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.

JUST IN: Dean Foods Foundation Is Serving Up Some Delicious Treats For North Texas Food Bank And The Wilkinson Center Wednesday

With the annual DFW Restaurant Week benefiting the North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home just a few weeks away, the NTFB is getting an early treat.  Dean Foods Foundation is presenting a check for $125,000 Wednesday morning to NTFB.

North Texas Food Bank*

The hand-off will take place at The Wilkinson Center, which is part of the Christmas in July celebration. In addition to the check, Oak Farms will “be donating 325 half-gallons of their DairyPure® brand milk and will be distributing it to the clients served at The Wilkinson Center during a morning volunteer shift.”

Don’t you just know that NTFB newbie CEO Trisha Cunningham, whose first day was Monday, is gonna think this happens every day. One only wishes!

* Graphic courtesy of  North Texas Food Bank

MySweetCharity Opportunity: A Tasteful Place Gala

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

Barbara Bigham (File photo)

Robin Carreker (File photo)

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

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

A Tasteful Place*

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

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Arboretum

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

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

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

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

Rendering of Jan’s Garden*

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

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

* Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

JUST IN: 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: Trisha Cunningham Named North Texas Food Bank President/CEO

Incoming North Texas Food Bank Board of Directors Chair Anurag Jain just announced that Trisha Cunningham has been named president/CEO of North Texas Food Bank.

Trisha Cunningham*

The former Texas Instruments Chief Citizenship Officer will oversee the “a group of 200 NTFB employees in their work to provide access to healthy foods for food insecure individuals across NTFB’s 13-county service area.”

During her tenure at TI, the company “climbed up CR Magazine’s Top 100 Corporate Citizens annual rankings, coming in at number 15 on the list in 2017.”

This new role is not Trisha’s first involvement in the non-profit sector. She has served in leadership positions for Leadership Women (national), Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, VolunteerNow (Volunteer Center of North Texas), Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Friday Group, Dallas Breakfast Group, DFW Corporate Citizenship Network, Junior League of Dallas, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Advisory Board – Alliance for Greater Works, Leadership Dallas, Leadership Texas, Leadership International and International Women’s Forum Fellows Program.

According to Anurag, “We are confident that Trisha’s unique experiences and passion for strengthening the communities she is a part of make her the right leader to take the helm at NTFB.”

Trisha will be in the office officially on Monday, July 17. Instead of sending her flowers, why not make a donation to the NTFB in her name?

* Photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

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!

Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

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!

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

Sunie Solomon, David Weinreb and Anne Stodghill*

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

David Weinreb estate*

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

Annika Cail, Samantha Wortley and Megan Flanagan*

Isabell Novakov and Jamie Jo Boulogne*

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

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

Brian and Cammie Heflin and Danielle and Brent Raindl*

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

Katy Bock and Jonika Nix*

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

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

* Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

 

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

Co-Chairs Ann And Lee Hobson’s Art Ball “Glittered” With Fashions, Faces, A Fabulous Record-Breaking Live Auction And A Net Of $1.3M+

With the departure of Dallas Museum of Art Eugene McDermott Director Max Anderson in September 2015, fundraising at the DMA shifted direction. As adorable as the Downton Artsy and Art Ball Funk video takeoffs were in years past, the DMA’s Art Ball  leadership was keeping expenses as tight as a third face lift without losing the artistic panache of activities.

Lee and Ann Hobson

To get the mission accomplished for this year’s big black-tie fundraiser, Ann and Lee Hobson were called on to co-chair the 2017 Art Ball on Saturday, April 22. Inspired by their love for romantic France, the Hobsons announced the evening’s theme would be “All That Glitters.” It turned out to be the perfect canvas for guests to display beautiful fashions ranging from simple elegance and old-time showstoppers to wearable art.

But could the blonde twosome pull off a luxurious evening of dining, dancing and dough raising without going in the red? On paper they hit a home run, scoring a net of $1,330,138. On the scene, it was a grand slam.

Still, there had been a little anxiety due to the weather. The night before, a cold front had rain in the area that would have been a frown-maker in years past for the tented affair, due to the Mark di Suvero sculpture requiring a hole in the top. No matter how careful the construction of the tent, there was just no way to totally enclose the opening. One year, guests complained that raindrops had found their way to their table underneath the sculpture. This year, the Hobsons and event producer Todd Fiscus had carefully edited the main room to keep things intimate, leaving the di Suvero out in the cold.

