2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Team Handed Out A Whopping $462,750 To 15 Park Cities Non-Profits

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

As the sun was slowly switching place with a perfect full moon on Thursday, September 7, the North Texas Food Bank’s Harvest underwriters were gathering at Mud Hen to celebrate the upcoming Friday, September 15 fundraiser. Across town in Highland Park Village’s Mockingbird Room, there were more happy faces. The occasion was the check distribution of 2017 La Fiesta Des Las Seis Banderas checks. Needless to say, when it comes to doling out the dough, the crowd is polished shoulder to shoulder.

Euan Blackman and Anne Besser

The biggest smiles were on the faces of La Fiesta Co-Chairs Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning along with Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson and Las Fiesta Board President Mary Hubbard. There was good reason. The take for the Saturday, June 10 black-tie fundraiser was $462,750. Just who says fundraising dries up in the summer?

On hand to accept checks and provide big old smiles were HPISD Superintendent Tom Trigg and wife Julie Trigg, The Family Place’s Paige Flink and Habitat for Humanity’s Euan Blackman.

Mary Hubbard, Michelle Johnson, Amy Hughes and Paige Flink

Tom Trigg, Kelly Walker and Jim Hitzelberger

The check presentation included:

  • Dallas Heritage Village — $5,000
  • Moody Family YMCA — $3,500
  • CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources and Education) — $12,640
  • Connecting Point of Park Cities — $19,500
  • The Elisa Project — $18,500
  • The Family Place — $10,000
  • Friends of the University Park Public Library — $30,500
  • HP Arts — $60,000
  • HPHS Community Service Council — $8,000
  • HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Center — $10,000
  • HPHS Science Festival — $1,600
  • HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council — $3,000
  • Highland Park Literary Festival — $26,000
  • HPHS Student Emergency Fund — $4,000
  • Highland Park Education Foundation — $250,510

More good news included the fact that Anne will cho-chair 2018 La Fiesta with her buddy Elizabeth Gambrell for the fundraiser that return to the Hilton Anatole for a summer sojourn.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Came Off Flawlessly Despite Some Behind-The-Scenes Hiccups

There was the most glorious, huge orange sphere hovering over North Texas on Saturday, June 10. After days of drizzle, lighting and thunder, the skies were pristine. And this was summer!

Over at The Fairmont Dallas, it was equally perfect for the 31st  Annual La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas … except for a needle and thread situation and too many toasts.

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

But first the backstory. Overseeing the months of La Fiesta preparations were Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning. Among the committee heads were the Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson. Those four were known for running a tight ship and still maintaining a smile and cool composure. Each year one of the six flags that had been part of Texas history was selected as the theme. This year it was France, and the ladies were delighted with the theme “La Fete Royal.” They were inspired by the 2017 beneficiaries (C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village) to raise the funds.

Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson

But hiccups happen even to the best.

The first one was a real hit. The Anatole had to pull out from holding the event due to a convention or something. Anne and Michelle put out calls and locked down The Fairmont. The smiles said it turned out to work with the French theme, since The Fairmont was French-owned.

But Anne, who will be overall co-chair with Elizabeth Gambrell for 2018, reported that not only would they be returning to the Anatole, but the Anatole team came through this year with additional staging without a charge or hesitation.  

As for the relocation, it required some adjustments. The tried-and-true, 17,967-square-foot Fairmont Regency Ballroom just didn’t have as much space as the 30,360-square-foot Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. So sacrifices had to be made. The number one was the dance floor, which meant no post-presentation dance for the couples. Another issue was accommodating all who wanted to attend. The tables of black-tie guests were downright cozy.

But it was all coming together. After all, it was the first time that the Duchesses, who had just finished their freshman year in college, were able to see former high school classmate. It was like a black-tie class reunion.

However, the mammoth group pictures that were to be taken in the ballroom as parents and friends cocktailed in the adjoining lobby ran into a bump in the road. Photographer James French and his team were already with cameras in hand. The ladder was set dead center at the end of the runway. The idea of photographing 40 Duchesses in ball gowns and their escorts was a daunting challenge. But James and his folks were old hands at this situation.

2017 Duchesses and escorts waiting for the final four

However, it seemed that not all the Duchesses and escorts realized this wasn’t a casual selfie. There was a schedule to be kept. The escort group photo was delayed by five minutes due to some MIA escorts. Next, the group photo of all 40 Duchesses and their 40 escorts was on the list. Only when the headcount took place, four Duchesses were missing. It seems they were “being sewn into their gowns.” Five minutes passed, then 10. The couples that had stood so erect for the photo setup were now seated on the stage. The clock kept ticking, and still the foursome was missing. Evidently one designer was responsible for all four dresses. When James was asked if they should go ahead and shoot the photo without the four, the presentation photo vet knew just the right answer: “That’s not my call.”

Napkin with honey bee ornament

Still they waited. Finally, just minutes before the ballroom doors opened, the tardy Duchesses arrived to applause by the 76.

Quickly, the group photo and the Duchesses’-only photo were taken. James removed the ladder and just in time, as the doors to the ballroom opened and the chimes called all 900 guests to their seats, where they discovered elegant place settings with napkins tied in bows and topped off with French symbolic honey bee ornaments.

