Park And Palate’s Down To The Roots Turned Klyde Warren Park Into The Ideal Grazing Spot With Boldfacers And Top-Tier Chefs

On the eve of Texas-OU, Park And Palate‘s Down To The Roots at Klyde Warren Park became a splendiferous open-to-the-skies-above cuisine center. So, while Uptown, Greenville Avenue and other party joints were elbow-to-elbow with out of town visitors on Friday, October 13, Klyde Warren had such heavy hitters as SMU’s First Couple Gail and Gerald Turner and Nancy and Randy Best grazing the grounds, thanks to the area’s top chefs led by Chef Dean Fearing. Here’s a report from the field:  

Gail and Gerald Turtner*

Randy and Nancy Best*

Klyde Warren Park kicked off Park & Palate on Friday, October 13, with Down to the Roots, its VIP celebration for park donors and sponsors. For its signature fundraising event, Klyde Warren Park transformed its normally bustling greenspace into a food-lover’s paradise with plush lounge areas, inviting highboy tables and of course makeshift kitchens for some of the state’s top chefs sprinkling the lawn. Guests like event co-hosts Lyn and John Muse and Carolyn and Rob Walters, Sheila and Jody Grant and Mayor Mike Rawlings enjoyed unique dishes created by top chefs including Dean FearingKent Rathbun, Jason Dady and Jon Bonnell

Carolyn Rose Walters and Rob Walters*

Jody and Sheila Grant*

The evening’s theme was “Pillars and Protégés”, in which well-known pillar chefs selected a friend, co-partner, or up-and-coming protégé to be paired with to create a unique collaborative dish for the night’s tasting. A friendly competition raised the “steaks” for the participating chefs and after a fierce (and filling) competition judges Luke Mathot, Richard Ruskell and Tara Green, president of Klyde Warren Park named Jason Dady and Jeff Bekavac the evening’s winners. The two received a pair of boots from event sponsor Lucchese for their Short Rib Tacos.

Tara Green, Luke Mathot and Richard Ruskell*

While the Blood Orange Margaritas and Jameson Sours flowed, guests enjoyed dessert from Fluff Bake Bar and Chef-host Dean Fearing while they danced to country music artist David Nail.

Thanks to the help of event sponsors like Republic National Distributing Company, Texas Capital Bank and Winston & Strawn LLP, Klyde Warren Park exceeded its revenue goal for the third year of this delicious fundraiser.

JUST IN: Park And Palate Plans Announced For Klyde Warren Park’s Mega Fundraiser With Loads Of “Pillars And Proteges” On The Menu

The Klyde Warren Park team has really been cooking up some plans for this year’s Park and Palate at Klyde Warren Park on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Yes, yes, that’s Texas-OU weekend, but what a great place to eat, drink and party with locals and out-of-towners. Now settle back for the news.

Park and Palate*

This year’s theme is “Pillars and Protégés,” and for good reason. The “pillars” will be established vets in the culinary centers cooking up dishes with “a partner (aka protégé) who will collaborate with them at the event to create a truly diverse lineup.”  

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, “We are thankful to have the support of so many talented, culinary icons for this year’s event. The Pillars and Protégés theme certainly brings a unique twist, which is what Klyde Warren Park is all about. We supply the fun; all you have to bring is yourself!”

For the Friday night exclusive “Down To The Roots” from 6 to 10 p.m., it’s a Lone Star roundup of culinary greats including Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s Restaurant in Fort Worth,  Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin, Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurant Group in San Antonio, Houston’s Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar and Monica Pope and our local fellas Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun.

Dean Fearing (File photo)

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Kent, who will also be serving as the Saturday Grand Taste chef host, commented, “I am so thrilled to participate in the third year of Park and Palate. Having the opportunity to select a partner chef at the event will be such a great way to have a one-of-a-kind lineup. We will be able to really showcase our passion through our collaborative dishes. It will truly be a rare and exclusive experience unlike any other Dallas event.”