Todd Fiscus, Agustin Arteaga, Ceron and Michael Flores

To make up for the MIA artwork, the artistic beauty was still there thanks to the array of guests. Despite it still being before Memorial Day, the rule of never wearing true white until after Memorial Day was not the protocol, thanks to gents in white evening jackets (Stuart Bumpas, Ceron and Fiscus, Michael Flores, Stephen Giles, Brad Kelly and host Hobson). Hey, this is the artistic set and they know no ordinary ho-hum rules.

Debbie Ryan, Brook Hazelton and Capera Ryan

The ladies also rose to the occasion with designers, both past and present. In vintage gowns were Houston’s Becca Cason Thrash on the arm of Brian Bolke and Christen Wilson with Faisal Halum. Capera Ryan was golden in Galanos with her mom Debbie Ryan (in Armani) and Christie’s American President Brook Hazelton.

Ben and Tracy Lange, Clay and Lisa Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Kemp and Kit Sawers

Rusty and Bill Duvall

Barbara Daseke

John and Jenny Kirtland and Michael and Sharon Young

Designer Michael Faircloth had had his work cut out for him, ranging from Tracy Lange’s white evening pants with train to Lisa Cooley’s sweeping gown showcasing an old master’s work of art. Other designers being shown were Dior (Bela Pjetrovic, Dallas Snadon and Nancy Carlson), Naeem Khan (Moll Anderson and Katherine Hall), Tom Ford (Catherine Rose), Badgley Mishka (Kit Sawers),  Alberta Ferretti (Julie Hawes), Pamella Rowland (Rusty Duval), Rick Owens (Sharon Young), Mary Katrantzou (Barbara Daseke and Jessica Nowitzki) and Monique Lhuillier (Nancy Rogers).

Jennifer Karol and Merry Vose

Becca Cason Thrash and Brian Bolke

Clane LaCrosse, Crystal Lourd and Margot and Darin Ruebel

Michael and Shelly Dee

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

But still there can be a cost to wearing couture. Georgina Hartland admitted that her Valentino was a bit scratchy.

Georgina Hartland

Stuart Bumpas, Mary McDermott Cook and Diane Bumpas

Barron and Rebecca Fletcher

Will and Catherine Rose

Tom Lentz and Marguerite Hoffman

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Needless to say, the cocktail party was filled with eye-catchers like DMA Board President Catherine and Will Rose, Muffin and John Lemak (he accessorized his tuxedo with a sling following his rotator cup surgery), Lara and Bob Tafel (his colorful pocket square inspired by Tim Gunn‘s talk last year), Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Gonzalo Bueno with Michael McCray, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Walter and Laura Elcock, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson, Clarice Tinsley, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Rob Kendall, Tony Holmes, Mary McDermott Cook with Dan Patterson, Kit and Kemp Sawers, Kara and Randall Goss, Clair Dewar, Lynn and Allan McBee, Shelly and Michael Dee (she was in a traditional Bhutanese jacket, he was in kilts), Jennifer and John Eagle, Carlos Gonzalez Jaime, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Marguerite Hoffman with Dr. Tom Lentz, Dirk Nowitzki, Kim and Justin Whitman, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Tori and Ross Mulford, Jenny and John Kirtland, Sharon and Michael Young, Rusty and Bill Duvall, Brandi and Pete Chilian and Cindy and Lindsay Brown, Clane LaCrosse with Crystal Lourd, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Bill and Wendy Payne, Brooke and Blake Davenport, Katherine and Craig Hall, Moll and Charles Anderson, Brooke Hortenstine, Reed Robertson, Walter Voit, Fort Worth’s Marsha and John Kleinheinz, Rebecca and Barron Fletcher and Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Andre Staffelbach.

Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray

Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Walter and Laura Elcock

Agustin Arteaga and Carlos Gonzalez Jaime

Just making it under the wire was the Rogers posse (Donna Brittingham, Michael Flores, Doug Carney and Dallas Snadon) led by Fancy Nancy. They ran into jewelry designer/actor Adam Shulman and his Academy Award-winning wife Anne Hathaway with Adam’s cousin Peter Brodsky and his wife Lael Brodsky. Adam had designed a bracelet for Lady Rogers.

