Dallas Zoo Residents Are Ready For A Herd Of Visitors For Thursday’s Dollar Day! Special

The Dallas Zoo folks snuck up on a lot of folks. Instead of waiting until August scorches the area, they’re holding the infamous Dollar Day! this Thursday. That’s a $14 saving for adults and a $11 saving for youths and seniors.

Not only is admission going to be a dollar, but the following will be available for a buck each:

  • selected snack items (canned drinks, water, hot dogs and chips)
  • nectar to feed the lorikeets
  • bird food at the Travis and Zach’s Birds Landing

Giraffe (File photo)

And if you want to splurge and look like a big spender, here are some other bargains for this one-day-only special:

  • $2 T-Rex Express mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings (and, yes, the giraffes do have long black tongues)

Since parking is going to be $8 and traffic is expected to be limited, try out the DART Red Line.

Hippopotamus (File photo)

BTW, prepare yourself for the Simmons Hippo Outpost. These two are more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

BTW, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and cameras.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: 2017 Parade Of Playhouses

According to Dallas CASA Board Chair John Gibson,

John Gibson*

Looking for a cool way to run off some of your children’s energy while also helping a good cause? Grab your kids and head to Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses July 7 through 23 at NorthPark Center.

With 14 perfectly pint-sized playhouses decorating the halls of NorthPark, Parade of Playhouses is the perfect way to let your kids’ imaginations go wild while also learning about children in our community who need help.

For 22 years, NorthPark Center has played host to the playhouses, which are donated by local builders, designers and corporations and available to win through raffle at the end of the 17-day event. What child doesn’t want to imagine his or her own miniature house? This year’s designs include a house in the image of an owl, an activity house with a climbing wall and even a house shaped like a cuckoo clock. House designers and builders pour skill, creativity and love into these unusual creations.

The event benefits Dallas CASA, a nonprofit that provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children navigating the child welfare system. Walking the corridors and viewing the playhouses is a great way to start a conversation with your own kids about those in our community who are less fortunate. Children in the child welfare system don’t dare dream of a playhouse with all the bells and whistles. They dream of safe and permanent homes where they are loved.

2017 Parade of Playhouses*

Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses is open until Sunday, July 23, during NorthPark’s hours. Viewing the playhouses is free and raffle tickets to win a playhouses are available for $5 each or five for $20.

All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales help Dallas CASA provide more children with advocates to serve them. For Dallas CASA, Parade of Playhouses has also become a key recruiting and community awareness event. Tables throughout NorthPark are staffed with volunteer advocates and other supporters who can tell you about becoming a volunteer advocate for abused children.

In fact, Parade of Playhouses might be the beginning of something for you to do after summer, too. A training class for volunteer advocates begins Sept. 6, right after the kids go back to school. The first step to becoming a volunteer advocate is attending an information session.

Maybe it’s your turn to dream not about a tiny house but about helping make the world a better place one child at a time.

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Frontiers Of Flight Museum

According to Frontiers of Flight Museum’s Carla Meadows,

Looking for the coolest destination to beat the heat this summer?  Visit the Frontiers of Flight Museum.  You’ll experience the stories of aviation and space flight from the Wright Flight to the one-of-a-kind “Flying Pancake;” the Apollo VII spacecraft, 13 historical galleries, and over 35,000 artifacts; the Living History program and our acclaimed STEM education program. The Frontiers of Flight Museum is the perfect place to explore the history and progress of aviation, as mankind continues to pursue going higher, faster and farther.  