Omar Flores (File photo)

Lisa Garza-Selcer (File photo)

Brian Luscher (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

And speaking of the Grand Taste, it will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 .m. with the following “pillars” already signed on board: Alex Astranti of Top Knot, Jeff Balfour of Southerleigh, Ryan Barnett of Lark on the Park, Nilton “Junior” Borges of The Joule Hotel, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate, John Coleman of Savor Gastropub, Jason Dady of The Jason Dady Restaurant Group, Kevin Fink and Page Pressley, of Emmer & Rye, Omar Flores, of Whistle Britches Chicken, Diego Galicia, of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, Lisa Garza-Selcer of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar, Jared Harms of The Pyramid, Ethan Holmes of Snap Kitchen, Nick Hurry of Proof and Pantry, Brian Luscher of The Grape, Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, Andrea Meyer of Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie, Kent Rathbun, Amanda Rockman of Café No Sé, Richard Ruskell of Cake Wars and Food Network, Joe Scigliano of Savor Gastropub, Jim “Sevy” Severson of Sevy’s, Callie Speer of Holy Roller, Philip Speer of Bonhomie, Aaron Staudenmaier of Lovers Seafood, Shuji Sugawara of Shinsei, Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Rico Torres of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, David Uygur of Lucia, Julie Vorce of Savor Gastropub, Nick Walker of The Front Room and Nicholas Yanes of Juniper with cocktails by Michael Martensen of Shoals.

Jody Grant and Tara Green*

Here’s a breakdown of how to eat your way through the Klyde Warren Park fundraiser:

  • The very, extra-special Down To The Roots on Friday night is limited to those signing on as underwriters and sponsors. Interested? Then just check with Tara and she can make your delicious dreams come true, while also helping support the park and its more than 1,300 free programs and events each year.”
  • Saturday’s Grand Taste is available by simply buying a ticket. Better lock yours down now before the Longhorns and Sooners get wind of this yummy shindig and decide to call Klyde Warren a post-game celebration. And while you’re at it, splurge and go for the VIP ticket that also includes valet parking, specialty cocktails, wines, food tastings, VIP Swag and early access to wine and spirit seminar. BTW, don’t hold off until the day of because there will be no tickets sold at the door.

Leading the two-day event will once again by Co-Chairs Lyn and John Muse and Carolyn and Rob Walters, presenting sponsor Republic National Distributing Company and media sponsor D Magazine.

A couple of suggestions:

  • This is definitely a date night because all ticket holders must be over 21 years of age. So, reserve that baby sitter ASAP.
  • Leave the car at home and Uber, Lyft, DART or walk. It’s gonna be a jam-packed event with a projected crowd of 2,600 wine and food lovers. You just know how you hate to hassle with navigating the streets. So, just sit back and let someone else do the driving.
* Photo provided by Klyde Warren Park

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Klyde Warren Park

Tara Green*

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green,

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

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


  • Dallas Children’s Theater*

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

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

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

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

    Imagination Playground*

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

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

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.

Park’s Park And Palate Will Have Even More Food And Fun For The Klyde Warren Fundraiser On October 21 And 22

Jody and Sheila Grant (File photo)

Jody and Sheila Grant (File photo)

When Sheila and Jody Grant took on the project of creating a park over Woodall Rodgers freeway, many thought they had pushed the dream envelope. But dang it, they pulled it off. Now Klyde Warren Park is the year-round place to play, dine and celebrate the coming together of Dallas downtown and uptown neighborhoods.

But Sheila’s and Jody’s involvement did end with the ribbon cutting. They’re just as giddy today as they were on the opening night when Owen Wilson and Jackie Evancho were among the celebrants back on October 24, 2012.

Jackie Evancho (File photo)

Jackie Evancho (File photo)

As proof of this commitment, Sheila just reported that she’ll be flying in from the American Ballet Theater performance in the David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22, Park and Palate, the annual Klyde Warren Park fundraiser. This year’s two-day food-athon is being co-chairs Carolyn and Robert Walters along with Lyn and John Muse and title sponsors Republic National Distributing Corporation and Central Market.

