their General Tsao’s Chicken from Howard Wang’s China Grill; and BIRD Bakery proprietor Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, famed for her cookies, cupcakes, and mini-cupcakes, was enjoying the afternoon with Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch. Other eateries represented included Mi Cocina, Seasons 52, Off the Bone Barbeque, and The Common Table. 

Jamie Poper, Jill Bailey, Taylor Wencis and Ben Austin

Blythe Beck

Craig Walter

Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch

JUST IN: 2017 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara And Don Daseke Reveal Fundraiser’s Plans

While the two-legged critters wore shades as the sun set slowly over the Dallas Zoo’s Highland Hippo Hut, the two showstoppers chilled in the Simmons Hippo Outpost lagoon last night. The twosome were Adhama and Boipelo that almost stole the show from the reveal of plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do.

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

In the meantime, here are the deets: Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged to have Diane and Hal Brierley in charge of the live auction; Barb and Steve Durham as host committee co-chairs; Cindy Gummer handling decorations; Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs; Anatole Brett Krafft as wrangler and ZaZa Chef Dan Landsberg as head chef.

The date is set for Saturday, November 4. It’s going to be a great one with the Dasekes, the committee heads, the chefs cooking all over the place and the multitude of newborns that are cropping up all over the zoo.

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon Had Guests Shopping And Re-Invented Fashions On The Runway

Even before the official open got underway, the cars were lined up for The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Meyerson on Tuesday, May 2. Perhaps the reason was the sneak peek of the Chic Boutique of “experienced” clothes and accessories.

Joyann King

Surprisingly, most guests headed to the Opus Restaurant, where the silent auction was taking place. It didn’t take long for the smart shoppers to bird-dog the goodies on the upper level where folks like Tracy Lange, Dee Simmons and others checked out the racks curated by Tootsies. Among the shoppers was HarpersBazaar.com Executive Editor Joyann King. When asked if she had missed attending the Met’s red carpet the night before, she smiled and didn’t hesitate —“No.”

Despite a scheduled VIP group photo scheduled for 10, it didn’t happen. Event Chair D’Andra Simmons-Lock was behind the scenes taking care of last-minute details; Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich were at the front managing things along with Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and daughter Joyann.

Suzanne Palmlund, Dee Simmons and Marian Barnes

Billie Leigh Rippey

Ramona Jones and Julie Patrick

Barbara Daseke

Louise Griffeth and Carol Seay

As the crowd including Bobbie Sue Williams, Linda Custard, Chris Hite, Mary Clare Finney, Christie Carter, Ruth Altshuler, Annette Simmons, Connie Carreker, Barbara Daseke, Lynne Sheldon, Angie Kadesky, Pat McEvoy, Suzanne Palmlund,  Marian Barnes, BJ Ward and Louise Griffeth grew, some decided to move into the McDermott Concert Hall. Love the Meyerson, but time and time again guests struggled to find the rows. Perhaps the grand old lady hall needs a little refreshing to make seat finding less challenging.

Dee Collins Torbert

Another problem was the seating of Dee Collins Torbert, who relies on a wheelchair. Her assignment was on the front row of the Orchestra Terrace. While the location provide an ideal place to observe the stage, it also required her to leave her wheelchair and for two gentlemen to help her carefully navigate the three steps down to the front row.

Finally, the chimes rang and Event Producer Jan Strimple’s voice called all to their seats. The lights dimmed. Serving as a backdrop for the “Fashion Is Art…You Are The Canvas!” theme was a wonderful, mammoth curved screen.

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Kicking things off was D’Andra, who told how this event was her dream come true. It has been rewarding and humbling. Recognizing Honorary Co-Chairs Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne, D’Andra told how she and Elisa’s and Heather’s mother Vicki Howland had “prayed together many times” on whether the girls should be part of the fundraiser. It must have worked, because the Al G. Hill Jr. family (BTW, their dad is Al G. Hill Jr.) and the family business — Highland Park Village — served as presenting sponsor. It was a first for the event to have a presenting sponsor.

Kathie then introduced SAWA Founder Margot Perot to present the Margot Perot Award to Ramona Jones. From serving as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of The Salvation Army in 2003 to making and taking food to the Carr P. Collins Center every Thursday for the past 15 years, Ramona has exemplified the purpose of the Margot Perot Award.  