Eliza Parker, Jackson Parker and Gwen and Doug Parker

Rick and Allison Kraft and Angela and Brad Cheves

Jack Gosnell and Ellison Gosnell

Around the room were the Parker clan (Gwen and Doug Parker with their kids Eliza Parker and Jackson Parker) to see son Luke Parker escorting Lillian Cockerell, Angela and Brad Cheves were on hand for son/escort Conner Cheves, who was escorting Duchess Sarah Unkefer, Leslie and Jack Gosnell were front-rowing it for daughter/Duchess Ellison Gosnell. Was it really that long ago that Jack had been the escort pick of the debutante crowd?

Rock Le Minuette

Rock Le Minuette

The presentation started off with the escorts parading from the back of the ballroom via the runway to their places on the stage. Then a couple arrived on stage dressed in 18th century French attire and started performing “Rock Le Minuette,” starting with an elegant Baroque  with the escorts in the background. Suddenly, the mood changed with the male assisting the young woman out of her billowing skirt revealing long legs encased in fishnet stockings. The tempo picked up and so did the couple as the gent picked her up on his shoulder and whirled around. Still the escorts stood solemnly. 

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escorts

After a brief welcome by Rebecca and Nancy, the escorts (Nick Alexander, Paxton Baird, Grayson Borrego, Henry  Bould, Watson Brown, Christopher Buell Jr., Harrison Buford, Ty Burke Jr., William Caldwell, Kevin Cassidy, Conner Cheves, JD Cochran, Cole Ellis, Robert Farrow, Vale Fitzpatrick IV, Stanton Geyer, Thomas Glieber, Chase Govett, Garrett Hall, Bobby Hrncir, Cade Kimzey, William Kraft V, Parker Lacour, Mitchell Laughlin, Spencer Lorio, Jack Martin III, Hoyt Matise, Charles Mencke III, Wade Nicolas III, Charlie O’Brien, Austin Overton, Luke Parker, Adam Rathjen, Turner Rejebian, Barton Showalter, Benjamin Smith, Zach Snelling, Sam Stewart, Matthew Vandermeer and Hunt Wood Jr.) were individually introduced and exited. Then the formal presentation took place, with eight Duchesses being introduced on their fathers’ arm. As each of the 40 Duchesses (Emily Anwar, Clara Beecherl, Elizabeth Bradshaw, Kate Brayshaw, Laura Brayshaw, Anna Buford, Jeanne Ann Bullington, Helena Burns, Ellie Bush, Keaton Calhoun, Emily Carvell, Lillian Cockerell, Annie Combs, Elizabeth Cooper, Katie Dalton, Elizabeth DeBeer, Fields Dunston, Maddie Fehlman, Ellison Gosnell, Claire Green, Kristen Haggerty, Elizabeth Hubbard, Shanley Huckabee, Savanna Jones, Hannah Jurgensmeyer, Kendall Klingaman, Lane McCormick, Alexandra McGeoch, Caroline McGeoch, Dorothy Meachum, Clare Obenchain, Caroline Robertson, Avery Roosien, Peyton Schlachter, Madison Stuart, Madison Tedford, Madeline Toole, Sarah Unkefer, Emily Weisfeld and Erica Yaguchi) walked the runway, emcee Al Raya described her duchy.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

It came off without a hitch on stage.

Jeanne Anne Bullington and Michael Bullington

Elizabeth DeBeer and Bob DeBeer

Claire Green and Arthur Green

Sam Dalton and Katie Dalton

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the same in the audience. During the early part of the presentation, the guests were quiet to hear the narration and to watch the deep bows. However, by the fourth round of eight couples, some adults had been fueled by trips to the bar, resulting in their returning to their tables and sounding oblivious that there were still Duchesses being announced. A couple of gals were feeling no pain as they greeted friends at a nearby table loud enough that the announcer couldn’t be heard.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

But the Duchesses and escorts soldiered on, concluding with all 80 on stage for a final bravo. They then joined their families and friends for a seated dinner, followed by dancing and a “late-night party” in the International Ballroom.

However, some of the honorees didn’t quite make it to the International Ballroom. It seems that the day’s activities may have gotten the best of one or two of them. It surely couldn’t have been due to imbibing, though, since organizers had stated in the program, “It is unlawful to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of twenty-one. Valid identification will be required.”

For more than 50 photos of the Duchesses and guests, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert!: 2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

Despite rumors that North Texas had been evacuated for the summer, The Fairmont looked like a high school reunion with more than 80 collegiates taking part in the 2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas gala on Saturday, June 10. With a ballroom filled to the max with friends and family, the Duchesses took full advantage of this year’s French influence with a flurry of fashionable colors, designs and, of course, tiaras.

 

And the escorts weren’t too shabby themselves in their white tie and tails.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escorts

While the post is being prepared, check out the dozens of gowns, gals and guys at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Weather Played Nice For La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas’ “Under The Stars” To Be Out In The Open At Gwen And Doug Parker’s Casa

Rebecca Gregory, Gwen Parker and Nancy Monning

When La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas organizers woke up to raindrops on their roofs, lightning in the air and thunder overhead, it didn’t bode well for their “Under The Stars” event on Friday, June 9. Sure, Gwen and Doug Parker’s 12,000-square-foot Park Cities home could handle the expected 300 Duchesses, escorts, parents, and underwriters. But they had so hoped for a true night under the stars.

Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga

Evidently, the evening’s Co-Chairs Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga had pull. By early afternoon, not only had the stormy weather gone elsewhere, but the temperatures became so downright friendly that one gal with bare shoulders thought out loud, “It might get chilly.”

As event photographer James French snapped photos out front, the highlights inside the home and in the backyard were:

  • The Parkers’ turf ground-covering validated Gwen’s decision to have it installed, instead of the need-be-mowed green stuff. Despite the rains earlier in the day, the big backyard with tables and chairs was dry and stiletto-friendly.
  • A string trio—two violins and a cello—were playing softly in the entryway.

    Ben Smith, Elizabeth Cooper, Clare Obenchain and Grayson Borrego

  • Elizabeth Cooper and Clare Obenchain admitted that their so-perfect tans were the real thing and not the spray-on variety.
  • Harrison Buford, Anna Buford, Claire Green and Robert Farrow

    In taking an accounting of high school roots, Robert Farrow was from Cambridge School, Anna Buford was a Hockadaisie and Harrison Buford and Claire Green were Highland Park Scots.

    Sonoma chicken salad croissants

  • The food on the dining-room table reflected the French theme, thanks to Sonoma chicken salad croissants, macaronis au fromage, steak au poivre crostini and spinach and mushroom quiche.
  • Doug Parker, who’s chairman and CEO of American Airlines Group, didn’t make it. He was out of town on business. Boo-hooed one attendee: “I’m sad Doug’s not gonna be here!” Parker’s presence was still felt, though: on the fireplace mantel in one cozy, white-plaster-walled room, there was a black-and-white plaque that read, “Behind Every Good Kid Is A Great Dad.”
  • Gwen Parker, looking around the house, said they were almost empty-nesters. Despite son Luke Parker in from New York University to be a La Fiesta escort and son Jackson Parker in from Nashville to watch his brother, the Parker household was down to daughter, Eliza Parker, still living in the nest while attending Hockaday.
  • Also in keeping with La Fiesta’s French theme, the servers wore red neckerchiefs and berets.

It was an early evening, though, because the big gala at The Fairmont was the next night, and a crowd of 900—believed to be the biggest ever—was expected to show up. Funds from the summer extravaganza will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser Offers Some Helpful Hints For This Weekend’s Fundraising Festivities

Anne Besser (File photo)

Just as Heloise provides household hints, so La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser has a suggestion or two for this weekend’s La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas comings and goings.

Since the Friday night event is taking place in a very cool residential area and Saturday’s gala is at The Fairmont, Anne is recommending the following:

  • Uber/Lyft
  • Have a friend drop you and your buds off
  • Use the buddy system and carpool
  • Despite a slight chance of Friday night having a touch of drizzle, don’t worry. The home is big enough to handle the guests inside.
  • Saturday night, park at the Baptist Church multi-level parking lot
  • Saturday night, get yourself a room at The Fairmont and slumber-party it. Think room service for Sunday morning breakfast. No, make that late morning brunch.

This annual summer fundraiser is showy, fun and family-oriented.

Sold-Out Alert!: La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas (File photo)

It’s still three weeks away, but the La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Presentation Gala on Saturday, June 10, is already sold out!

According to La Fiesta Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser, “The La Fiesta Gala is sold out and we have a wait list.  We are at the Fairmont and our seating is limited.

“Several underwriters have generously returned their Gala seats in exchange for additional Fiesta Under the Stars invitations. Thanks to them, we are moving patrons off the wait list and into Gala seats.”

So, who says that North Texas is abandoned in the summer and tuxedos hibernate in closets? There is gonna be a ballroom filled to the brim with the black-tie set on June 10. So, don’t dilly-dally around. Get on that wait list now.

Proceeds from the swell-elegant event will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Center, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Luncheon Honors The Mothers Of 2017 Duchesses And Escorts And Reveals 2018 Co-Chairs

Kathy Sockwell and Pauline Neuhoff

If you didn’t have a 20-ish type son or daughter, the gathering at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, April 19, sure made you wish you did. At noon nearly 400 gals gathered for the La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas luncheon honoring the mothers of the 2017 duchesses and escorts.  

Luncheon Co-chairs Pauline Neuhoff and Kathy Sockwell had the entry hall decked with gowns of past duchesses like Camille Adele Humphrey (2014), Amelia Bryan Crank (2011) and Madison Zoe Brittingham (2012).

Amelia Bryan Crank gown (2011)

Madison Zoe Brittingham gown (2012)

Camille Adele Humphrey gown (2014)

In the hallway, the annual preview miniature display of the 2017 duchesses’ gowns was a true stop-gape-and-check-out-the-next.

2017 mini-duchesses

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

La Fiesta Co-Chairs Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning, donning the Las Fiesta necklaces, admitted that they were thrilled about not just the year’s French theme but also about plans for 2018.

Little did the girls know that following the formal introductions of the moms and performance by the Highland Park High School Choir, the 2018 co-chairs would be announced — Anne Besser and Elizabeth Gambrell.

But 2018’s still months away. In less than three months, more than 40 duchesses will be presented at the Omni Dallas. Comme c’est sucré.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Moms Celebrated The Gala’s French Flair At Chanel Dallas Boutique With Sips And Lipsticks

Making the rounds Thursday, February 23, was a killer. As awards were being handed out by Rainbow Days at the Bush Center, it was a scamper to Highland Park Village’s Chanel, where Chanel Dallas Boutique Director Pilar Bleakley hosted a reception for the mothers of the 2017 La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas duchess and escorts.