Brooke Hortenstine, Peter Brodsky, Nancy Rogers, Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway, Lael Brodsky and Reed Robertson

Following the cocktail party in the tented reception area, the curtains were pulled back revealing a romantic scene with greenery and five chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, white lattice behind the staging and table settings with tablecloths of swirling colors and gold flatware. The reviews flowed in like champagne in a Baccarat flute. As one guest said upon gazing at the room, “This is just like Ann’s and Lee’s home. It’s both inviting and elegant.”

Melissa Foster Fetter

Sue Gragg

Due to the dip in temperatures, some of the gals like Melissa Foster Fetter, Mary McDermott Cook, Jennifer Karol, Carol Glendenning, Sue Gragg, Kit Sawers, Kara Goss, Leslie Diers, Rusty Duvall, Crystal Lorde, Wendy Payne, Shelly Dee and Heather Washburne had brought along their shawls and coats in case of a slight chill.

As for the program, DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga, who’s been here seven months, is still learning his way around the hood. At one point he reported that Dallas Mayor “Mark Rawlings” was present. He also told the crowd of 500 that Lady Hobson had been the driving force and revealed that, just the day before, Ann had celebrated her 52 birthday. Oops! The crowd protested and Ann smiled. She had just hit the 50 mark. Not to worry. Hiccups happen.

While catering mistress Cassandra Tomassetti checked the tables and service, there was no need. The seated dinner led off with Petrossian caviar and potatoes with lemon crema and chives under glass, followed by three courses (first course — handmade angel hair pasta, morel mushrooms, quail confit with Madeira sauce; second course — pan-roasted Rhode Island wild fluke, spring vegetables and tomato fumet; and third course — an assortment of pastries).

Rajan Patel and Ann Hobson

It was then time for Brook to auction off the eight items curated by Rajan Patel and Merry Vose, and what an auction it was. DMA Board Chair Melissa Foster Fetter happily looked on as hands competed for items. A couple of times during the night, Georgina and Fancy Nancy at nearby tables tried to outbid each other. At one point, despite his best efforts, Brook couldn’t get the donor’s go-ahead to double the offer for the ladies.

Christen Wilson and John Kleinheinz

Luckily, Brook had better luck with the biggy item of the night — a week’s stay at the Hobsons’ seven-bedroom chateau in the south of France. A breathtaking battle of the paddles commenced between Lady Rogers and a group of pals led by Bill Payne, with bids passing the $100K mark. When Brook wondered aloud about satisfying the two bidders, Ann hopped up with arms waving to go for it, with each bidder agreeing to pay $120,000. In delight Christen Wilson danced between the tables like an adorable sprite. No wonder. The auction of the elegant eight hauled in $460,000, resulting in “the highest-grossing live auction in Art Ball history.”

For more than two pages of picture featuring the fashions and faces, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Art Ball

When 2017 Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson announced “All That Glitters” as the theme for the Dallas Museum of Art’s annual fundraising gala, they set the mark for the art-loving set to razzle dazzle. And, boy, did they ever rise to the occasion!

Lee and Ann Hobson

Jennifer Karol and Merry Vose

Despite the late season cool front that swept through the area, there were plenty of gents in white evening jackets and gorgeous beauts in beautiful gowns on Saturday, April 22.

Brooke Hortenstine, Peter Brodsky, Nancy Rogers, Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway, Lael Brodsky and Reed Robertson

With the weekend appearing to be a bit rainy, why not check out the faces and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. There are more than 70 of ‘em.

2017 Côtes Du Coeur Gala Popped The Cork To Net A Hearty $4M For The American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

While the art lovers were over at the Dallas Museum of Art for the 2017 Art Ball’s “All That Glitters” on Saturday, April 22, the wine lovers were bubbling with bid cards, grazing the the chef stations and raising wine glasses at the 2017  Côtes du Coeur to provide funding for the American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Here is a report from the field:

2017 Cotes du Coeur*

The American Heart Association’s 2017 Côtes du Coeur Gala, held at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Saturday, April 22, hosted close to 1,200 business and wine industry leaders, community philanthropists, wine collectors and physicians. Led by renowned Chef Richard Chamberlain, a team of 18 acclaimed chefs visited with guests and served up selections from a boldly unique tasting menu accompanied by wine pairings created from the cellars of 30 elite wineries.

