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

Dallas Arboretum tulips

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas Bloom’s tulips (File photo)

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

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Dunia Borga (File photo)

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

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

A Gentle Reminder: Greenville Avenue’s St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk, Parade And Festival To Take Place This Saturday

2017 Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival map**

While St. Patrick’s Day is still a week away, the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade And Festival will take place this Saturday along Greenville Avenue benefiting the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association.

2017 St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville 5K*

But before the parade kicks off at 11 a.m., the 22nd Annual St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville will start at 8 a.m. Organizers are predicting 5,000 participants will run/walk the 5K down “the St. Patrick’s Day parade route, tree-lined Southwestern Blvd., Skillman and University Blvd.,” benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Hopefully, all the runners/walkers will be across the finish line before the parade’s floats hit the avenue.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival (File photo)

Now, some suggestions:

  • Barriers and other preparations for the run and parade will start showing up Friday afternoon. So, it might be wise to run those errands today and early tomorrow. Be forewarned: Some stores like Office Depot along Greenville might be closed Saturday during the parade.
  • Weather guessers are claiming that Saturday morning may be damp-ish, so if you’re gonna be among the 100,000+ spectators, you might want to bring along a slicker or umbrella.
  • Take DART to the Greenville station because parking is going to be painfully limited.
  • If you decide to linger into the afternoon and night enjoying the adult libations, reconsider driving yourself home. No matter how responsible you may think you are, you’ll be much more so by having Uber or another professional service drive you home.
*Graphic courtesy of Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival 
** Graphic courtesy of St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

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

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

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

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

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

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

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

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

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

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

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

JUST IN: Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event To Have Cocktails On The Lawn With Loggins Inside

Leave it to Vogel Alcove to be combine a longtime favorite with something totally different and new. That’s what Co-Chairs Ricki and Andy Rabin and Lisa and Scott Wilson have arranged for Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event on Thursday, May 11.  

Kenny Loggins*

The “longtime favorite” is Grammy-winning Kenny Loggins, who has been making beautiful music for dancing and listening for four decades. While some folks can’t help but start dancing when they hear his “Footloose,” others cruise his current tunes with country trio Blue Sky Riders. And Kenny is even reaching out to an audience that’s not old enough to drive a car with his “Children’s book called ‘Footloose,’ based on his mega-hit song for the eponymous film.”

And to provide the music for the after-party dancing, it will be none other than the Emerald City Band, which Mayor Mike Rawlings has tapped as “The House Band of Dallas.”

Now, for the “something totally different and new,” the Rabins and Wilsons are going to have the whole shindig at the Omni Dallas Hotel. So, what’s so new about the Omni? Well, the cocktail reception is not going to take place in the Trinity nor Dallas lobbies. It’s going “to be held for the first time on the Pegasus Lawn.” Then guests will amble across the driveway into the hotel for an elegant meal presented by McKool Smith and the entertainment.

If it rains…well, guess the whole kit and kaboodle will be indoors.

Tickets for the reception, dinner, performance and after-party start at $750. And, of course, sponsorships are available.

Suggestion: Leave the tuxedo and the frou-frou gown at home. Go shopping for something that goes well with spring lawn parties and dancing.  

* Photo credit: Stephen Morales

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

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

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

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

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

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

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

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

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations Extend From Friday To Holiday Monday

Another federal holiday will have banks, government offices and most schools closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But there is so much going on to celebrate the late civil rights leader. Here’s just a smattering of the events for your consideration:

  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 — Presented by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition takes place at the Majestic Theatre from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It features fourth- and fifth-graders delivering three- to five-minutes original speeches. It’s free, but registration is necessary.
  • SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 — The 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Gala will get underway at the Fairmont Hotel with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and featuring Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough and special guests Laila Muhammad and Yolonda Williams. The Afterglow Event will follow the gala. Individual tickets are going for $85 for the gala and $20 for Afterglow Event.
  • MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — The 2017 MLK Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Holmes Street. It’s free for the viewing. Let’s hope the rain dries up in time for the bands to strut their stuff.
  • The 2017 MLK Symposium*

    MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — Presented by BaylorScott&White, the 12th Annual MLK Symposium: MLK’s Legacy: Issues of Social Justice in the 21st Century will feature presentations by journalist Jelani Cobb and #BlackLivesMatter Co-Creator Alicia Garza at the Dallas City Performance Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance because they will not be sold at the venue.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Mother Nature’s Going To Give North Texas A Real Cold Shoulder For A Couple Of Days

If you think it’s cold now, brace yourself. It’s downhill from here until Sunday. Head to the grocery now to get those fixings for soups, casseroles and brownies.