Nancy Monning, Pilar Bleakley and Rebecca Gregory

Can you say, “Blow out!”? La Fiesta Co-Chair Nancy Monning admitted that it was a true honor to have had Chanel hold the event that was being chaired by last year’s La Fiesta Co-Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell. And evidently all the moms agreed with their presence.

Missy Rothwell, Maria Constantine and Eloise Meachum

But the 80 or so ladies didn’t just succumb to being honored, they just loved the video with designer Karl Lagerfeld, the timeless Chanel designs, getting to know each other and shopping. Of course, the hottest item was lipstick, with Nancy laughing that “we’ll have La Fiesta Lips by Chanel.”

As for the refreshments, they were donated by Two Sisters Catering’s Connie Chantilis, who just so happens to be the sister of Rosanne Beck, who creates the custom La Fiesta invitations.

This year’s theme for the Saturday, June 10th fundraiser will be French, in honor of the French connection with Texas. So having the moms’ reception at the French couture Chanel boutique was a natural.

But Nancy and her La Fiesta Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory have proved their flexibility on another event. It seems that the La Fiesta “Tips and Tidbits” was scheduled on Wednesday, May 10. Oops! After it was announced that the New Friends New Life Luncheon with Ashton Kutcher would be taking place at the same time, Nancy and her La Fiesta Co-Chair simply “moved our event until 1:00 the same day, so we can attend both.”

Another change of plans was the location of the presentation gala itself. Despite being originally scheduled to hold the fundraiser gala at the Anatole, the hotel had to pull back due to a pharmaceutical convention. No problem. A couple of phone calls by Nancy, Rebecca and Presentation Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson resulted in the gala returning to French-owned Fairmont Hotel. Ooh-la-la.

JUST IN: 2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses And Escorts Revealed For June Presentation

Central Expressway and the Dallas North Tollway were so festive last night. In one direction all the lights were red from brake lights. In the other direction it was brilliant white thanks to headlights. And then there were those flashing red-and-blue lights of emergency vehicles rushing through the crowd of cars.

Highland Park High School Park Version singers

But over at Belo Mansion, the glow was candlelight flattering for the announcement of the 2017 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas announcement. With the Highland Park High School Park Version singers providing the music, duchesses, escorts, parents and organizers came together for the reveal of the 2017 crop of duchesses and escorts.

Anne Besser, Megan Saustad and Lori Martin

According to La Fiesta Gala co-Chair Anne Besser, La Fête Royale will take place at the Fairmont on Saturday, June 10.

Making the bow on stage will be duchesses Emily Sarah Anwar, Clara Elizabeth Beecherl, Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, Katherine Tinker Brayshaw, Laura Dayton Brayshaw, Anna Hampton Buford, Jeanne Anne Bullington, Helena Elizabeth Dillon Burns, Elizabeth Bush, Keaton Lee Calhoun, Emily Lina Carvell, Lillian Allene Cockerell, Annalee Vose Combs, Elizabeth Bell Cooper, Kathleen Elizabeth Dalton, Elizabeth Kate DeBeer, Fields Elizabeth Dunston, Madeline Grace Fehlman, Ellison Ansley Gosnell, Claire Marie Green, Kristen Mackenzie Haggerty, Elizabeth Anne Hubbard, Shanley Kathryn Huckabee, Savanna Megan Jones, Hannah Jane Jurgensmeyer, Kendall Elizabeth Klingaman, Katherine Elaine McCormick, Alexandra Lane McGeoch, Caroline Graham McGeoch, Dorothy Anna Meachum, Carolyn Clare Obenchain, Caroline Riley Robertson, Avery Caroline Roossien, Peyton Blair Schlachter, Madison Kay Stuart, Madison Nicole Tedford, Madeline Grace Toole, Sarah Jean Unkefer, Emily Rose Weisfeld and Erica Marie Yaguchi.

Serving as the duchesses’ escorts will be Alex Nicholas Alexander, Paxton Douglas Baird, Grayson Robert Borrego, Henry Blake Bould, Watson Holmes Brown, Christopher Roy Buell Jr., Harrison Rucker Buford, Tyler Frank Burke Jr., William Hasten Caldwell, Kevin Patrick Cassidy, William Conner Cheves, John Daniel Cochran, Coleman James Ellis, Robert Joseph Farrow, Robert Vale Fitzpatrick IV, Stanton Lawes Geyer, Thomas Frank Glieber, Chase Weston Govett, Garrett Powell Hall, Robert Lukken Hrncir, William Cade Kimzey, Frederick William Kraft V, Jacob Parker Lacour, Mitchell Louis Laughlin, William Spencer Lorio, John Goolsby Martin III, Hoyt Browning Matise, Charles Theodore Mencke III, Wade Nicolas III, Charles Edward O’Brien, Austin Thomas Overton, Lucas Grayson Parker, Adam Walker Rathjen, Bradford Turner Rejebian, Barton Bowers Showalter, Benjamin Robert Smith, Zachary Taylor Snelling, Samuel Morgan Stewart, Matthew Lake Vandermeer and William Huntington Wood Jr.

Earlier in the day, the duchesses attended the Duchess Dip at Tootsies to learn the ins-and-outs of bowing.

Chairing the overall 2017 La Fiesta events (and there are a lot of ‘em) are Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning. Joining Anne in co-chairing the gala will be Michelle Johnson.