Hopefully, Sheila has her ticket for Friday night’s “Down To The Roots” because it’s already sold out. However, tickets are still available for the 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. “Grand Taste” on Saturday.

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Dean Fearing (File photo)

Dean Fearing (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

Headlining the food fest will be locals Kent Rathbun, John Tesar and Dean Fearing as well as San Antonio’s Jason Dady.

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

As for the chefs who will be cooking up a storm on Friday night, they’ll include Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks, Jill Bates of Fearing’s, Tyson Cole of uchi, Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurant Group, Robert Del Grande of Café Annie, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s, Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie, Sharon Hage of Sharon Hage Farm to Fork Consulting, Brian Johnson of Central Market, Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods, Kyle Nelson of Central Market, Michael Thomson of Michael’s Cuisine and Ancho Chile Bar, Julie Vorce of Savor Gastropub and Hugo Ortega of Backstreet Café, Hugo’s and Caracol.

And things only ramp up for Saturday with loads and loads of chef cooking up a storm including Jeff Balfour of Southerleigh, Melody Bishop of Lark on the Park, Richard Blankenship of CBD Provisions, Nilton Borges Jr. of The Joule Hotel, John Brand of Supper, Jermaine Brown of Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine, John Coleman of Savor Gastropub, Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurant Group, Ross Demers of On the Lamb, Brandon Drew of The Pyramid at the Fairmont Hotel, David Fingerman of Madrina, Omar Flores of Casa Rubia, Diego Galicia of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, Nick Hurry of Proof and Pantry, Dennis Kelley of Lark on the Park, Brian Johnson of Central Market, Geronimo Lopez of Botika, Brian Luscher of Luscher’s Red Hots and The Grape, Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, Andrea Meyer of Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie, Suki Otsuki of Mudhen Meat and Greens, Kent Rathbun, Timothy Rattray of The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, Justin Richardson of Brigid, Joe Scigliano of Savor Gastropub, Philip Speer of Bonhomie, Shuji Sugawara of Shinsei, John Tesar of Knife, Rico Torres of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, Julie Vorce of Savor Gastropub, Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo and Chicon, Nicholas Yanes of Juniper and more.

P.S — Park and Palate is an adults-only event. But there will still be “lots of free, family-friendly activities on the East Lawn during Park and Palate, including fitness classes, games, food trucks, music and more!”

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Klyde Warren Park

“One Day, Eighteen Hours, So Many Reasons to ‘Heart’ the Park!

“Misty is one of many yoga enthusiasts who regularly attends yoga classes at Klyde Warren Park. ‘It brings me peace that I can’t seem to find in my hectic day,’ she says. ‘It centers me. At the same time, classes like this show that yoga is for everyone just as much as Klyde Warren Park is for everyone.’



“Misty and her friends love the fresh air, the urban setting, but most of all, they love the price. Yoga in the park is one of over 1,300 FREE events and programs that the park offers throughout the year. From children’s activities to fitness classes, live music performances to lecture series, there is always something happening at Klyde Warren Park.

“Although the park is built, it costs roughly $3.5 million to run the park each year. North Texas Giving Day is an excellent way for the park to share our story that we continue to need the public’s support to keep the park clean, safe, and active. Gifts received through North Texas Giving day combined with our ‘I Heart the Park’ annual fund campaign allow us to provide free programs and events in the park that are enjoyed by over one million people annually.



“On September 17, during North Texas Giving Day, the park will offer eighteen continuous hours of free programming in an effort to highlight the many ways visitors ‘heart’ the park. The day will begin with a 6AM morning boot camp, and include free activities that highlight all that the park has to offer, such as Imagination Playground, special lunchtime activities, a Music Thursday concert, Karaoke on the Southwest Porch, and a few surprises along the way!

Yoga at Klyde Warren Park*

Yoga at Klyde Warren Park*

“Klyde Warren Park is excited to participate in North Texas Giving Day for a third year. Our goal is to more than double our giving totals from last year. We hope everyone will show how much they ‘heart’ Klyde Warren Park by participating in North Texas Giving Day and joining us for eighteen hours of free continuous programming.