Richard Chamberlain and Steve Grimshaw*

The event featured 620 silent auction wine lots and 12 live auction items which offered opportunities to stay at exclusive luxury homes, tour vineyards, experience private chef tasting menus and much more.

Doug Hawthorne and Kelly and David Pfeil*

Barbara Smith*

Chaired by Kelly and David Pfeil with Barbara Smith as the Executive Leadership Team Chair, this year’s event grossed $4.6 million and netted $4 million to fund life -saving research and educational programs, making it a record breaking sum for the Dallas event and across the country for the American Heart Association.

The highest Live Auction package was an exclusive trip to Paris to privately tour the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, which sold twice for $110,000.

Denise Hunter and Erin Hunter*

Heart disease survivor Erin Hunter shared her story on-stage with her mom, Denise. The survivor testimonial, Open Your Heart, was lead with a gift of $150,000, and matched in the room by an inspired couple, who prefer to remain anonymous.

“I don’t remember a time where I didn’t have to think about my heart. Between my surgeries and check-ups, I lived as normal a life as I possibly could,” said Erin, who is now a nurse at the Heart Center at Children’s Health where she underwent numerous heart surgeries as a child. “Many people have said that things happen for a reason, and I believe that is true. Because of my experiences, I am able to give back to parents and patients going through similar tough times that my family went through.”

“It is because of fundraising events like Côtes du Coeur, and the support of the generous individuals and businesses that attended Saturday night, that the funding for cardiovascular research and health education programs remains strong and continues to save lives,” American Heart Association Executive Director Melissa Cameron said.

Merry Edwards*

Mike and Diane Gruber and Kim and Greg Hext*

Some of the attendees in the room were Tete du Cuvee honoree Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery, Barbara and Mike Smith, Kim and Greg Hext, Melissa and Steve Grimshaw, Anne Davidson, Diane and Mike Gruber, Diane and Hal Brierley, Laura and Eric Hutto, Tim Wallace, Carol and Matt Holmes, Katherine Wynne, Doug Hawthorne, Amy and Michael Meadows, Ron Haddock, Mary Parker, Pam and Mark Okada, Keli and Mike Jenkins, Jana and Mike Brosin, Eric and Amy Schoch and chefs John Tesar, Jim “Sevy” Severson, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, Matt McCallister, Alex Astranti and Chad Houser.

Mary Parker and Tim Wallace*

Anne Davidson and Mark Porter*

The 2018 Dallas Côtes du Coeur will be held on Saturday, April 21, at the Omni Dallas. Terri and Tim Gallagher will serve as the chairs

For a full list of chefs, wineries, sponsors and committee members, visit dallaswineauction.com.

* Photo provided by American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honored Its Advisory Board And Beneficiaries With A Reception At Jennifer And Richard Dix’s Digs

Jennifer Dix, Christie Carter and Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

The wine and the conversation flowed freely on Wednesday, April 5, when Crystal Charity Ball‘s friends and supporters gathered at the magnificent, Preston Hollow home of Jennifer and Richard Dix. And, why not? The event, after all, was being held to honor to group’s advisory board and the 2017 CCB beneficiaries.

Anna Hundley, Brent Christopher and Mary Pat Higgins

Guests such as Jan and Fred Hegi, Vinnie Reuben, SuSu Meyer, Michael Teeter, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Beth Thoele, Anna Hundley, Mary Pat Higgins, Mary-Elizabeth Carrell, Pam Busbee and Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley swarmed happily into the home’s kitchen area, where they found the likes of Christie Carter and Lisa and Clay Cooley. Christie, who’s a big supporter of Dallas CASA, was still talking about that group’s Cherish the Children luncheon held earlier in the day, where entrepreneur Casey Gerald had given an inspiring talk. Commented Christie: “It was a powerful luncheon.”