Margot Perot, Ramona Jones and Kathie King

D’Andra then returned to the podium to introduce a video testimony revealing that she had been a victim of domestic abuse with her husband, Jeremy Lock, at her side. While obviously heartrending and sincere, some in the audience wondered who the perpetrator of D’Andra’s suffering was. But the reason for her admission was to support the Salvation Army’s work with such victims.

Following the video, Major Barbara alluded to the fact that the Salvation Army would soon be announcing more news about its domestic violence efforts and how the Army continues its efforts to help those in need.

Simone Garman

With that, cellist Simone Garman performed “Pray,” while a beautiful photomontage by Jeremy of Army clients was displayed on the curved screen behind her. Barbara returned to the podium to thank D’Andra, Jeremy, Kathie and her husband Randy King, Joyann and all involved.

It was a nice transition from Jeremy’s and Simon’s presentation to Joyann’s sharing tidbits about the upcoming fashion season.

  • Think pink
  • Bright, modern floral designs
  • Blue jeans combined with other non-traditional pieces
  • Light, frothy white dress
  • A brand new bag
  • Stripes
  • Blushes on eyes and cheeks and striking blue eye shadow

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show finale

It was then time for the fashion show of gently used clothes that had been adapted for today’s hottest looks courtesy of Strimple’s direction, followed by lunch in the lobby giving organizers enough time to bid on ‘em before the silent auction ended at 2 p.m.

Check out the countless fashions that were on the runway and on their way to new owners at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Mission Ole Letter Signing Wasn’t At Your Same Old Dinner Table

Ann Schooler

When volunteers are called together to sign letters with information about upcoming fundraisers, they usually find themselves gathered around a dining room in a home located along a tree-lined street. But when residential tastemaker extraordinaire Ann Kellogg Schooler is involved, one can expect a pretty darn remarkable table and setting. And, boy, did she prove just that point for the 18th Mission Ole letter signing.

It seems that she decided to do some “redecorating” at her 35,000-square-foot warehouse in the Design District. That’s where she had stashed incredible pieces of furnishings and art from her trips to Europe and around the world for her clients. But, it was more than just prettying up the place. She had transformed the storehouse into Wolf Hall Antique Collective, a 10,000-square-foot showroom of drool-able treasures available for the world to eyeball and purchase. For an added touch, she had London antiques dealer Timothy Langston and Austin-based botanist Lauren Lachance set up shop.

As Ann told PaperCity‘s Rebecca Sherman, “I love things that come with ghosts of the past.”

Cindy Turner

Margaret Spellings

So, it was only natural that Ann had her Mission Ole Co-Chair Margaret Spellings along with former Chair/Advisor Cindy Turner, Auction Chair Heather Randall and Trinity River Mission’s Michelle Mora-Lopez  over to Wolf Hall to put pens to paper for the Saturday, October 28th fundraiser for Trinity River Mission.

Heather Randall and Michelle Mora-Lopez

Mission Ole 2016 (file photo)

Due to the overwhelming success of last year’s event, they’re crossing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to West Dallas’ Chicken Scratch and The Foundry with its outdoor fire pits and signature margaritas and cocktails. Plans call for sparkling lights, a live band, mariachis, ballet folklorico dancer and faces that have to be seen to be believed!

This is strictly an event requiring absolutely no ties and stilettos. Just make sure that you get your place reserved and your GPS set, because it’s a fun night that definitely proves West Dallas is alive and well and Trinity River Mission is one to support even if your letter hasn’t arrived yet. Tickets are available now!

Funds raised from the event will support Trinity River Mission’s programs “to promote literacy, encourage academic success and develop effective life skills among disadvantaged youth in West Dallas, in the belief that education connects us to life’s possibilities.”

Tia And Shel Wynne To Co-Chair North Texas Food Bank’s 2017 Harvest Fundraiser

Harvest*

Tia and Shel Wynne (File photo)

Fresh from co-chairing last month’s TACA’s Party On The Green, Tia Wynne is back fundraising. This time the former Cattle Baron’s co-chair is partnering up with her husband/Wynne Transportation VP Shel Wynne for the North Texas Food Bank’s 2017 Harvest.

Plans called for the foodies to gather at The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market on Friday, September 15, for “an array of Farm-to-Table restaurants, entertainment and a silent auction.” The Wynnes have already lined up Energy Transfer Partners to be the presenting sponsor.