“Misty says she and her friends plan to show their support for the park on North Texas Giving Day by attending Yoga, Music Thursday, and of course, making a donation. ‘We have to do our part,’ she says, ‘to keep the park the hub of free activity in Dallas.’”

-By Tara Green, President

* Photos courtesy of Klyde Warren Park

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Park & Plate

According to Park & Plate Host Chef John Coleman,

Park & Plate*

Park & Plate*

“Join us at the first annual Park & Palate on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26, at Klyde Warren Park. This two-day celebration of wine and food brings top chefs from around Texas together with celebs like restaurateur Jonathan Waxman and ‘Chopped’ judge Amanda Freitag for a weekend of pure indulgence.

“Friday night, you’ll get Down to the Roots as 12 top chefs battle it out with their modern take on comfort food. You’ll taste their creations while enjoying wine, craft cocktails and beer. Live music from roots-rock group the Paul Thorn Band will set the mood as you sip and savor against the sparkling backdrop of the Dallas skyline.

“Saturday offers a Texas-sized Grand Tasting where you’ll nibble and sip and mix and mingle with chefs, winemakers and cocktail wizards, then enjoy live cooking demonstrations as headlining chefs take the stage to show off their skills.

“The best part about Park & Palate? Zero guilt! All of the proceeds of this event go to support Klyde Warren Park and its incredible year-round free programming for the Dallas community. Check out the full lineup and grab your tickets while they last at

“Big thanks to our sponsors, Republic National Distributing Company, Central Market and Acqua Panna & Pellegrino!”

* Graphic provided by Klyde Warren Park

With Willy-Nilly Bill Gone With The Wind, Dallas Arts District’s 2015 Summer Block Party Is In Full Throttle For Tonight

It appears that the Dallas Arts District has more pull than most folks realize. With days and days of off-again, on-again rain thanks to Bill, tonight appears to be pretty clear just in time for the 2015 Summer Block Party.

Dallas Arts District Summer Block Party*

Dallas Arts District Summer Block Party*

It’s a true neighborhood gathering, with the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center and Klyde Warren Park opening their doors for family-friendly entertainment from 6 p.m. to midnight, and most of it is free. Of course, you want to know what attractions will be on hand in addition to performers from Dallas Solstice and United Dance Academy and a pop-up station for Cantoinette Studios to provide wearing art for the night. Here’s a smattering:

  • Crow Collection of Asian Art — In addition to At Home and At Court: Chinese and Japanese Paintings, the Crow Collection After Dark will have a documentary screening, community prayer flags and free meditation in preparation for the Dalai Lama’s visit next month.
  • Dallas Museum of ArtLate Nights at the DMA kicks off with a double feature night at the DMA with Tim Burton’s Batman showing at the Ross Avenue Plaza at 9 p.m. and The Avengers at 9:30 in the Horchow Auditorium. For those more active types, the DMA will have yoga, self-guided tours, a ceremonial bar provided by Deep Ellum Brewery, “an after-hours musical showcase featuring Cassie Holt and the Lost Souls” and so much more. In the Fleischner Courtyard, there will be an Arts District Courtyard Sale with “selected discounted merchandise from the CMA, the Nasher, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Crow Collection.”
  • til Midnight  at the Nasher**

    til Midnight at the Nasher**

    Nasher Sculpture Center — The annual ‘til Midnight launches its summer program with live performances in the Nasher Garden with The Walden Twins at 6 p.m. and SXSW 2014 Rock Band of the Year Quiet Company on stage at 7 p.m. To top off the evening there will be a showing of “A Fish Called Wanda” at 9 p.m.

  • Klyde Warren Park — Need you even wonder? It will be a parade of food trucks and the usual activities that never dull the senses.

BTW, at 7 p.m. Twitter will be the place to be #ArtHunt “to win prize bags from the participating organizations.”

Thank-you notes for all these festivities and the good weather should be sent to the Texas Commission on the Arts and The Dallas Foundation.