You’ve already gone over your chilly weather checklist of taking care of the “4 Ps” (people, pets, plants and pipes). The duvet is on the bed. The flannel jammies are ready for duty. Excellent

But before you totally close down the must-do freeze list, think wet. For instance, if you don’t want to be the neighborhood slip-and-slide pain, turn off your sprinkler system.

Dripping faucet

And, if you’re one of those folks who lets faucets drip, why not put a bucket or major league bowl under the faucet and use the water for your plants and pets? No sense in wasting that water.

If you have munchkins, be prepared for some unhappy campers. It appears Friday will not be a snow day. Rather it will be a dusting of flakes and schools don’t close down for that. Sorry.

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

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

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

Dallas Blooms (File photo)

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

Put On The Sunscreen And Take Advantage Of Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days Special Deal

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

The roller coaster of temperatures has resulted in cottons and shorts doing overtime. Just imagine — the end of December in the 60s and 70s!

But what luck! With the kids out of school, the malls jammed, the thank you notes written (well, almost) and running out of things to do, the Dallas Zoo’s Penguin Days special is just made for these balmy times.

Instead of the usual two-figure entry fee ($15 for adults and $12 for youngsters), it’s a mere $7 for both adults and kiddos over the age of two.

And why not avoid all traffic by taking DART’s Red Line to the Dallas Zoo Station. 

The Last Tree On The Lot

Years ago there was a child who was at that age when the belief in Santa, elves and flying reindeer was starting to fade. As she sat next to her father driving home from Christmas Eve dinner, she told him of her doubts about the season of miracles. Her father, who was dreading this talk more than the one about the facts of life, pulled into the garage and told her a story that his father had told him decades ago. On this Christmas Eve, we share the story with you.

That night was the coldest and windiest Christmas Eve ever. The seasonal Christmas tree lot was bare except for one little fir. People had wanted bigger, robust trees for their homes and the tiny tree just was passed by each time.

But despite the frigid temperatures, the tree and her guests huddled together and stayed warm. The little sparrows joined the mockingbirds and Mourning Doves in singing Christmas carols. The squirrels and mice applauded with great enthusiasm for each song. The little tree’s heart was warmed by all the happiness.

As the night went on, so the wintry conditions grew. Finally, just as the first ray of sunlight began to appear in the east, a great whoosh of breeze spun around the tree and there was silence. The tree and her friends discovered they had been joined by a sleigh, reindeer and Santa himself.

One of the mice peeked out from the tree’s branches and asked, “Perhaps you have a gift or two left?”

Mice can be a bit pushy, you know.

“I am pleased to say we had exactly the right number of gifts for children this year,” Santa replied.

“That’s remarkable,” said the tree. “How marvelous it must have been for all of my tree friends to be surrounded by presents. Just think what is happening right now? People are laughing and smiling and enjoying the happiness of Christmas. How lucky my tree friends are.”

“They probably are,” said Santa. “But unfortunately, I have a problem and must ask your help.”

The tree was surprised that Santa would ever need help.

Santa and a Christmas tree (File photo)

“You see,” Santa continued, “I forgot to get a tree this year and Mrs. Claus is going to be very disappointed if I don’t return with one. When I passed overhead just now, I was advised by the reindeer of a singing tree. Well, I know it’s rather late, but I was wondering if you and your friends would let me take you home to the North Pole.”

Before the tree and the little creatures could reply, Santa added, “By the way, we’ll need you for quite a while. You see we celebrate Christmas year round. It helps the elves keep focused.”

With that, Santa carefully lifted the tree into the sleigh and told all the creatures to hop on board for a trip to their new home. 

MySweetWishList: C.C. Young

According to C. C. Young Vice President of Development Sharon Ballew,

Sharon Ballew (File photo)

“My wish this holiday season is that the community will join together and participate in the 2nd Annual Carry the Torch 5K and Fun Run on Friday, March 3, benefiting the C. C. Young Cares program. The program provides flash frozen, heart-healthy meals to seniors in in need throughout the Dallas Metroplex, and every race registration fee helps to fund this mission.