Frontiers Of Flight Museum*

Featured summer events at the Frontiers of Flight Museum:

The Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave., is conveniently located just north of downtown on Lemmon Avenue at the southeast side of Dallas Love Field Airport, north of Mockingbird Lane. Housed in a modern 100,000-square-foot facility, the Museum provides a focal point to explore the history and progress of aviation. Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Adults $10; Seniors (65+) $8; Youths/Students (3-17) $7 and children under 3 are free. For more information, visit www.flightmuseum.com

* Photo provided by Frontiers Of Flight Museum

22nd Annual Parade Of Playhouses Is Polished Up And Rocking At NorthPark Center For Dallas CASA

Craig Beneke

It was just a couple of weeks ago in June that af architecture and fabrication’s Craig Beneke got a shout out from one of his 21-year-old twin daughters. It wasn’t for a new car. It wasn’t for a loan. It was for a house. No, not a 2,000-square-foot bungalow in the M Street hood. It was for a playhouse. She wasn’t reverting back to her childhood. Rather, she was hoping that her dad could provide a playhouse for Dallas CASA’s 22nd Annual Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark.

It seems one of the originally signed-up builders had bailed, and there was a need to fill a spot for the annual Dallas CASA fundraiser that would run from Saturday, July 8 through Sunday, July 23.

Playhouse Rock cowbell on a construction work belt

Playhouse Rock sound tubes

Playhouse Rock floor

Not only did Papa Craig answer the call-to-deliver, but he literally hit the nail on the head.  His Playhouse Rock was a musical marvel that would please anyone from Jaap to Jay-Z with a mini-xylophone built into the floor complete with mallets for playing and an assortment of others goodies — rain stick, triangle, sound tubes, etc. There were personal touches, too. For instance, the front door’s cowbell is suspended by his construction work belt.

But being a perfectionist, Craig was eyeballing the hand prints left from the move-in on Thursday, July 6. He was going to do some touch-up, so his Playhouse Rock would be perfect.

Whimsical Cottage

A few playhouses away, Doug Beaty of Beach Sheet Metal was sharing Craig’s dilemma about prints. It seems that the Whimsical Cottage’s copper roof was a fingerprint magnet. Last year, he arrived daily to polish the roof, so it was spotless. He expected to do the same this year. When someone offered to post a sign dissuading people from touching, he scoffed at the idea. He relished the idea that little ones and their parents couldn’t resist touching the shiny roof.   

Cuckoohaus

Paw Rescue

The White Owl’s Den

But those are just two of the 11 playhouses on display. Some have rock walls; some are so cozy; some have interior lighting; some are open and breezy. But they all will be raffled off at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, in NorthPark’s North Court to support Dallas CASA’s mission “to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, helping these children gain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.” If you’re unable to check out the houses, you can still buy your raffle ticket here. They’re going for $5 each or five for $20.

Also, the builders are all vying to claim the title of “Favorite Playhouse.” You can vote by texting dallascasa to 41444. BTW, each vote costs $5.

Check out the Parade of Playhouses at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Museum Of Art

According to Dallas Museum of Art Director of Communications and Public Affairs Interim Director of Marketing Jill Bernstein,

Do you want to stay cool and cultured this summer? Then head to the Dallas Museum of Art at 1717 N. Harwood Street in the Dallas Arts District where you and the kiddos can discover 5,000 years of human creativity without getting a sunburn!

Dallas Museum of Art*

Since Tuesday, June 13, there’s been a new experience each day (well except Monday, because we are closed)! Make family connections and memories with works of art as you enjoy story time, guided tours, and drop-in art making. The best part of all, it’s free and fun for all ages from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.!  Art will come alive through hands on gallery activities, workshops, and so much more.

You can even explore the Museum at your own pace with the DMA app. Use the interactive map to locate specific works of art and dive in with themed tours!

Dallas Museum of Art*

This summer, travel around the globe without burning a hole in your pocket at the Dallas Museum of Art. Special exhibitions do require a ticket, unless you’re 11 and under, then those are free as well!

For more information visit www.DMA.org/summer-family-fun. 