This year’s black-tie gala will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Except For A Few Tardy Escorts, La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Went Off With Perfect Bows By the 2016 Duchesses

It was the last black-tie hurrah of the 2016 spring season. While temperatures proved summer was indeed setting up residence, La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas types were dressed to the nines on Saturday, June 18. The honoree of the day should have been the person who created A/C.

At 5:40 p.m. as family and friends gathered in the Chantilly Ballroom’s lobby, the ballroom itself was a flurry of activity. All the staging was nicely in place. Two large screens faced each other from the far side of the ballroom. A multi-tiered stage with columns and a huge fan featuring the six flags of Texas served as the backdrop. Across the way at the back of the room was a stage for the band, a dance floor and platforms for videographers and production crews. In a corner to the side of the stage was a small stage for the presentation band and a mic for the speakers.

But the videographers, bands and speakers were not to be found at this time. No, it was time for the official photographs of the Duchesses and their escorts. As the Duchesses stood to the side of the stage, the escorts assembled on stage for the first photo of the night. Well, most of the escorts that is.

Like a vet wrangler of cats, photographer James French stood on a ladder hollering orders first to the group of escorts on stage. “You on the top row on the end. No, the top row. Yeah, you. Step down.”

Finally all with gloved hands clasped standing like a team of football players in white tie, the photos were taken.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

Then it was time for the photo of the couples. That’s when the problem was discovered. Standing among the couples were a handful of beautiful Duchesses without escorts. An adult shouted to one of the girls, “Where’s your escort?”, as if the Duchess has hidden him in the storage room. The Duchess raised her shoulders and motioned with her hands, “I don’t know.”

Before that reality hit home, three white-tie escorts came bounding in the room and hustled to the ladies in waiting. As French and the rest of the advisors did a quick check, they realized they were still three escorts short. As if on cue, the last three rushed into the ballroom, just as French realized that the “done” escort photo was going to have to be “redone.”

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

Finally the group photo, the Duchesses photo and the redo escort photo were done. French hustled off hollering to the escorts, “If you’re going to have a family photo done, go now.” Escorts scampered.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

By 6:16 p.m. the ballroom was now devoid of Duchesses, escorts, and French.  In their place were servers setting up tables. One organizers was heard to say, “Get ready for round two.”

In the meantime the crowd in the lobby had become a selfie extravaganza. While some might think it was due to the overload of collegiate types home to support their former classmates, the adults were into the memory-making photography, too. One leggy young thing with a thigh high slit sprinted across the lobby on nose-bleed stilettos like a gazelle to greet her pals.

Chris O'Neill, Isabel O'Neill, Connie O'Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O'Neill

Chris O’Neill, Isabel O’Neill, Connie O’Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O’Neill

La Fiesta Co-Founder Pierce Allman was with Connie and Chris O’Neill talking about their son, Jack O’Neill, escorting his granddaughter Allie Beth Cowan. All-dolled up Gala Co-Chairs Elizabeth Gambrell and Rebecca Gregory didn’t show any signs of having coordinated the day’s preparation. Others in the crowd included Linda Shiffer, Karen Young, Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber, Cecily Work, Duchess mama Mary Humphreys Parker, Amy Hughes, MaryMichael McCartin, Emily Anwar, Lily Cockerell, Arden Wynn, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson.

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Soon the signal was given that the main event was getting ready to start. Running a couple of seconds late, the lights in the ballroom dimmed at 6:45, the A/C cranked up, so even the wooliest tuxedoed guest would feel right at home and the crowd of guests moved into the ballroom.

The doors opened and initially only five or six senior types ventured in, but within minutes they were followed by a flood of guests making their way to their assigned tables for dinner and applauding. Watching the various generations of guests make their way into the ballroom, the questions of heels was noted. Some guests took long strides and looked like they had been born in stilettos. Others looked like they’d had their feet bound as they hobbled their way to their tables.

But these guests weren’t finished chatting. At 6:52 “the voice” over the PA asked guests to “take their seats. The program will being in 15 minutes.”

As some heeded the call, it was noted that the video crews were outnumbering the still photographers.

Three minutes later “the voice” warned “the program will being in 10 minutes.” Still the guests had a lot of hugging and talking to do and one couldn’t really blame them. After all, some of these collegiate types hadn’t seen each other since graduating from high school last year.

But “the voice” was not to be ignored. At 6:59 sounding like a call to arms, “the voice” announced for guests “to take your seats. The program is about to begin.” No more of the minute countdown. The time had come and there was no turning back.

Well, that may have been well and good, but the masses kept pouring in and not settling down to business. Over the PA, “Chicago That Toddlin’ Town” played. Interesting choice.

Uh, ho. At 7:04 the doors closed, the music stops and still a few stalwarts keep standing and talking. “The voice” returns. His credibility is on the line. He repeats that the program is about to begin. There’s just the slightest tinge of a sounding like a father, who isn’t falling for his kid’s excuse for being past curfew. This time the message came across and seats were almost filled. Alas, at 7:07 he gave it one final effort. Evidently there were a number of people with hearing challenges.

But at 7:08 the stage lights came up and the last standing guests were seated. The main doors of the ballroom opened and the escorts marched in and onto the stage. Yes, all the escorts were accounted for. They were followed by six beautifully dressed folklorico dancers, who performed flawlessly on stage. After all, this year’s them was “Viva La Fiesta! — Celebrating The Splendors of Mexico.”