“The race will begin at the beautiful C. C. Young campus overlooking White Rock Lake, at 6:00 p.m. and the route will feature sloping inclines, turns and scenic views. All runners also will receive a swag bag for participating in the race including a race shirt, glow kit and medals for all 5K finishers. Following the run, the after party will feature food trucks, vendors, a DJ and more. Awards will also be given in age group categories and for Overall and Masters Male and Female Finishers.

“To register yourself or a team online, please visit www.CarryTheTorchRun.com.  

“Please join me in supporting seniors in need by pledging to run in C. C. Young’s Carry The Torch 5K and Fun Run this March!”

-By Sharon Ballew, C. C. Young vice president of development

MySweetWishList: Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas

Jennifer Bartkowski*

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski,

“The holidays always evoke a spirit of gratitude for the simple things in life with which we’ve been blessed. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to join extra-curricular activities that helped me explore the world around me at a young age. I was able to go to college and pursue a career. Many girls in our community, however, are not. Their dreams often fall short not because of the lack of desire, or lack of financial aid, but because they simply haven’t been given the opportunity to even see the possibilities available to them.

“Girls need to hear at a young age that they are smart, their ideas are valid and they can accomplish big things in life. They need opportunities to see who they can become by connecting with women who are industry leaders and by giving them the chance to experience career possibilities outside of their neighborhood footprint.   

“Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves more than 26,000 girls in our community. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. We’re building girls into leaders in their schools, communities and future careers.

Young creative Girl Scouts*

“But did you know that 86% of the girls we serve are from low to moderate income families? Accessibility to opportunities that can have a profound impact on a child’s future are limited. That’s why we’re committed to providing girls relevant 21st century experiences that are free or low-cost. 

“Girls in Girl Scouts today are learning computer coding, getting hands-on experiences in the STEM industry, connecting with female career mentors, exploring nature at our STEM Center of Excellence, building their confidence through our leadership programs, challenging their fears through outdoor adventures and more.

Girl Scouts at STEM Center of Excellence*

“We need public support to help make these opportunities possible to even more girls. We know that girls who participate in Girl Scouts are more likely to advocate for themselves and others, are less likely to bystanders, are more likely to stand up for their ideas, self-identify as leaders and take on leadership roles, are more financially literate, negotiate for themselves, and set ambitious goals for their future.

“These are attributes parents want to instill in their girls and that employers aspire to attain in their workforce. They’re also critical to positively impacting the culture of our society.

“My holiday wish is that girls throughout our community would be given opportunities to try. Girls need access to opportunities that allow them to take smart risks in safe spaces. They need a chance to build their courage, find their confidence and grow into leaders who think critically and can step up to make a difference. Learn more and connect with us as a volunteer or donor at gsnetx.org.”

-By Jennifer Bartkowski, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO

* Photos provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

The Trinity Trust Friends And Fans Gather To Toast Annette Simmons’ $50M Gift For Trinity River Park Launch

It’s not every day that a city gets a $50M gift. But then every city doesn’t have Annette Simmons! To celebrate the announcement of Annette’s gift to commemorate her late husband Harold Simmons and to get things hustling for the creation of the Trinity River Park, city officials and longtime Trinity Trust staffers and friends gathered on Wednesday, November 9, to toast the news at Saint Rocco’s New York Italian. Here’s a report from the field:

On November 9, The Trinity Trust gathered its supporters to celebrate Annette Simmons’ $50 million historic gift to the Trinity River Park with a “Toast to the Trinity.” Taking place on the rooftop of Saint Rocco’s New York Italian restaurant overlooking the Dallas skyline and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this location was also where Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the gift in honor of Annette’s late husband, Harold Simmons, just the previous week.

Trinity River Park illustrations*

The gift will launch development and construction of the first phase of Trinity River Park that encompasses more than 285 acres of land near downtown Dallas. With approval from the City Council, the park will be named the Harold Simmons Park, which will stretch from the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge to the Margaret McDermott Bridge or about 200 of the 285 acres.

The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats and guests sipped wine and beer and noshed on Italian appetizers and watched the sun set. As the sun went down, the remarks began. The Trinity Trust President Gail Thomas said, “This is such as moment. As we crossed the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, I remember Jane Jacobs saying that as the sun is setting and shines on the glass buildings, the reflection puts her in her high heart. This gift has been a dream come true. Thank you to the Simmons family for believing in this project.”