* Photos provided by Dallas Museum of Art

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Zoo

According to Dallas Zoo intern Lauren Lombardo*,

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

Simmons Hippo Outpost*

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

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

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Klyde Warren Park

Tara Green*

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green,

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

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

 

  • Dallas Children’s Theater*

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

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

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

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

    Imagination Playground*

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: After-School All-Stars North Texas’ Rising Stars Luncheon

Jack Betts and Gina and Ken Betts

It was only After-School All-Stars North Texas’ second Rising Stars Luncheon. And like some newbies on the fundraising scene, it can be tough to draw a crowd or get the organization’s message across. But ASAS Advisory Board Chair Ben Lange drafted Gina Betts, whose reputation in local nonprofit circles is daunting. And she proved that her rep is well deserved on Wednesday, May 17.

Dak Prescott and Brad Sham

Joanna Hernandez

Ben Lange

Thanks to “connections,” Ben and Gina arranged to have Dallas Cowboys quarterback wunderkind Dak Prescott on stage for a chat with Dallas Cowboys voice Brad Sham before an SRO crowd including Mark Cuban and Charles Haley at the Dallas Country Club.

But it was ASAS teenager Joanna Hernandez who stole the show and Dak’s heart with her story.

While the post is being prepped, check out the photos  on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Heritage Village

Melissa Prycer*

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

If you have never visited Dallas Heritage Village, Old Fashioned Fourth is a perfect occasion to pack a picnic lunch and bring the family! In fact, for many North Texas families, this annual event has become a tradition. Not only can you enjoy all of the fun fourth activities, the Village’s historic buildings will be open for touring, and costumed interpreters will be on hand to visit about what life in North Texas from 1840 to 1910.  Dallas Heritage Village, one of only five nationally accredited museums in the Dallas area, showcases a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, a log cabin, a pre-Civil war home, an 1860’s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, schoolhouse and more. 

Dallas Heritage Village*

On this special holiday, families decked out in red, white, and blue, begin coming into the gates around 10 a.m. with picnic baskets, bikes, and little red wagons to spend the day making memories together. The event runs until 3 p.m. with the highlight being the patriotic parade at noon.

Dallas Heritage Village*

In this parade the kids are the stars! However, don’t tell our Mammoth Jack Donkeys that – each year they lead the parade and like to think it’s all about them. For many years Nip and Tuck have led the parade, but they have now relinquished that duty to the young newcomers – brothers Willie and Waylon. Nip and Tuck are OK with that, but they hope you will stop by and take your patriotic pictures with them so they won’t feel left out!  And don’t forget to say hi to the sheep. They tend to get their feelings hurt with all the fuss over those donkeys.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Before marching in the parade, come by the craft station and decorate your bikes, wagons, and even yourself with patriotic items we will provide at no cost. Our Dallas Junior Historians will be hosting the annual carnival again this year, and we encourage you to bring a little extra change to participate – 25 cents for each game or 5 games for a dollar. Games include our famous stick pony race for ages 3-11, “go fishing” for prizes, and bean bag toss. And it wouldn’t be Old Fashioned Fourth without checkers games (stations will be set up to play), horseshoes and graces, as well as a July 4th craft – painting fireworks with cardboard tubes and making Uncle Sam with Popsicle sticks! This year’s guests will also be able to get sneak peek at our exciting new early childhood learning space, which will have a grand opening in September.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Dallas Heritage Village is located in the heart of the booming Cedars area at 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, 75215, near urban living and restaurants and the popular Dallas Farmer’s Market complex. Admission for Old Fashioned Fourth is $5 for ages 13 and older. Those 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  Visit dallasheritagevillage.org or call 214.421.5141 for more information! We look forward to seeing you soon!

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

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

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

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

Here are highlights, and more information is listed below.

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

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

Cojoined, Victor Matafi*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Performances: Varies

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Dallas Arboretum

MySweetCharity To Launch Mini-Series — “Summer Pitch”

MySweetCharity

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

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

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

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Taste Of The Cowboys

With the sun shining bright overhead, The Star was filled to the brim with food and football lovers like former Dallas Cowboy Preston Pearson and current Dallas Cowboy Travis Frederick on Sunday, May 7 for the Taste Of The Cowboys benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Preston Pearson and Larry James

Travis Frederick

While the stations surrounding the field served up everything from from Chef Chris Memme‘s tuna tostadas to Dunia Borgia‘s empanadas, Reckless Kelly was on stage.