Kaitlyn Gamster

Kaitlyn Gamster

Following very brief remarks by La Fiesta Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell, the presentation was underway. First there was the presentation of the escorts, who disappeared off stage. Then eight escorts returned to places on the multi-tiered stage. The first Duchesses were individually escorted centerstage by their fathers and joined by their escort. Each Duchess represented a unique duchy (i.e. the Duchess of Monarch Butterfly, the Duchess of Cinco de Mayo, the Duchess of Palacio de Bellas Arts, etc.) with her gown reflecting her theme. Following the Duchess’ bow, her father presented her with a white rose and she rewarded him with a kiss on the cheek. As the father left the stage, she Duchess and her escort returned to the escort’s place on the tier. Despite having 40 Duchess presented in five groups, it all came off flawlessly.

Chronicling moments was potential Duchess-to-be Kaitlyn Gamster with her cellphone.

The finale had all 40 Duchess and their escorts on stage for a standing ovation. Then they promenaded down the runway to the dance floor for the first of many dances to come.

For more photos of the Duchesses, their escorts and the whole goings-on, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Be prepared because there are a heck of lot of ’em.

Fajitas Under The Stars Had La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Guests Partying At Denise and Larry Wolford’s Backyard Oasis

Those who thought that North Texas had been evacuated due to the arrival of summer temperatures flirting with the three-digit plateau were dead wrong. And if they wanted proof, they just needed to try to maneuver their car along Lakeside around dusk on Friday, June 17.

It was as tight a fit as bark on a tree. As one luxury SUV tried to negotiate the drive with cars parked curbside on both sides, the “Ouch” sound of its side mirror on the passenger side sounded the fact of being knocked for a loop. It was just too close for comfort.

Mariachi musicians

Mariachi musicians

But it was well worth the jam. The draw was the La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas’ “Fajitas Under the Stars” at Denise and Larry Wolford’s fabulous homestead with palm trees and water features along with mariachi musicians greeting guests at the front entrance.

Connie and Chris O'Neill

Connie and Chris O’Neill

Kevin and Rebecca Gregory

Kevin and Rebecca Gregory

Lisa and Stewart Rogers, Debra and Lewis Ropp, Jeremy and Anne Besser and Cory and Lori Martin

Lisa and Stewart Rogers, Debra and Lewis Ropp, Jeremy and Anne Besser and Cory and Lori Martin

While most of the 300 guests including Anne and Jeremy Besser, Mary and John Perreault and past La Fiesta Gala chairs (Connie O’Neill with husband Chris O’Neill, Lori Martin with husband Cory Martin) and 2016 La Fiesta Gala Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory with husband Kevin Gregory arrived in frilly sundresses and cotton shirts, Jack Gosnell showed up as if he were going to seal a deal. Jack explained that he had just come directly from work.

Jack and Leslie Gosnell and Mary and John Perreault

Jack and Leslie Gosnell and Mary and John Perreault

It was a sorta get-to-know-you-better occasion, since the La Fiesta duchesses and their escorts had only just learned the night before of their matching.

Wolford oasis

Wolford oasis

Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell

Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell

As the younger set took over the Wolfords’ air-conditioned home, their parents seemed right at home around the incredible pool. Breaking from the rest of the crowd, Duchess Avery Campbell and James Robertson found the walking bridge over the creek to the covered terrace overlooking the oasis. Across the pool was the three-car, drive-thru garage that had been turned into a Mexican buffet. The adjacent auto courtyard was filled with tables and chairs and a DJ playing the tunes under twinkling lights and fans everywhere.

In the days leading up to the event, La Fiesta Co-Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell had been worried about the sporadic storms that had become common. This night was the main reason. But luckily, Ma Nature played nice with a clear sky overhead complete with stars.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Luncheon Honored The 2016 Duchesses With Butterflies, Dolls And A Touch Of Mexico

With the longest legs since a giraffe convention, the 2016 La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas duchesses gathered for a luncheon on Tuesday, June 14. Luncheon Co-Chairs Mary Van Armistead and Karen Keith knew how to pick the perfect setting for the event. They arranged to have it at Amy and Malone Mitchell’s estate along Turtle Creek.

The traditional gathering of the gals was all in preparation for the Las Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas gala just four days away. Not a split end nor a spot of cellulite was on the premises. But there were plenty of flighty types. No, not the guests. Rather the butterflies that were on the name tags and that decorated the luncheon tables from napkin rings to cupcakes.

Elizabeth Gambrell and Elizabeth Magee

Elizabeth Gambrell and Elizabeth Magee

Mary Lamar and Beth Obenchain

Mary Lamar and Beth Obenchain

And while the house was a spellbinder, as many found out, the adorable dolls on display in the great room were the main draw for young and older guests alike including La Fiesta Gala Chair Elizabeth Gambrell, Elizabeth Magee, Beth Obenchain and Mary Lamar.

Duchess dolls on display

Duchess dolls on display

Each doll wore a miniature version of the full-length gowns that the duchesses would be wearing at the ball benefiting the 2016 La Fiesta beneficiaries including CARE, Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place/HPISD Be Project, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency fund, HPHS Youth and Government and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft

Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft

Nancy Neuhoff and Avery Campbell

Nancy Neuhoff and Avery Campbell

Still, some of the duchesses like Avery Campbell, Nancy Neuhoff, Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft, couldn’t help but wander the hallway to check out the rest of the house including the den overlooking the creek.