FYI: If you’re downtown, remember that starting at 3 p.m. North Harwood Street will be closed from Ross Avenue to Woodall Rodgers and Flora Street will be closed from Harwood to Pearl streets. And if you’re not going to Uber, here is parking info.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Arts District 
** Graphic courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center

Sheila And Jody Grant, Called ‘The Heart And Soul Of Klyde Warren Park,’ Receive The Linz Award To A Thunderous Ovation

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

At a private, pre-luncheon reception Wednesday, April 8, for Sheila and Jody Grant, winners of the 86th annual Linz Award, the beaming couple was accepting early congratulations for the award from guests including Margot Perot, Jonathan Martin, Laura Wilson, Jonathan Martin, Walt Humann, Lee Cullum, Kern Wildenthal, Ron Kirk, Caroline Rose Hunt, Patrick Sands and Gerald Turner. Near the door, Jody was joking that he had cut his “acceptance speech” down—from 45 minutes to just three or four. It was because of Sheila, someone across the room was confiding, that there’s a “No High Heels Allowed” sign in Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park.

Lee Cullum

Lee Cullum

Ron Kirk

Ron Kirk

Laura Wilson, Jonathan Martin and Margot Perot

Laura Wilson, Jonathan Martin and Margot Perot

In fact, many of the guests at the Hilton Anatole were talking about the award-winning park built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The Grants, after all, had orchestrated and led the years-long effort to build the landmark space—Jody as chairman of the park foundation, Sheila as chair of the capital campaign—and it was for those efforts that they were being honored with the prestigious Linz Award.

Presented by Zale Jewelers and The Dallas Morning News, the award is presented yearly to the individual whose “community and humanitarian efforts created the greatest benefit to the city during the last decade without having received monetary compensation.” Since 1991. the awards luncheon has benefited the community service fund of the Junior League of Dallas.

Forrest Hoglund

Forrest Hoglund

Welcoming the crowd of 450 to the award luncheon itself—it was held upstairs in a larger room at the Anatole—Forrest Hoglund said dryly that, during voting by the award selection committee, “There was an anonymous attempt to give the award to last year’s winner, but we easily beat them.” (Insiders chuckled, knowing that Hoglund himself had received the Linz in 2014.)

Following a lunch of tomato basil soup en croute, grilled petit filet of beef, risotto and rainbow carrots, and a chocolate walnut or berry mascaropone tart, Morning News publisher and CEO Jim Moroney told the crowd that, “It takes individual leadership to make real transformation possible … which takes me to our honorees. They had the conviction that you could build a park over the top of a highway,” Moroney said. “That took real conviction.”

Next William Solomon, who received the Linz Award a decade ago, called the Grants “the heart and soul of Klyde Warren Park,” having helped raise $50 million in private contributions and many tens of millions more in city, state, and federal funds for the park. The purpose of their effort, Solomon said, was to make “Dallas a more vital and inclusive place. The Grants literally willed the park into being.”

Bill Melton, Jody and Sheila Grant, Bill Solomon and Forrest Hoglund

Bill Melton, Jody and Sheila Grant, Bill Solomon and Forrest Hoglund

With that Sheila and Jody stepped up to accept the Linz, to a thunderous ovation. Sheila called the park a “place to celebrate traditions”—and a space that had been built “out of thin air. … The words ‘impossible’ and ‘can’t’ are not in [Jody’s] vocabulary,” Sheila asserted. “If I had $1 for every time we heard those words, we’d be living in splendor on the Riviera.”

Kern Wildenthal and David Dewhurst

Kern Wildenthal and David Dewhurst

When his turn to talk came, Jody credited Sheila with doing the heavy lifting on fundraising. “Try to pick projects that you can bring your wives in on,” he advised the men in the audience, because “women raise money better than men.” When he would phone to speak to “Mr. Do-Good” to ask for a contribution for the park, Jody recalled, he would wait seemingly forever for a callback. “But when Sheila called to ask to talk to Mr. Do-Good, they said, ‘When can we send the limo for you?’ ”

Grant also acknowledged former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was in the audience, for ushering $20 million for the park through the Texas Legislature. While Klyde Warren Park has been an amazing success, Jody concluded, there’s more to be done. Among the remaining tasks: expanding the children’s park, “connecting east to west,” and adding an ice skating rink.