Craig Holcomb and Monica Alonzo*

Joe Crafton and Amy Simmons Crafton*

Deputy Mayor Monica Alonzo, whose district includes the park area, welcomed everyone to her district and shared in the excitement of the news.

Representing the family, Amy Simmons Crafton said, “This park is something my dad would have been proud to do. Someday, this will be an incredible park. We’re proud to be associated with the park. We’re ready to hike and bike in it.”

Nancy Cain Marcus and Nelda Cain Pickens*

Garrett Boone and Lucy Hale*

Electra Harelson, Tori Mannes, Stewart Thomas and Gail Thomas*

Those in attendance included Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, Dallas Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel and his wife Cindy; The Trinity Trust Board Members Garrett Boone and Nancy Cain Marcus; Nelda Cain Pickens, Lynlee and Dave Forehand; new Trinity River Audubon Center Director Lucy Hale; Trinity Commons Foundation’s Craig Holcomb; Gail Thomas’ three children: Stewart Thomas, Tori Mannes and Electra Harelson, their spouses and some of their children.

* Photo credit: Jerry McClure

Weather Ups And Downs In The Days Ahead

If your thrills come from roller coasters, then hold on. Last week’s dip in temperatures was just a hint of what’s ahead the next few days.

Thank heaven you’ve already pulled out that duvet and dual-temperature heated mattress cover. The weather guessers are all claiming that Friday and Saturday are gonna have shorts returning thanks to 70-degree temps. But Saturday night the bottom is going to fall out with temperatures dropping 40 50 degrees. Not to worry. Just cozy up with the love of your life, whether they be two- or four-legged types.

Frosty weather

The freezing chills are predicted to continue until at least Monday mid-morning. Some weather experts are even suggesting some flurries but nothing scary.  

While you know the drill, add this one to the list. Turn off your sprinkler systems unless you want to create a winter wonderland and a slip-and-slide for your sidewalk and street.

JUST IN: The Trinity Trust’s Dr. Gail Thomas To Retire At The End Of The Year

When a mama bird has hatched her eggs and raised her chicks to venture out on their own, she gently kicks them out of the nest to grow and fly on their own.

Gail Thomas (File photo)

Well, for Dallas’ Trinity River Corridor Project, mother hen Dr. Gail Thomas has been leading the effort for 20 years to create the long-envisioned project. During her tenure at The Trinity Trust, more than $105M has been raised, helping create the Dallas CityDesign Studio, the two Santiago Calatrava-designed bridges — Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Margaret McDermott Bridge — as well as the Continental Bridge’s transformation into a pedestrian/bicycle bridge. To accomplish these feats required assembling a stellar group of community leaders to join the effort, hand-holding of philanthropists, negotiating the tight wire of government and politico types and working with a countless variety of organizations.

Back in October it was announced that Annette Simmons had gifted $50M for the Trinity River Park.

Gail’s “chick” is headed to fulfilling her “life-long vision — a central park for Dallas.”

But instead of kicking the chick out of the nest, The Trinity Trust CEO/President Gail is leaving the nest herself at the end of the year.

Deedie Rose (File photo)

It was just announced that she is retiring at the end of December “to focus on the next chapter of her life by completing and publishing her fifth book and spending long weekends at her East Texas home with her large family.”

According to The Trinity Trust Board of Directors Chair Deedie Rose, “When a park is finally realized within the Trinity River basin, it will be due in large measure because of the persistence and careful nurturing by Gail Thomas of a dream held by so many people for decades. Gail believes absolutely in the idea that people from all parts of the city can be connected through nature, through a park, with a river running through it.”

As for the future of The Trinity Trust, it will “move into its next stage, to be guided by a new director and to be renamed the Trinity Park Conservancy.”

For the official press release about the announcement, just follow the jump! [Read more…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Bundle Up For Saturday’s 29th Annual Children’s Health Holiday Parade Through Downtown Dallas

 UPDATE: The parade has indeed been canceled, but the sold-out breakfast with Santa is still on!

Just imagine. Toddlers, who attended the first-ever Children’s Health Holiday Parade in 1987, are all grown up and have toddlers of their own. For some it’s become a family tradition despite the changes of routes and the weather conditions.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade*

Children’s Health Holiday Parade*

Speaking of which, this Saturday’s weather forecast is gonna be so very typical of North Texas winter. The day’s high is gonna maybe hit 50 degrees and there’s a very good chance of rain. But, shoot! That’s why retailers invented gloves, sock caps, bumbershoots, slickers and galoshes.