All too soon, the ladies were called to order and were heading to a luncheon that had a definite Mexican flavor. And why not? This year’s Gala theme is “Viva La Fiesta! — Celebrating the Splendors of Mexico.”

 

Round Robin 8/27 Part I: DSOL Reception, La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Check Presentation And Stars And Stripes Festival Kick Off

As a warm-up for the upcoming fall fundraising season, the evening of Thursday, August 27, was a real workout all over town. Here is Part One of the evening’s activities:

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Past Chair Reception

Venise Stuart

Venise Stuart

Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis

Jolie Humphrey

Jolie Humphrey

Tincy Miller

Tincy Miller

Just up Preston Road, Tootsie’s upper level was a showcase of formal evening gowns. And checking out the dazzling threads were members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League with all types of DSOL Presentation Ball chairs doing the modeling like Kay Weeks, Dixey Arterburn, Jolie Humphrey, Sarah Frazee, Venise Stuart, Melissa Lewis and Tincy Miller, who founded the event in 1987. Providing the background of each of the models’ involvement with the ball plus the 2015-2016 fashion trends was Jan Strimple, who will manage to produce the extravaganza on the Meyerson stage on Saturday, February 20.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Check Presentation

Mary Hubbard, Tom and Julie Trigg and Lori Martin

Mary Hubbard, Tom and Julie Trigg and Lori Martin

Anne Besser and Kathleen Whalen

Anne Besser and Kathleen Whalen

Just south of Tootsie’s on Preston Road in Highland Park Village’s Mockingbird Room, the 2015 La Fiesta De Las Banderas Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard and Lori Martin were doling out $454,950 to recipients like The Family Place’s Paige Flink, University Park Library’s Kathy Cosgrove, Sharon Martin, Barbara Daniel and Julie Nunez and Highland Park Literary Festival Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Kathleen Whalen.

New kid-on-the-block Highland Park Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg and his wife Julie Trigg were feeling right at home among the Parkies.

Stars And Stripes Film Festival Kick Off

Just down the way in HP Village at the movie theater, Stars And Stripe Film Festival Co-Chairs Tanya and Pete Foster were hosting the kick-off of the Sons Of The Flags fundraiser.

Ryan Parrott, Mary Meier and Tanya and Pete Foster

Ryan Parrott, Mary Meier and Tanya and Pete Foster

After SOTF founder/President/CEO Ryan Parrott briefly explained how important funding was to help military, first responders and civilian burn victims, Tanya and Pete revealed plans for the festival that will run Thursday, November 12 thru Sunday, November 15, at the Angelika.

Tanya told how Lynn and Allan McBee had been the chairs for the first festival last year and “They set the bar really high last year.”

Pete then explained how the number of new burn victims outnumbers burn specialists, creating a lack of available care.

Syd and Margaret Carter

Syd and Margaret Carter

Honorary Co-Chairs will be Margaret and Syd Carter with SOF Board of Director Connie Boucher chairing the luncheon at the Dallas Country Club featuring retired Gen. Tommy Franks on Friday, November 13.

Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert introduced a reel of trailers promoting just a smidgen of the films to be screened at the festival including “Patton,” “We Are Soldiers” and a documentary on 9/11 first responders,

Sons of the Flag Director of Development Mary Meier reported that already $75K had been raised and emphasized that people should stay after the screenings of the movies for the Q&A’s. For instance, the Native American community is bringing in WWII code talkers to discuss “Windtalkers.” Honorary Co-Chair Syd will speak at the end of “Bridges of Toko Ri.” Following the showing of “Patton,” the late Gen. George Patton’s grandson, George Patton Waters will discuss “life with George.”

While individual tickets don’t go on sale until October, sponsorships are available now.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Celebrates 30 Years Of Park Cities Fundraising With 40 Bowing Duchesses

A snapshot of the area in front of the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom on Saturday, June 13 — hundreds of splendiferously dressed Park Cities types in formal attire in the reception area and Southwest Airlines folks like recently retired pilot Randy Henderson and Phyllis Dooly passing by in beach attire.

The hotel was hosting the extremes on this night. The Southwest crew was holding its annual party for 2,500 in the Trinity Ballroom, while La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas was proving that Dallasites don’t let a little thing like summer slow down the formal fundraising activities.

While La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas (translation: The Celebration of the Six Flags) may seem like a mouthful of words, it has grown over the past 29 years to support countless organizations. This year’s crop included C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place/HPISD Be Project, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Model United Nations, HPHS Science Festival, HPHSA Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Pierce and Allie Beth Allman

Pierce and Allie Beth Allman

As part of the 29th year anniversary, La Fiesta founders Lindalyn Adams, Pierce Allman and Jennie Reeves were the honorary season co-chairs and were just downright giddy and amazed at how their little brainchild had grown into such a major event.

Back in 1986, their original purpose was to “save the oldest house in Highland Park from demolition by moving it to Old City Park.” That first event was held in Highland Park Village, with six duchesses representing Park Cities families “in historically accurate gowns representing the six flags of Texas.” Since that time more than $6.9M has been raised benefiting various Park Cities programs.