Cindy And Bill Ward Provide A $25,000 Match Offer To Raise Funds For Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park seems to be the busiest place in Dallas. Morning, noon and night people, kids and pooches are enjoying Dallas’ latest and only over-the-freeway park. While it’s free for the walking, it still depends on money to maintain and improve it. That’s why the “i heart park” campaign was created.

Klyde Warren Park*

Klyde Warren Park*

The goal is to raise $50,000 by Friday, May 15. To help accomplish….and maybe even surpass this goal… Cindy and Bill Ward have issued a $25,000 matching challenge. For every dollar donated, the Wards will match it.

According to Cindy, “Klyde Warren Park has created new life and energy for our city, and it’s now time for us – the community – to give back. Bill and I have believed in this park from the beginning, and we are excited to see the community continue to come together to support our new town square through ‘i heart the park.’”

Just think. With the $25,000 already raised, this matching challenge just could result in $75,000 being provided. But remember. The deadline is May 15. So, skip that second cup of java and donate. Every penny donated ends up being two pennies going to award-winning Klyde Warren Park.

* Photo credit: Thomas McConnell

Klyde Warren Park Is Getting “Green”

Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Board Chair Jody Grant just announced that Tara Green has been named the president of Klyde Warren Park. She was previously the chief revenue officer for the American Airlines Center and COO of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee.

According to Jody, “We are so pleased to welcome Tara. She knows Dallas and sees the tremendous opportunities to make sure Klyde Warren Park continues to evolve as a special place for people to enjoy our great city. Her sports and entertainment background will give her the unique perspective to operate the Park as a premier venue that is free to the public.”

Tara replaces Mark Banta who resigned in January. She’ll officially start her job in mid-June.

Exactly Where And When Is The Art Ball?

Alas, there is some confusion about the upcoming Art Ball. So, let’s set the record straight. The Dallas Museum of Art’s website and other media outlets are reporting that the seated dinner and after-party will take place in the nearby Klyde Warren Park.

But as Dallas Morning Newsie boldface-naming expert Alan Peppard reported back on March 6,

“In related DMA news, the upcoming Art Ball has had a change of venue. The April 18 gala is being chaired by Jennifer Karol and Neiman Marcus scion Catherine Rose (daughter of former Neiman’s chairman Richard Marcus and granddaughter of Stanley Marcus).

“They had planned to take advantage of the new Klyde Warren Park as one of the venues for the gala, but the deck park is packed with visitors these days. Rather than intrude, Karol and Rose will withdraw into the confines of the museum.

“Designer Todd Fiscus is planning a massive dinner tent on the museum’s Ross Avenue plaza.”

That’s 99% right.

The 1% wrong?

The ball is on Saturday, April 13. Didn’t want you to show up on the wrong date.

UPDATE (4:00 p.m.) : The DMA website just posted that the dinner and after party will be held at the DMA.

We Hardly Got To Know Klyde Warren’s Mark Banta

Dining at the Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

Dining at the Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

It was announced this morning that Klyde Warren Park headman Mark Banta turned in his resignation. No official type reason was given. His last day will be Friday, March 1.

Until Mark’s successor is named, the park’s Chairman of the Board Jody Grant will be running things with the help of Celia Bashop, the park’s vice president of business affairs.

It was just last March that Mark took the job.

Downtown Dallas Welcomed The New Kid On The Block With A Picture Perfect Evening For Klyde Warren Park Donor Dinner

The donors dinner at Klyde Warren Park

Someone described it as a power crowd at the Klyde Warren Park donor dinner Wednesday, October 24. Actually it was a big, old block party for the newest kid on the block. With massive skyscrapers glittering on two sides, the Hunt Oil Building’s electronic sign reading “Welcome to the Neighborhood, Klyde Warren Park” and a partial moon peeking overhead, it couldn’t have been better.

Well, sorta.