Chris Memme

Dunia Borgia

The post is almost complete. But the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery is already served up!

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

JUST IN: Annual Downtown Holiday Parade Is Looking For A New Host

UPDATE: The Adolphus Hotel that was one of the original sponsors of the mega-holiday festivities has signed up for the 2017 parade. Don’t you just know that Santa will have plush digs the night before.

The annual parade that marches through downtown Dallas in early December has had some “adjustments.” In recent year’s Children’s Health has hosted the parade. Out of the past five years, it’s had to be canceled twice (2013 and 2016) due to inclement weather. Describing it as “inclement” is like saying the summer is North Texas is warmish.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade (File photo)

It was just announced that Children’s Health would not be the official host of the event. According to Children’s Health spokesperson Scott Summerall, “After hosting the parade for nearly three decades, we have decided to move forward with other new and meaningful ways to bring cheer to families in our community this holiday season. We are considering ways to celebrate and honor the parade’s history in its 30th year, but are still ironing out details of a potential event. We will continue hosting the other treasured holiday events across our system, including the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at our Dallas and Plano campuses, Breakfast with Santa with the Women’s Auxiliary, and our Holiday Patient Party for families in the hospital. These events are beloved by our patients, families and team members, and are an important component of fulfilling our mission to make life better for children.”

But don’t go thinking that the parade is a goner. According to a report on WFAA at noon, THE Dance Director Jeffrey Giles and former Parade Director Cassie Collins “have filed a permit with the City of Dallas to host the parade, and will be reaching out to sponsors soon.”

BTW, over the years the parade has had such corporations as Southwest Airlines, Neiman Marcus and the Adolphus Hotel provide major support.

JUST IN: Details Revealed About Upcoming 2017 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center For Dallas CASA

Who says that summer is the “quiet time” for North Texas fundraisers? Even before schools are out, Dallas CASA is already staking claim for more than two weeks of its annual Parade of Playhouses. The annual favorite fundraiser that transforms NorthPark Center into a showcase of mini-cottages is scheduled to officially be on site starting Friday, July 7.

Parade Of Playhouses*

Built and donated by local designers, architects and builders, the 16 pint-size palaces include an Australian airline-themed house, a Rubik’s cube and a space-theme house.

This year’s collection includes houses from the international playhouse design by Nicollo Abe of Ontario, Canada; Riaan Kotze of Massachusetts, USA; Christiaan Luijk  of Cape Town, South Africa; and Amrita Raja and Katharine Storr of London, United Kingdom.

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, ““The creativity, imagination and ingenuity that these playhouse builders and designers brings is simply astounding. The vulnerable children we serve need safe homes where they can heal from their physical and emotional injuries and begin dreaming of a future they could not dare to think about. We hope every builder, designer and organization donating a playhouse knows they are helping an abused child begin to build a new dream for themselves.”

On Sunday, July 23, the mini-mansions will be raffled off. Interested? Raffle tickets are going for $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at event ticket tables or online during the 17-day run.

Jim Thompson (File photo)

Thanks to the following people and organizations, who are aiding Dallas CASA’s goal of providing all abused children with a Dallas CASA volunteer to help them through the child welfare system:

  • Honorary Chair — Jim Thompson
  • Parade Host — NorthPark Center
  • Castle — Jim Thompson
    Estate — SketchUp
  • Mansion — Kappa Alpha Theta Dallas Alumni Chapter, Newton Thomas with Summit Funding Inc. and Pirch
  • Villa — Bernbaum/Magadini Architects and Jackson Walker LLP
  • Playhouse Architects and Builders — Austin Commercial, Beck Architecture LCC, Bob Borson, BufordHawthorne Homebuilders, Butscher Construction, Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, Domiteaux and Baggett Architects, FP Construction, Guardian Exteriors Inc., Jay W. Grishby Jr., Harman, Holder Construction Company, LRO Residential, Omniplan Inc., Perk Homes, Redlee/SCS, Robert Hopson Construction Group, Schwob Building Company LTD., University of Oklahoma – College of Architecture and William P. Manning Company Inc.