Nickey and Debbie Oates

Tom Swiley

Sandra Helton

Michael Teeter

On the business front, luxury home builder Nickey Oates and car dealer Clay Cooley both reported that their businesses were in overdrive… For Brent Christopher, it was a switch of roles. In the past as president/CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, he had served on the advisory board. Having just taken over Children’s Medical Center Foundation this past year and its being selected as a 2017 CCB beneficiary, he was on the other side of the CCB spectrum.

Pam Perella

Finally, it was time for 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella to address the group, and what better place was there to do it than in the crowded kitchen, where Cassandra Tomassetti‘s crew had been creating mini-feasts much to the delight of folks like Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy Stephanie Matous and Sister Sandra Helton.

Standing on the stairway, Pam said, “I might be a little biased, but I’m really thrilled with our beneficiaries this year,” referring to the Autism Treatment Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days, and the Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

Vin Perella, Beth Thoele, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers

“Our goal this year is to raise $5.83 million,” Pam went on. “We’re almost there, so no big deal!” With that, the crowd laughed heartily as Pam gave way to longtime CCB supporter/patron Chuck Thoele of RGT Wealth Advisors. “Crystal Charity Ball is really good at three things,” Chuck said, beginning to chuckle. “Picking their beneficiaries. Raising a lot of money. And throwing a good party!”

No one at the Dix home that night would argue with that.

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

2017 TACA Lexus Party On The Green Line Up Of Chefs, Sponsors And Ticket Opportunities Revealed For Sammons Park Celebration

Katherine Wynne (File photo)

Tia Wynne (File photo)

Wine pull (File photo)

Official “Diet Drop Date” is Friday, May 12. That’s when 14 chefs will provide one of North Texas’ finest grazing experiences at the TACA Lexus Party On The Green at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Sammons Park. Presented by Highland Park Village, Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne have arranged for celebrity chef tastings, a wine cork pull, a silent auction, live music and performances by TACA-supported arts organization in continuing celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary.

According to TACA Carlson President/Executive Director Wolford McCue, “TACA’s mission is to support the performing arts community, so not only is the AT&T Performing Arts Center the perfect backdrop for TACA Party on the Green, it also provides us more space to showcase several of our beneficiaries. Tia and Katherine have planned an incredible evening with local celebrity chefs and performances by TACA supported arts organizations, all with the goal to raise critical funding for the local arts.”

Dean Fearing (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

The list of chefs includes Nicolas Blouin of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant, Lisa Garza-Selcer of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, John Gilbert of G Texas Custom Catering, Sara Griffin of Chelsea Corner, Jeffrey Kollinger of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Sader Matheis of Salum Restaurant, Sonny Pache of Ocean Prime and Rosewood Ranches Waygu Beef, Janice Provost of Parigi, Daniele Puelo of CiboDivino Marketplace, Gianni Santin and Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie, Drew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck Catering, John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas and Participating Late Night Chef: Mesero.

The chef sponsors include Faye C. Briggs, Carlson Capital LP, Dallas Southwest Osteopathic Physicians Inc., Gwen and Leldon Echols, Leah and Jim Pasant, Donna Wilhelm and Wynne Transportation.

Faye Briggs (File photo)

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

Katherine and Tia have arranged for the following opportunities for guests

  • $500 — The entire evening plus early entry at 6:30 p.m.
  • $375 — The entire evening starting at 7:30 p.m.
  • $150 — Late night partying starting at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets and sponsorships are available here!

Thank you notes should go to the following sponsors:

  • Title Sponsor – Lexus / The Dallas – Ft. Worth Lexus Dealers
  • Presenting Sponsor – Highland Park Village
  • Patron Sponsor – The Rosewood Corporation
  • Cork Pull Sponsor – Bank of Texas
  • Wristband Sponsor – Frost Bank
  • Official Airline – American Airlines
  • Host – AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Valet Sponsor – Platinum Parking
  • Media Sponsors – PaperCity, Texas Monthly, CultureMap and MySweetCharity

Equest Gala Organizers Have The Ponies Rearing To Party And Umbrellas Aplenty Just In Case Of Predicted April Showers Prove To Be True

Saturday’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park is being threatened by local weather guessers with stormy weather. But according to Gala Emcee and former weather-caster Jocelyn White, it’s always a guessing game.