As a result of blocking off streets for the dinner for the park connecting the CBD area with Uptown, an overly crammed traffic jam made Dallas look like a colossal parking lot. At some intersections, three policemen turned blue blowing whistles and waving their arms like West Texas windmills.

But once passed the clogged streets, the lucky guests found a sanctuary of beauty and calm. Alas, for this grand event you literally couldn’t buy a ticket. So how did folks get in? Well, it really helped if you had contributed substantially to the park, or were best buds with a big buck donor. Say, if you had purchased a lawn of sod like Scott Ginsburg or written a hefty check like Klyde Warren‘s pop, Kelcy, you could be part of the crowd.

There was a rumor that the event was a ripe opportunity for some smooth-talking party crashers [and Dallas does have them, you know] to schmooze their way into the 5.2-acre open park over Woodall Rodger Freeway. Yes, there was the ritual check-in, but old pro crashers know how to slide by that. Whether they arrived via valet or walked on up to the entry, they could just blend in with the crowd entering the area and chat it up, pretending to be one of the bigwigs’ guests. Then they were free to stroll the grounds that were divided into two sections: the cocktail reception with bars, high-top-tables and the smell of freshly laid mulch on the west side of the park, and the seated dining area with rows of white banquettes, brown wooden folding chairs and rectangular tables covered in multi-colored tableclothes extending from the stage.

During the cocktail reception the uninvited types might have had the chance to chat it up in perfect weather with the likes of Perots (Ross and Margot, Ross Jr. and Sarah in tight-fitting black leather slacks) and McDermotts (100-year old Margaret in her wheelchair and daughter Mary).

State Senator Florence Shapiro and Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams III

Other notable sights included Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams III dropping to one knee bowing his head to State Sen. Florence Shapiro in front of the Children’s Park. He later said, “This [the Klyde Warren Park] is the neatest thing I’ve seen built in Dallas!” .. Ebby Halliday being chauffeured around the park in a golf cart with Randall Graham trotting alongside like Secret Service. . . Shirley Miller stopping her electric scooter to talk with Myrna and Bob Schlegel. . . Ray Washburne, who had attended the presidential debates and was “feeling confident”. . . KERA’s Mary Anne Alhadef revealing that thanks to Lyda Hill‘s $1M gift, the station was able to hire Rick Holter as VP of news.

Elaine Agather


Despite the admonition to leave the heels at home, some gals like Grand Opening Event Committee Chair Sheila Grant, Chase’s Elaine Agather and emcee/KTVT-CH. 11’s Tracy Kornet could not be separated from their high-stepping ways. The gents, on the other hand, nailed the “park casual” with no problem. The most dressed-up fella was Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Chairman Jody Grant in coat and tie. The majority of the chaps wore the upper crust’s interpretation of Dallas casual attire — blazers, open shirts and slacks or jeans. Why not? This was a park, not a deb ball. Others making the rounds were Lucy Billingsley, Jeremy Strick, Tom Dunning, Ken Schnitzer, Diana and Sam Self, Brian Bolke, Faisal Halum, Janis and Roy Coffee and Laura and Tom Leppert.

Jody Grant

Donor dinnertime

When the call to dinner took place, the smart crasher would have just lingered until all had taken their seats and then slipped into one of the few empties toward the back for a country-style supper including huge white bowls and platters of boneless fried chicken, biscuits, macaroni and beans.

But chances are there were no crashers and who cared because everything was moving along quite swimmingly.

Owen Wilson and Laura Wilson

Sure, the schedule was running just 20 minutes late, but the brief  formalities of welcomes and introductions from the stage got things back on track. Honorary Chairman Owen Wilson kept his remarks short and especially sweet when he graciously presented white roses to Sheila with his mother Laura Wilson proudly watching.

Jody briefly advised the fellows in the audience that he had learned a thing or two about fundraising — “For you guys out there, turn the fundraising over to the women.” He claimed all

Ross Perot and Sheila Grant

the Mr. Bigs would call Sheila back, but not him. He continued reporting that “The donors are our heroes. . . This is the capstone of everything I’ve done in my life. . . We reached for the moon, and now the moon shines on Klyde Warren Park.”