The 22nd annual parade is the absolutely perfect event because it’s free for the viewing, inside the air-conditioned center and helps Dallas CASA “continue its growth trajectory to serve all children in need.”

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

JUST IN: 2017 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala Net A Cool $800K

Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is all smiles after getting word from her bean counters. It seems after adding up all the income from sponsorships, tickets, raffles, auctions and “stuff,” and then subtracting all the expenses, Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala Chair Pamela Moayedi‘s efforts raised $1M and cleared a cool $800K to help North Texas children battling cancer.

Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Jennifer Arthur and Dak Prescott*

The fashion show/dinner took place on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and local celebrities like Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett and Miss Texas Caroline Carothers on the runway with kids who have been battling cancer.

* Photo provided by Children's Cancer Fund

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Is Prepared For Weather Questions About Saturday Morning’s Red Balloon Run And Ride

Wouldn’t you just know that the weather-guessers have been as fickle as Scarlett O’Hara filling out her dance card. Some are saying that tomorrow morning is going to be wet, windy and wild. Others are swearing that it will hit tonight and Saturday morning will be as dry and crisp as a nice bottle of Pinot Blanc.

Red Balloon Run And Ride*

Luckily, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Red Balloon Run And Ride organizers are on top of developments. Yes, they’re in negotiations with Mother Nature, but they’re also prepared to communicate any changes.

According to the Foundation’s Heidi Cannella, “We will provide updates (any delays, cancellations, etc.) from now through tomorrow. Our primary concern is safety.” Those updates will be available at www.childrens.com/runandride.

Red Balloon’s corporate sponsor WFAA will also be providing information about the weather conditions and how they’ll be affecting the annual fundraiser.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

2017 Junior Cattle Barons Ball Celebrants Created Pillow Artwork Before Attending Disney On Ice At American Airlines Center

As the princesses and princes lined up at American Airlines Center for the Disney on Ice performance on Sunday, March 19, there was a VIP gathering already underway at AAC’s Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Club for the ultimate royals. They were the kids from Children’s Health and Children’s Medical Center who had locked horns with the ultimate dragon — cancer.

But they weren’t just there to see the show and get on a sugar high with jelly beans, M&Ms and malt balls as part of the Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball. They were put to work, but it was fun work.  Immediately upon arrival, they picked up the pillow cases provided by Luke’s Fastbreak and were directed to tables to decorate ‘em.

Finished pillow case

Hello? Pillow cases? Instead of past years, when the kiddos got their faces temporarily painted, they got to decorate the pillows for keeps. After all, who wants to sleep on a ho-hum pillow? It was a brilliant addition to the annual pre-show extravaganza at the center. The children and their siblings didn’t hesitate to start decorating. Why, shoot! Some of them were dreamy works with art/heart that couldn’t help but create sweet dreams.

Caroline Corrigan, Rosemary LeBlanc and Sarah Munir

Anne Stodghill and Dash Stodghill

Behind the tables were junior hostesses Caroline Corrigan, Rosemary LeBlanc and Sarah Munir. Despite her tan line, Rosemary reported that she had stayed home for spring break.

CBB Co-Chair Anne Stodghill accompanied by her tousle-hair son Dash Stodghill told how their stay in New Mexico had been spent counting out-of-town license plants for Dash’s third-grade project.

The Williams clan: (from the left) Whitney, Jamie and Craig, Graham, Georgia, Andrew, Derrin, Lanier, Mary and Kate

Merrick Huckin, Debbie Munir, Catherine Jaynes, Juliana LeBlanc and Mary C. Corrigan

Just as the doors opened for the afternoon fun on ice, Moody Foundation Human Resources  Director Jamie Williams arrived with her Williams family (Whitney, Craig, Graham, Georgia, Andrew, Derrin, Lanier, Mary and Kate) in tow. It was thanks to The Moody Foundation that the event took place and also thanks to coordination by CBB-ers Merrick Huckin, Debbie Munir, Catherine Jaynes, Juliana LeBlanc and Mary C. Corrigan.