So, don’t let the threats of showers dissuade you from heading to the protected stable area leading to the covered arena, where all the dining and dancing will be taking place. The horses have been spiffing up all week for the big fundraiser, and the humans have been taking precautions.

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Kathy Fielder (File photo)

Co-Chair Kathy Fielder reports, “We are still hoping our Field of Dreams will be dry, but we are prepared if spring showers come our way. Thankfully, the event areas, including the beautifully transformed arena, are covered. If needed, we will have plenty of umbrellas to keep folks dry, and bourbon to warm them up. Our Equest Clients and Therapy Horses are ready to shine.”

What’s more, you won’t have to worry about driving to and back from the festivities. The buses will be running come sleet, snow, soggy roads or whatever. Just make sure you have your spot on the shuttle saved by checking in with Amanda Fastle at 972.412.1099, Ext. 215.

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

Sharla Bush

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

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

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

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

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

JUST IN: 2017 Tablescapes Co-Chairs Beth Dike And Mary Hubbard Announce Plans For Kappa Kappa Gamma Fundraiser

2017 Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard and Beth Dike just made it official. The annual fundraiser will return to the Dallas Country Club with Tablescapes by Candlelight on Monday, October 16, and Tablescapes Luncheon on Tuesday, October 17, with Central Market as the presenting sponsor. This year’s theme will be “Forever Blue and Beautiful.”

Mary Hubbard, Lori Martin and Beth Dike

This year’s keynote speaker will be Brownwood, Texas, native Mark D. Sikes, known locally for his Draper James fame. On the more worldly front, his friends/fans/followers include actress Reese Witherspoon and director Nancy “Something’s Gotta Give” Meyer. In fact Nancy wrote the intro for his most recent book “Beautiful, All American Decorating and Timeless Style.” And, of course, wouldn’t you know he’s known for his love of blue.

As for the table designers, Mary and Beth suggested that they were in the final stages of signing up talent. Interested? Go ahead! You just know your grandmother’s Lenox Blue Tree china would be picture perfect decked out on that heirloom tablecloth alongside your best friend’s Baccarat stemware. Or, if you’re a professional, why not spiff up your brand by showcasing it in front of a pretty nifty crowd?

It’s time to put those creative juices to work and to raise funds for this year’s beneficiaries including Akola Project, Camp Summit, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support. Seniors’ Pet Assistance Network, Town North YMCA, Visiting Nurse Association (Meals on Wheels) and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Sunshine Returns To The Area With Southern Charmer James Farmer For The Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society Luncheon

Despite North Texas taking a thunderous beating the night before, sunshine and friendly temperatures were on hand Wednesday, March 29, for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.

And what else would one expect with author/gardener/floral and interior designer/cook/garden-to-table lifestyle expert James Farmer as the keynote speaker. Sunshine just seems to be his calling card.

James Farmer and Kendall Jennings

Since his appearance in 2013 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Tablescapes, James flashed the same All-American smile, but there was less of him. He told Honorary Co-Chair Libby Hunt it was due to his giving one of his kidneys to his sister, Meredith. Libby asked if the transplant had caused him to be ill and lose the weight. No, he had been put on steroids the year before and the year after the surgery, resulting in his looking heavier when he spoke at Tablescapes. Now, he was back to his normal weight.

To get things going, PCHPS President Kendall Jennings welcomed the group and asked Pierce Allman to provide the invocation. With his arm in a sling as a result of rotator cuff surgery, Pierce’s presentation was poetic. So much so, that as emcee Scott Murray took his place on stage, he admitted that it was remarkable. When asked if he had been working on the invocation for some time or if it was something that had been handed down from generation to generation, Pierce smiled and said he had just put it together that morning.

 

David and Libby Hunt, Leeanne Hunt, Herbert Hunt, Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow

Mike and Marla Boone

As guests like James’ buddy Caren Kline, Debbie and Jim Francis, Heather Furniss, sisters Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert Hunt, Cynthia Beaird, Marla Boone, Lindalyn Adams, Kay Weeks and Lucy Wrubel with mother Jennie Reeves had lunch, they caught up with Melinda Obenchain receiving rave reviews for “B Magazine,” which she just produced for Briggs-Freeman…La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas 2017 Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory reporting that La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas would be returning to the Hilton Anatole in 2018.