So, dig out all those warm clothes and head downtown early because the area’s biggest, most colorful walking extravaganza starts at 10 a.m. come rain or shine. If you want a reserved bleacher seat, you can get it here!

2016 Children’s Health Holiday Parade route*

2016 Children’s Health Holiday Parade route*

Afterwards, head to your favorite spot for a late morning brunch with hot chocolate, hot toddy, Belgian waffles and all that comfort food you deserve.

The parade has only been canceled once in history back in 2013 when an ice storm hit the area. But rest easy. This ain’t gonna be a repeat of that one. It’s just gonna be damp and chilly.

* Photo and graphic courtesy of Children's Health

With Loads Of Turquoise And Stars Above, Spirit Of Taos Sparkled At The Lot Resulting In More Than $141K For The Wilkinson Center

The night couldn’t have been more perfect for a fundraiser at The Lot in East Dallas, just across the street from White Rock Lake. And as luck would have it, The Wilkinson Center‘s Spirit of Taos took full advantage of the perfect conditions on Friday, October 28. While others were in black tie and diamonds over at the Dallas Opera’s First Night, the Wilkinson crowd donned bolo ties and turquoise to net $141,061.80. (Who says every penny doesn’t count?) BTW, it was a darn purty group of folks. Here’s a report from the field:

The Lot*

The Lot*

Hosted by the Friends of Wilkinson Center, the Spirit of Taos took place on Friday, October 28, at The Lot in Lakewood with a sellout crowd of 300 millennials and baby-boomers, who dusted off their cowboy boots to show their support for Wilkinson Center.

From the left: Laura Ailshire, Kristen Johnson, Michael Graska, Meredith Dier s, Kendall Angela, Hunter Heres, Kelli Mansfield, OJ DeSouza, Jenn Dolim, Tia Williams, Kay Weir

From the left: Laura Ailshire, Kristen Johnson, Michael Graska, Meredith Diers, Kendall Angela, Kelli Mansfield, Hunter Heres, Kay Weir, OJ DeSouza, Tia Williams and Jenn Dolim and Tia Williams*

Jeremy Zidell and Mark and Sloane Simon*

Jeremy Zidell and Mark and Sloane Simon*

Will Walters and Joe Acosta*

Will Walters and Joe Acosta*

The event kicked off with a cocktail hour from 7-8pm that featured margaritas and hors d’oeuvres like quesadillas, mini pimento cheese sandwiches, tostadas and chicken flautas.  Guests like Daniella Giglio, Will Waters, Joe Acosta, Jeremy Zidell, Sloane and Mark Simon, Matt Muckleroy, Nick Higdem, Liz Stutts, Laura Ailshire, Kristen Johnson, Michael Graska, Meredith Diers, Kendall Angela, Hunter Heres, Kelli Mansfield, OJ DeSouza, Jenn Dolim,Tia Williams and Kay Weir were welcomed by Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder and Spirit of Taos Event Co-Chairs Stephanie Taylor, Sloan Looney Dix and Meridith Zidell

Sloan Looney Dix, Meridith Zidell and Stephanie Taylor*

Sloan Looney Dix, Meridith Zidell and Stephanie Taylor*

Steve and Cathy Saxon*

Steve and Cathy Saxon*

Matt Thornton*

Matt Thornton*

A seated dinner followed with southwest-flavored food from The Lot and dessert by Emporium Pies. Special remarks were made by our guest emcee Matt Thornton, who is the Cross Sports Talk Radio host, and Honorary Co-Chairs Cathy and Steve Saxon, long time Wilkinson Center supporters. Guests listened and danced throughout the evening to tunes from Frank in the Middle and Downtown Fever.

Anthony Contreras and Daniella Giglio*

Anthony Contreras and Daniella Giglio*

Babo Crain*

Babo Crain*

Raffle and Silent Auction Co-Chairs Anthony Contreras and Babo Crain did a fantastic job collecting one of the kind items and unique experiences. The silent auction featured items like sports memorabilia with an autographed shoe by the one and only Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and a Florida Beach vacation getaway including airfare. The raffle included dining extravaganza package with gift certificates to dine at some of the best restaurants and a cooking collaboration at the Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Farms in Blanco. If you weren’t interested in what the silent auction or raffle had to offer, there was also a Kendra Scott station set up where mystery jewelry boxes were sold for $60/per box. Each box contained a piece of jewelry that ranged in value from $60-$250. Flashbox Photobooth Dallas was set up to commemorate the evening with photos.