Last Call To See The 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition At The Dallas Museum Of Art

Sometimes “putting off” isn’t such a bad thing. An example of that is visiting the 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art during its final days. This year’s exhibition ends this Sunday. Yup, that’s Easter Sunday. The good news is that a lot of folks and kids have Friday off, so they can check out the 65 original pieces of art that won the hearts of a panel of art and music professionals.

17 Young Masters graphic works*

Displayed along the Concourse, the exhibition includes 54 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of art created by AP Studio Art students, five essays analyzing works of art in the DMA’s permanent collections by AP Art History students, and six 4-minute original compositions by AP Music Theory students.

Tiffany Sims of Grapevine High School*

Ryan Irwin of Lovejoy High School**

These were the so-called pick of the litter of 896 works submitted by 10 Dallas-area high schools (Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Colleyville Heritage High School, Coppell High School, Creekview High School, Grapevine High School, Lovejoy High School, Plano East Senior High School, Plano Senior High School, Plano West Senior High School, and Richardson High School) participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program.

Adhithi Baskar of Coppell High School**

Daniel Che, Kevin Bai and Gahwon Lee of Plano West High School**

According to Program Founder Edith O’Donnell, “The Young Masters Exhibition recognizes outstanding intellectual and creative expression in students participating in our AP Arts Incentive Program.  In its nineteenth year, the students’ work featured in the exhibition continues to inspire. The talented students who participate in our program and complete rigorous AP arts and music coursework build essential skills to ensure their success in the 21st century global economy, including stimulating innovation, cultivating critical thinking and developing a greater understanding of diverse cultures. I continue to be very proud of their accomplishments.”

 

Lyle Kradolfer, Carol Kradolfer, Edith and Peter O’Donnell and Ruth Mutch**

But wait! Here’s an idea. The DMA will be open Sunday, which is also the ultimate, very last day of the display. So, after hunting down those Easter eggs, going to church services, munching at brunch or whatever, why not check out the “young masters’” artwork.

And while you’re there, see the “Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orzco and the Avant-Garde.” Thanks to The M.O.B Family Foundation, admission to the exhibition will be free. But it’s available on a first-come, first served basis. FYI: The DMA opens at 11 a.m.

* Photo credit provided by AP Strategies 
** Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Free Simulcast Of The Dallas Opera’s “Madame Butterfly” At The Star Saturday Night Thanks To The Dallas Foundation

How about a freebie Saturday night that’s a bit off the beaten track? The Dallas Opera’s Saturday evening performance of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” at the Winspear will be simulcast free at The Star in Frisco. You know you’ve been curious about the Cowboys new digs and the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 70s.

Hui He*

While the performance starring soprano Hui He and tenor Gianluca Terranova will start at 7:30 p.m., the evening’s program at The Star will begin at 6 p.m. with KLUV’s Jody Dean and The Dallas Opera’s Education program Senior Manager Kristian Roberts.

And the timing is perfect! Just when you’ve totally run out of things to do with the kids during spring break, there will be such pre-performance activities as the Family Fun Zone from 5 to 7 p.m., trivia, behind-the-scenes interviews and a WB Classics presentation of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in “What’s Opera, Doc?

While online registration are already at capacity-load status, walk-ups will be welcomed.

Thank-you notes should be sent to The Dallas Foundation. Why? Because the Foundation is sponsoring the simulcast.

According to The Dallas Foundation President/CEO Mary Jalonick, “The Dallas Foundation has been proud to serve as the Founding Sponsor of The Dallas Opera’s simulcasts at AT&T Stadium since 2012, helping to provide families throughout our community the chance to experience world-class opera in this unique and relaxed setting. This year’s simulcast performance at The Star in Frisco, will offer audiences an opportunity to enjoy one of the most well-known operas in one of our area’s newest event venues.”