Debbie Francis

Melinda Obenchain

Just past noon, emcee Scott told the guests how both Honorary Co-Chairs Libby’s and David Hunt’s childhood homes in the Park Cities were still standing. While that may not seem important to many, to this group of preservationist it was, with the recent demolishing of the Trammell Crow and Penson homes. He then had Pierce introduce James. Pierce, who had been tableside with James, described James as covering “everything from dirt to dessert.”

James Farmer

Some of the highlights of James’ talk included:

  • “Dallas still has a small-town feel. Had dinner last night at Café Pacific and knew people at the other tables.”
  • Having grown up in Perry, Georgia, “If you needed something made, you had it made there. If you wanted something from a foreign land, you went to Atlanta.”
  • As a five-year-old he was playing T-ball and was assigned left field. There he spied a colony of ziggy holes. In South Georgia, ziggy worms are grub  worms. “I knew instinctively that if I dug out a ziggy or two and put them in my pocket and took them home and threw them in our pond, I would catch catfish. And my Mimi, my grandmother, would fry that catfish and we would eat that catfish on my Aunt Irene’s Limoges plates. There’s a connection. Y’all can go to a nice restaurant and pay $30 for that fish now and it’s called ‘Pond To Plate.’ But I understood as a child that something from the ground could get to our table.” On this day in left field, he decided that he had found the “honey hole of ziggy worms.” He dug them up and put them in his pocket. “A kid from the opposing team had the nerve to hit a ball my way. I had to do what came natural to me, so I protected my ziggy colony.” The coach informed James’ father that his son was not an athlete. To this Dr. Farmer responded, “Yes, but he knows the Latin name for every blade of grass out in the field.” It would be 13 years later that James would receive a scholarship from a garden club for Auburn, and the kid who hit that ball received a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia. “So, you see we were both playing on the same field, but ended up where we were supposed to.”
  • Frank McCall influenced James with his “full service architect” firm that drew on a southern lifestyle and “helped my parents create their home.” McCall told James’ mother, “Every Southern lady needs a beautiful home. Every Southern lady needs fine silk. Every southerner needs a damn good chest.” She suddenly realized, “He wasn’t talking about Aunt Irene’s chest.” In the future, James would realize that McCall was talking about being confident and proud of what  you have.
  • It was while attending Auburn that James threw his first “dinner party.” It was in the dormitory kitchen. “I had a hankering for fried chicken and I knew how to fry chicken because you know every 18-year-old goes off to college with an iron skillet. Do you know how many friends you can make in college by making fried chicken? I never missed a sorority ball. Those girls were hungry, too. Those girls were off getting engagement rings and thinking, ‘Oh, my, I gotta learn how to cook.’ That was my ‘fried chicken moment.’”
  • “The pearly gates will smell like Lady Peas.”
  • “I love to teach the generations what the generations before had.”
  • “My grandfather was a Baptist minister and because of that I am a recovering Baptist. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church has a program for us. What the Episcopal Church does is they tell you to come to church and bring a bottle of wine.” On his first field trip with the Episcopalians, they went to the liquor store and he was told to “make eye contact with people, you address them by their first name, and bring that drink to the church and drink it.”
  • Each year his grandmother Mimi made her famous fruit cake. It called for rum. His grandfather wanted a piece with the rum: “It’s not drinking it if you’re eating it.” Being a good Baptist, his grandmother had a Methodist friend buy the alcohol at a liquor store. When the friend died, Mimi “put on some attire that the sheik of some Arab country would wear,” so no one would recognize her. When James confronted her, asking, “Did King Abdulla die?,” she proudly stated that no one had recognized her being incognito. But her grandson countered with, “But you drive the biggest Buick in town. If they saw it whipping around the liquor store…” She responded, “But I parked it at the Winn-Dixie.”
  • James’ first job was redecorating on his grandmother’s Baptist Sunday classroom. He soon learned that everything in the Baptist Church is done by committee, “which I believe is a version of eternal damnation. I would rather work for a dictator than a Baptist committee.”
  • Regarding his first book, he heard a dozen “Nos” from New York publishing houses. “They were No York.” But a Salt Lake publishing house agreed to take a meeting with him, where they wore football jerseys and jeans and James was “dressed like Astor’s pony.” The Salt Lake group agreed to publish 500 copies of “A Time To Plant.” His response was, “That’s sweet, but y’all know I’ll sell 500 copies in the Winn-Dixie parking lot from the back of my Suburban.” He ended up ordering all 500 copies himself and told them that he had some book signings coming up and friends like Caren and Peter Kline in Dallas who were going to support him with book signing events. Some friends in New York City arranged for him to prepare a dinner party for them and have a book signing afterwards. “I ran out of books. I had a conference call the next day with my publisher and I told them, ‘Y’all, I’m out of books.'” They said, “That’s what we want to talk to you about. Barnes and Noble just ordered 2,500 copies.” And it wasn’t just Barnes and Noble. Other stores were placing huge orders. The publisher asked, “What are you doing?” James responded, “Well, last night I cooked a dinner party for some friends of mine. Do you know Al Roker and Deborah Roberts?” They said, “No, but we know you’re not talking about the ‘Today’ host and the ABC reporter.” James trumped them by saying, “Yes, I am. Al and Deborah are very good friends of mine.” The publisher asked how James knew Al. “I know Al through Deborah, who’s from Perry.” They asked if he had other similar events planned. James said that he was headed down to Washington where a friend was going to host another event. “Is the President coming?” James said, “He was invited, because he’s, you know, busy. But they’re gonna take some books to the White House.” The publisher was curious, “Who do you know in Washington?” James asked, “Do you know Senator Sam Nunn? He’s from Perry.”
  • His latest book, “A Time To Celebrate,” started out focusing on big parties and deb balls. During the year that he was creating it, both his mother and grandmother died. “The word ‘celebrate’ took on a new meaning.’ It was Sunday night at home having scrambled eggs and watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with Mama.”
  • In writing “A Time To Celebrate,” he took Jenna Bush Hager up on the offer to “do anything for him.” He wanted her to write the forward. She admitted that she just didn’t know how to do it. James then told her, “You saw your mama and grandma entertain in the White House. I saw my mama and grandma entertain in a white house.” The common denominator was the fact that whether it was the president of a foreign country or the local minister, the way people come together is over food.
  • One of his favorite stories is about his mother, when they hired an Atlanta decorator. Previously, they had used a local decorator, who wore denim on denim — an “I only shop at Kmart look. She would use red latex magnolias dipped in gold glitter for Christmas.” The Atlanta decorator arrived in a black Mercedes and wearing Chanel. At one point, his mother said, “I love ‘Carl.’ I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . .  And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” When the decorator finally said she didn’t understand, because “Your husband is Ted,” Mother Farmer said, “I’m talking about the color.” Translation: coral.
  • In summary, James said, “Keep it real. That’s what the South is about.”