Walk in Dirk's Shoe*

Walk in Dirk’s Shoe*

We are so grateful for everyone who came out, supported and had a great time!  We could not have done it without our loyal constituents and our corporate and individual sponsors which included: Avison Young, Robert Baird, Marsha and Craig Innes, Paper City, The Retail Connection, Sewell Lexus, The T Shop, Veritex Bank and David Weekly Homes.

The night resulted in a total net amount of $141,061.80 that allow us to continue to provide pathways out of poverty for our clients. Until next year….

* Photo credit: Eric Priddy

MySweetWishList: ZooProud Bricks

According to ZooProud Campaign Co-Chairs Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning,

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Diane Brierlery (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

Jennifer Eagle (File photo)

“Our next big project for the Dallas Zoo is the Simmons Hippo Outpost, scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. This will be the first major animal exhibit to open at the Zoo since the Wilds of Africa premiered in 2010, and brings hippos back to the Zoo for the first time in 15 years. We have had the privilege of serving as the co-chairs of the private fund-raising effort for this project.

Dallas Zoo*

Dallas Zoo*

“Our ‘one wish’ to finish out 2016 is to sell commemorative bricks for the hippo exhibit. The money raised by the sale of these commemorative bricks will provide the final funding needed for us to bring the hippos back to Dallas.

“Bricks are available in three sizes and price points:

  • “12”x12” fieldstone paver – $2,500
  • “8”x8” brick – $1,250
  • “8”x4” brick – $500

“We think the hippo bricks will make a lasting, meaningful gift for family and friends this holiday season. In addition, donors will be helping the Dallas Zoo complete another outstanding habitat, which will play a significant role in the effort to protect these magnificent animals from extinction.

“To purchase a brick, simply visit the Dallas Zoo’s website at www.DallasZoo.com/Hippos or just contact Dallas Zoo Associate VP of Advancement Karen Hamilton at 469.554.7420.”

-By Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning, ZooProud Campaign co-chairs

* Graphic provided by Dallas Zoo

2016 Mission Olé Dazzled Chicken Scratch And The Foundry With Over-The-Top Festivities And Funding For Trinity River Mission

The only problem for 17th Annual Mission Olé guests on Thursday, October 27, was the arrival. As the newcomers’ luxury vehicles tried to locate the Trinity River Mission fundraiser at Chicken Scratch and The Foundry, some took a premature left turn and found themselves in an apartment parking lot.

Once recovering from the wrong-way turn, they were faced with vehicles with flashing lights. No, it wasn’t a police raid, it was a trio of road construction crews.

Day of the Dead human statues

Day of the Dead human statues

Once arriving, it was dazzling for both first timers and old timers as they were greeted by mariachis singing their hearts out. With multi-colored serapes wrapped around the chairs, the colorful tableclothes, arrangements of paper flowers and little yellow lanterns were the perfect setting. Chicken Scratch simply dazzled. Day of the Dead human statues were frozen in place. Face painters found themselves creating masterpieces non-stop. A fire pit glowed despite the 80-degree temperatures. An entire wall of silent auction items could hardly be seen because of the viewers checking out the merchandise.One gent even tried on the Villy’s Di de los Muertos bike for size.

Ann Kellogg Schooler, Cindy Turner, Margaret Spellings and Matt Schooler

Ann Kellogg Schooler, Cindy Turner, Margaret Spellings and Matt Schooler

Co-Chairs Lesley Chambless, Ann Kellogg Schooler and Margaret Spellings were stopped every two inches and being congratulated on the event. In turn the gals attributed the success to their advisor/Past Chair Cindy Turner.

Lesley Chambless

Lesley Chambless

Dennis and Laura Moon

Dennis and Laura Moon

Dolores Sosa Green

Dolores Sosa Green

Lynn McBee and Shannon Callewart

Lynn McBee and Shannon Callewart

While Ann and Trinity River Mission Executive Director Dolores Sosa Green embraced the theme — Day of the Dead — by having her face made up, Margaret, Lesley and other guests like Sunie and Steve Solomon, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn McBee, Shannon Callewart, Caren and Pete Kline, Sara and David Martineau and Gail Fischer with daughter Elizabeth Fischer and sons, Ford Fischer and Chad Fischer, steered toward the more traditional party look.