BTW, you might want to bring along some hankies for Un Bel Di Vedremo.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond

JUST IN: Friday’s18th Annual Empty Bowls Will Be Totally Indoors At The Meyerson

Just heard from the North Texas Food Bank team and “due to anticipated inclement weather conditions,” they’ve already kicked into back-up mode for the 18th Annual Empty Bowls food fest on Friday at the Meyerson. That means everything is gonna be indoors!

18th Annual Empty Bowls*

All the restaurants (Aisan Mint, Blue Bell Creameries, Blue Mesa Grill, Carso Mediterranean Grill, Celebration Restaurant, Dining at the Meyerson, Empire Baking Co., Kroger, Low Country Quisine, McAlister’s Deli, Meso Maya, Mozzarella Company, Norma’s Cafe, Paradise Bakery and Cafe, Royal Cup Coffee, Shake Shack, Snappy Salads, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Tejano Brothers, Tortaco, True Food Kitchen and Urban Crust) will be high and dry inside the Meyerson serving up all type of goodies.

Bowls for sale (File photo)

And then there are the bowls that will be auctioned off and for sale.

Since parking is going to limited, why not buddy together for Uber?

* Graphic courtesy of 
North Texas Food 
Bank

The 2017 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Swans Flawlessly And Touchingly Bowed At The Meyerson

Oh, those Californians! Each year they have those itty-bitty Cliff Swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19th. As remarkable as that may seem to the West Coasters, the arrival of the swans to the Meyerson is truly memory-making each year.

On Saturday, February 18, 35 glorious white swans (aka Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation debutantes) provided perfectly executed deep bows in support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

And thanks to blonde DSOL President Sandy Secor, red-haired Ball Chair Jolie Humphrey and her committee (Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Ginger Sager, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk) these swans had credentials that would have sent the California birds into a spiral diver. But more deb name dropping later.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Before the presentation in the McDermott Concert Hall, photographer James French mounted a sky-high ladder to memorialize the debs and the Honor Guard escorts on the steps leading to the concert hall. “Is that everybody? Who’s missing? 35? I need the Honor Guards,” shouted James, as assistants counted heads and straightened hems. Various setups were needed: first, the debs, then the debs with Honor Guard escorts and then one with Jolie in the center. After the final group shot was taken, the debs and escorts joined their families for cellphone photos.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

Downstairs, the cocktail reception was underway in the lower reception area. While black- and white-tie seemed the majority rule, red was also highlighting the area, thanks to Sara Lee Gardner, Wendy Kumpf, Elizabeth Magee, Catherine Lane, Libby Bender and Rachel Faust.

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

Ashley McGaw, Brindley Mize, Rachael Levy, Sarah Ransan, Arlin Dawson, Peyton Dean, Caroline LeCrone and Carling Crawford

and gal pal friends of the other debs held their own in an array of colors and necklines.

And speaking of those tricky décolletages, some of the ingénues in bare-shouldered gowns were seen having to hitch up downward-bound tops. While the usual glittery purses and stilettos accessorized the looks of the evening, one or two gals downgraded their aura by chomping on gum.

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

And if anyone was expecting drama, they were sorely disappointed. For instance, deb Gracie Beal’s folks, who had been divorced for ages, were front and center with their significant others — mama Simona Beal with Ryan Green and papa Andy Beal with his fiancée Olya Sinitsyna, who revealed that their baby boy was due on May 18… Terry Bentley Hill was on hand to support her god-daughter Abby Loncar and her mom Sue Loncar… One Honor Guard parent was Brad Cheves, who was attending his first DSOL Presentation Ball for his son, Kyle Cheves… Also attending their first DSOL Presentation Ball were Gina and Ken Betts for deb Molly NelsonMarsha Cameron and her husband Michael Halloran were returning for the presentation ball for their son Bryce Halloran, who would be escorting deb Marina Frattaroli. It was just two years ago that their daughter Alix Halloran was a deb… Among the grandparents in the crowd were William Richardson for deb Heather Hall, Gene and Jerry Jones for deb Caroline Jones and Honor Guard escort Shy Anderson Jr. and Barbara and John Stuart for grandson John Macatee… At least two sets of parents were providing both debs and escorts. In addition to daughter Catherine Kumpf making her debut, Wendy and Rick Kumpf’s son Henry Kumpf was a member of the Honor Guard… And then there were Ana and Jim Yoder. Not only was daughter Maria Yoder bowing, but her escorts were her brothers/Honor Guard members James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder.   