Thanks to the previous three Harvests, the NTFB has reaped $790,372 and provided 2.3M meals for its child and senior programs.

Underwriting opportunities are available now by contacting Lora Farris.

Not Even A Rainy-Day Delay Could Put The Whoa For The Equesters Galloping Ahead From Their “Field Of Dreams” Gala

One thing is for sure. Those horse-loving Equest folks are flexible. When radar showed threatening weather storming into North Texas for Saturday, April 29th’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park, cool minds ruled, coordinated with vendors, sponsors, guests and the ponies and moved the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the next day. Here’s a report from the “field of dreams:”

Kelly Howard, Blair Dwyer and Elizabeth Schwartz*

Ray Johnston*

The Equest Gala, themed “A Field of Dreams,” was truly an inspirational evening of hope, determination and joy. With Saturday’s forecast of severe storms, a difficult decision was made to reschedule the gala to Sunday, and the Equest team, Gala committee, and event planner Katy Sky Group produced the unthinkable: a beautiful fundraising gala for 450 guests complete with all the bells and whistles. The 36th annual Equest Gala was another example of Equest’s can-do spirit.

Jocelyn White and Jody Dean*

Finely dressed in their equestrian best, guests perused the magnificently decorated Equest barns and arena at Texas Horse Park. Ray Johnston performed an acoustic set during the reception – providing the perfect soundtrack to the blue skies and cool temperature. Sipping on signature “Field of Dreams” margaritas and sampling the Bourbon and Biscuits Bar, guests cozied up with the lipstick-wearing Equest Mini-Ambassadors Cisco and Dare at the Mini Kissing Booth. Just as festive was the Tequila with Taco station where delighted guests enjoyed Milagro tequila and a photo with Equest’s famous donkey, Taco.  One of the best parts of the night was seeing the proud smiles worn by the Equest riders during Horse and Rider demonstrations.

Andy Steingasser*

Guests enjoyed a family-style southern gourmet dinner from Farm to Market Catering, while Emcees Jocelyn White of Designing Texas and Jody Dean of KLUV 98.7 FM introduced Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, and Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder, among others.

Kathy Fielder, Bella Fielder and Jeromy Fielder*

Cary Pierce*

A compelling video touched charitable hearts before the start of the live auction. Over $50,000 was raised during the fund-a-mission and five Equest therapy horses were sponsored by generous donors. Other guests bid on stellar live auction items including a four-night vacation in Breckenridge, a Napa Valley Getaway, a live painting by Dace Lucia Kidd, and a Belize Dream at the Las Terrazas Resort. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items, and purchase a key for $100 that the lucky winner could use to unlock a $2,500 Neiman Marcus gift card.

An equestrian chic gala – especially one located in a barn – would not be considered a success without two-stepping. Dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio opened the dance floor, quickly followed by guests’ cowboy boots shuffling to the musical lead of Cary Pierce, and surprise musical guests Crystal Yates and Jon Christopher Davis.

Phyllis Comu and Susan Schwartz*

Darin and Margot Ruebel*

Additional attendees included: Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz, Bill and Lezlie Noble, Monique and Reed Williams, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Phyllis Glazer, Bridget and Tom Black, Jessica and Michael Barnett, Ricky Callahan and Jennie Healy, Connie Sigel, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Patrick and Kristy Sands, Carolyn and Romy Anderson, and Alanna Smith of WFAA Good Morning Texas, among others.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

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.

JUST IN: The Inaugural Jade Ball To Benefit The Crow Collection Of Asian Art With Robert Weatherly Chairing And Lynn McBee As Honorary Chair

There’s the Fur Ball, the Eye Ball and now there’s the Jade Ball. It was just announced that on Saturday, October 7, the Inaugural Jade Ball Gala will take place benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Robert Weatherly (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Gala Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee revealed that a black-tie, three-course dinner will take place at Belo Mansion for 400 complete with a grand entrance, signature cocktail, entertainment, networking and a live auction.

With summer vacation just kicking off, it’s a perfect time to check out the 19-year-old museum “dedicated solely to the arts of Asia, with rotating galleries exhibiting the arts of Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam.”

Oh, about the price of admission? In addition to having air conditioning to cool off the summer heat, it’s free admission thanks to its founders the late Margaret and Trammell Crow.