Chad Fischer, Gail Fischer and Ford Fischer

Chad Fischer, Gail Fischer and Ford Fischer

Cliff Fischer and Charles Haley

Cliff Fischer and Charles Haley

Cliff Fischer was talking with Charles Haley about their upcoming poker game that Cliff had won at Cattle Baron’s Ball.

On stage Rise and Shine played loud enough to be heard on the other side of the Trinity. And while the stage was strong enough to handle the band, organizers decided that it might not hold up for the Mission Ole dancers. No problem. The performances were held on the concrete walkway.  

Thanks to emcee Scott Murray pulling double duty as the live auctioneer, the net was $315,000, nearly double what was pulled in last year.

7th Annual Great Adventure Kick-Off Party Put “Train Your Brain” Sessions With The Puzzle Pros Up For Auction

January may seem a long time off, but it isn’t for the dedicated players of the 7th Annual Great Adventure Hunt. The Kick-Off Party at Nicole and Justin Small‘s home revealed some new twists and turns for the ChildCareGroup fundraiser, including the addition of the introduction of the Puzzle Pros. Check out this report from the field about the Pros and more:

Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift

Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift*

The first social event held at Nicole and Justin Small’s newly-renovated home was the Kick-Off Party on the evening of Tuesday,October 25, for the 7th Annual Great Adventure Hunt, benefiting ChildCareGroup. The expansive patio of the Small’s elegant mid-century modern North Dallas home and the beautiful fall weather created the perfect backdrop for nearly 100 guests including ChildCareGroup CEO/President Tori Mannes, Jennifer Sampson, Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift, Rena Pederson, Gladys Kolenovsky, Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone to mingle and practice puzzles for the most unique fundraiser in Dallas.

 

Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone

Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone*

Nicole Small and Erin Nealy Cox*

Nicole Small and Erin Nealy Cox*

The 2017 Great Adventure Hunt, presented by Alliance Data and co-chaired by the Smalls, along with Erin Nealy Cox and Trey Cox, will take place at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science on the evening of Saturday, January 28.  Returning to the Perot Museum will be déjà vu for Nicole, who was the Museum’s CEO for 12 years, leading the successful completion of the world-class downtown museum.

Pegasus Bank and Bright & Bright LLP sponsored the Kick-Off Party where the co-chairs made the exciting announcement of the event’s Puzzle Pros sponsored by Lyda Hill. The masterminds behind the Hunt’s fun and challenging puzzles are John Harris, Joe Mannes, Tom Nynas, Kemp Sawers and Bart Showalter. Longtime Hunters will recognize the puzzle gurus, who collectively have either won or placed in the event at least 10 times.

Kemp Sawers, Joe Mannes, John Harris and Bart Showalter*

Kemp Sawers, Joe Mannes, John Harris and Bart Showalter*

Nicole ended the evening by auctioning off three “Train Your Brain” sessions with the Puzzle Pros. Winners will enjoy exclusive, insider tips on solving puzzles for the Hunt over cocktails with the Pros.

The Hunt takes over the Perot Museum for the evening and turns the museum’s five-floors into fun and unexpected puzzle sites. During the Hunt, teams of six players compete against other teams to decipher wacky clues and solve puzzles. From inflatable gorillas and disappearing ink to edible clues, you never know what you will find! Judges tally the scores, and teams who solve the most puzzles correctly in the shortest amount of time receive special prizes and bragging rights.

The event annually raises $300,000 to support ChildCareGroup’s early childhood education programs. For 115 years, ChildCareGroup has been offering high impact, holistic services for vulnerable parents and children. By helping children start kindergarten ready to excel and giving parents the chance to pursue better educations and careers, ChildCareGroup empowers two generations to lift themselves out of poverty.

Since children learn through play, the Great Adventure Hunt allows to the community to give through play. The Hunt is a unique opportunity to have loads of fun while having a significant impact in the community.

Another sell out is anticipated and teams are going fast! Click here for more information or to reserve a team, or contact Kendal Kramer at 215.905.2404 or [email protected].

* Photos provided by ChildCareGroup