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

Kersten Rettig, whose daughter McKenna Cook was one of the debs, admitted, “I’m a little teary, in a good way. I never thought McKenna would do it. Jolie asked me a year ago if McKenna wanted to be a deb. But, the parents and girls have really connected! This is Dallas. This is tradition. This is for the arts. The pageant is 100 times better than I thought it would be!”  

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

On cue, the Meyerson chimes called the guests to their seats in the concert hall. Before the first deb stepped on stage, introductions of those who had made the event possible were made including Sandy, Jolie, her committee and the Assembly and the Honor Guard officers. Then emcee Stan Gardner asked the audience to show proper respect for the occasion. In other words, this wasn’t a dang pep rally.

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

With families seated near the stage and friends filling the rest of the floor, the Orchestra Tier and Loge, the presentation got underway. Upon her name being announced and her selected song being played, each deb appeared at the head of the stairs and was joined by her father or male family member. The couple then walked down the steps to center stage, where the gentleman kissed the deb on the cheek and took his place to her right. Then the deb made her formal bow, as her escort(s) stood to her left. On cue as she lifted her head looking at the escort(s), the lead escort walked over and offered his hand to help her rise. After a photo or two was taken by French’s team, the couple/trio walked to the stairs leading from the stage to the floor for a couple of more photos.

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

Perhaps the memory maker of the night was the presentation of Abby Loncar on the arm of her brother Patrick Long. Despite the Loncar family’s recent losses, it was obvious from the response of the entire audience that the community was truly rallying around Abby.

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

After the final deb Maria Yoder and her brothers/escorts (James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder) left the stage, the entire stage was filled with the 2017 debutantes and their Honor Guard escorts, to a standing ovation.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Stan then asked the guests to stay in place as Don Averitt and Mark Averitt directed the deb mothers, who had been seated on the aisles, to the lobby’s dance floor. The fathers, who had been seated in rows along the Orchestra Terrace, also departed to join their wives.

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

As anxious parents waited for their daughters to arrive at the dance floor, the rest of the guests filled the overhead balcony and lobby to see the first dances. Thanks to coordinators who served as traffic cops, a walkway through the crowd was created to allow the escorts to bring the debs to the floor.

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

Once there, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their smiling parents. The debs looked so very relieved to have the bow over with, and the fathers looked a bit apprehensive about the next part of the evening — the first dance of the night. But the dads and debs had nothing to fear. Despite the crowded dance floor with the white billowing gowns, it was rather dreamy. Then the conditions got even more jammed with the escorts and mothers joining the debs and dads for a Glenn Miller tune, thanks to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.  

Dancing debs and dads

While some continued to fill the dance floor, others headed to their tables for a salad (medley of baby greens, purple beets, goat cheese, walnuts and herbal vinaigrette dressing), entrée (grilled herb crusted beef filet with sherry reduction sauce, seasoned-roasted potatoes, tri-color carrots and steamed asparagus) and dessert (raspberry mousse tart and white and dark chocolate tower Swiss roll).

For more photos of bowing, dancing and beautiful peeps, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball blends youth with tradition for the benefit of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, February 18, 35 young women in white ball gowns made their debuts to the approval of their families and the cheers of their friends at the Meyerson.

Stephen Jones and Caroline Jones

Of course, it helped to have loads of Honor Guard chaps in white tie and tails to escort them from the stage and on to the dance floor in the lobby.

Dancing debs and dads

While the post is being prepared, check out the 60+ pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.