Jackie Evancho

That part of the program ran so smoothly that the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance under the direction of Rei Hotada started earlier than the 8:45 scheduled start time.

For the non-KERA viewer or the person who’s never watched America’s Got Talent, they may have dismissed the announcement

Jackie Evancho

that Jackie Evancho would perform with the DSO. They may have even kept talking once the magnificent soprano voice was heard singing “When You Wish Upon A Star.” But then silence swept over the park. Looking up at the screen, it was apparent that the voice was coming from a diminutive girl barely 12 years old.

Museum Tower

Guests like Bobby Lyle, Lottye Brodsky, Diane and Hal Brierley, Lee Cullum, Roger Horchow, Caren Prothro and Nancy Dedman were mesmerized by the little blonde in the Cinderella blue ball gown. Her voice rose above the downtown traffic and briefly allowed the problems of the day to take a break. It was only in between songs that a schoolgirl giggle would be heard from the youngster.

Yes, it all came together that Wednesday with a perfect thank-you for The Klyde’s donors. Even the bickering Museum Tower and Nasher Sculpture Center seemed to call a truce for the perfection of an angelic child’s voice, the clear evening’s weather with the moon hovering overhead and the sanctity of the park. Just as Jackie sang, it was indeed an “enchanted evening.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Klyde Warren Park Donor Dinner

Jackie Evancho

Yes, it happened last week and the Klyde Warren Park is now a settled-in member of the downtown hood.

But you might want to check some of the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. It has photos from the donors dinner that took place on Wednesday, October 24, with a 12-year-old stealing the show. . . and it wasn’t Klyde.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Chills Out On Klyde Warren Park Opening Festivities Sorta

If you were planning on going to the Saturday morning opening festivities at the Klyde Warren Park only for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance at 11 a.m., scrap those plans. It’s just been announced that due to the predicted chill, the DSO won’t be able to perform. Weather- casters are suggesting that the thermometer may barely hit the low 50’s around that time. Alas, cold temps and wood-oriented instruments do not play well. And playing with mittens would probably be a daunting task for the even the DSO musicians.

Ah, but there will be music from a part of the DSO family. The DSO brass quintet will perform at the 10:15 a.m. ribbon cutting. Temperature prediction at that time: 47°.

There will still enough activities to keep bodies warm. MySweetCharity’s buddy D‘s Liz Johnstone has the low-down on what’s up this opening weekend of The Klyde.  

Noble Planting Efforts Are Frying

Why oh why, does one think that the same people who orchestrated the landscaping for the new-kid-on-the-block Belo Garden (sub. req.) also did the North Central Expressway (sub. req.)? Please, oh, please say they haven’t landed the greenery for “The Klyde!”

If you can’t do it right, plant cactus.

Scheduled Klyde Park Opening On October 27-28 To Test Mother Nature’s Temperment With Bad Weather Vets

We’ve known the inconveniences of its building. We’ve known the surprise we felt when it was announced that it was being named after a youngster. But now we finally know when it’s going to come alive.

Kit Sawers (File photo)

The 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park will officially celebrate its birth the last weekend of October. October 26-27, to be exact. Organizers plan to have a launch similar to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge celebration back in March, when guests shivered and smiled to Lyle Lovett, fireworks and family-friendly activities. Let’s just hope the weather will be a little user-friendly in late October for the $110M park’s debut. Former North Texas Super Bowl staffers Kit Sawers and Tony Fay have been brought on board to coordinate the event. So if anybody is a bad-weather veteran, these two have tales to chill a barbecue pit.

Even though the date is set, the breakdown of hoop-la is still under wraps. So no word on if there’s gonna be a big-buck event, concert or lemonade stand. That’s all to come. The brains behind the weekend just want to make sure that you have those days on your calendar locked down.

BTW: The British members of the MySweetCharity elves insist on calling it “Klyde Park.” They say it reminds them of jolly old “Hyde Park.”