James talked about Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Jenna Bush and Sam Nunn in such a way that it didn’t feel like name dropping, but rather they were just James’ friends and real.

If you weren’t able to make the luncheon, get one of James’ books and you’ll find a brand-new BFF.

JUST IN: Barbara And Don Daseke To Co-Chair 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering” Under A Full Moon

Don and Barbara Daseke (File photo)

On Saturday, November 4, there will be a full moon in the sky. That should have an estimated 700 folks howling at the 2017 Zoo To Do.

News just arrived that the twosome who will be co-chairing the event will be those animal-loving critters Barbara and Don Daseke.

This year’s Dallas Zoo fundraiser should be quite a hip-hip hurray event with the added attraction of the soon-to-open Simmons Hippo Outpost, plus all the new babies that have been born this year. And that’s not to mention the more than 25 chefs cooking at various stations around the Giants of the Savanna, hand-feeding the giraffes, and Party Machine providing music late into the night. As for the attire, stow the ties and ball gowns. This one is strictly a walk-about in khaki slacks, cheetah prints, and safari hats.

Giraffe

According to Barbara, they’re already working on the live auction items that seem to get better and more intriguing each year. Just this past year, Barbara was the 2016 Zoo To Do Live Auction Chair and that one still has folks clucking about the amazing zoo-oriented experiences that went for sky-high bids. 

While individual tickets start at $750, the VIP Ticket Package of $3,000 is a top-dog offering with all types of goodies. To find out the details, call 469.554.7445.

Stay tuned for developments as they take place.