Mary Hubbard

Mary Hubbard

This night was the culmination of La Fiesta Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard’s and Lori Martin’s directing countless volunteers, who had arranged for 40 duchesses and their escorts to be officially presented to their families and friends. In the weeks leading up to the big night, there had been so much activity besides the creation of the gowns that reflected each duchess’s title. There had been numerous receptions held at private homes, the luncheon at Belo Mansion with the display of the gowns on dolls co-chaired by Tracy Martin and Jennifer Patterson, and now the gala itself that was being co-chaired by Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell.

2015 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas escorts

2015 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas escorts

In the ballroom, event photographer James French and his team were doing the formal portraits of the duchesses and escorts. That in itself was a special event. With one photographer atop a ladder, James had to raise his voice to be heard over the chatter of 80 duchesses and escorts. Sounding like a football coach trying to shout plays, he managed to get the 40 gents in white tie and tails in place for their photo. As soon as it was thumbs-up on that shot, he gave the marching orders for the duchesses to join their escorts on stage. This one was a wee bit more challenging. One duchess was hidden behind another couple. Calling duchesses and escorts by their names, it was apparent that James knew each and every one. After all, he had shot their individual portraits.

With some maneuvering of couples, the problem of the missing duchess was solved.

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

The third and final shot was of the duchesses only. Unlike the “guys’ photo set-up,” where the fellows were shoulder-to-shoulder, the ladies required spacing to allow for the best presentation of their full-length gowns.

Brooke Strodel and Dan Strodel

Brooke Strodel and Dan Strodel

Unlike other presentation balls, where the gowns are snow white, the 40 duchesses’ gowns looked like a collection of gems with the array of colors because each gown was to reflect the duchy represented. For instance, Brooke Strodel was Duchess of the Bluebonnet, so her light blue gown was highlighted by a full-length sash of blues.

As soon as James declared the shoot done, the duchesses made their way down the stairs from the stage to await their formal entry on stage escorted by their fathers, scheduled for 7 p.m.

Outside the ballroom, parents, family members and friends seemed almost giddy. Sure, there was a monsoon going on outside, but these folks were just pleased to have a reason to get all gussied up. It was nice to dress up after weeks of casual pool parties.

Lori Martin, Lindalyn Adams and Cory Martin

Lori Martin, Lindalyn Adams and Cory Martin

La Fiesta Co-Chair Loris Martin topped off her Monique Lhuillier gown with her grandmother’s bracelet and earrings from her husband Cory MartinAllie Beth Allman had recovered from her strep throat and was in Dior with husband Pierce in a Nazareno Gabrielli tuxedo that he’d gotten for his daughter’s wedding…Escort PJ Foster’s mom Tanya Foster in Michael Kors and husband Pete Foster were joined by Amy Davis in Stella McCartney. Amy was doing double duty with daughter Hannah Davis as a duchess and son Louis Horn V as an escort…Debbie Francis was surrounded by family. In addition to husband Jim Francis, her dad Bill Bobo, who was preparing to turn 91, was on hand for Debbie’s niece Kaelson Little’s presentation. Next on Debbie’s agenda is preparing for the Brain Health Performance groundbreaking in October… Others in the crowd included Peyton Porter, Allie Porter, Caroline Gould, Claude and Emilynn Wilson, Judy Marlow and escort/son Christopher Marlow, Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster, Anne Besser, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Sarah Kate Welch, Caroline Rose Hunt, Rachel and Lance Koppa, Bonnie and Tom Pace and twin duchess mom Simona Beal with her mom Luda Guseivov and Bob Gibbs.

Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster and Sarah Kate Welch

Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster and Sarah Kate Welch

Tanya and Pete Foster and Amy Davis

Tanya and Pete Foster and Amy Davis

Judy Marlow and Christopher Marlow

Judy Marlow and Christopher Marlow

Luda Guseivov , Bob Gibbs and Simona Beal

Luda Guseivov , Bob Gibbs and Simona Beal

Stuart and Jennie Reeves

Stuart and Jennie Reeves

Looking at a display of past duchess gowns and old clippings, Honorary Co-Chair Jennie teased her husband Stuart Reeves about one that listed him as “Bob.” Jennie recalled how daughter Lucy Wrubel had been a duchess “the second year of La Fiesta” Adding to the memory bank, Stuart remembered moving the house that was saved that first year in the middle of the night. At one point in the move it barely cleared an overpass by inches. After the move was completed they had a margarita party at the original On The Border.

Clay and Chrissy Jenkins

Clay and Chrissy Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins with his wife Chrissy Jenkins admitted that this whole affair was new to him. He confided, “Under the heading of you can take the country boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy: what’s a debutante? I wikipedia’ed it today. Didn’t know what this was.”

But Clay soon found out firsthand when the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened just before 7. At 7:08 with more than 900 guests seated at their tables, the La Fiesta Herald Trumpets and Drum Corps led the parade of 40 escorts into the ballroom and up to the stage.

Procession of flags, trumpets, drums and escorts

Procession of flags, trumpets, drums and escorts

Following the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the escorts took their seats at the side of the stage. Mary and Lori thanked the numerous volunteers who had made the evening possible and Pierce addressed the group, recalling his days at Highland Park High and the importance of the event’s supporting Park Cities programs.

Then master of ceremonies Al Raya announced each duchess, describing both the duchy she represented as well as her accomplishments that impressed the adults in the audience. Most proud of the young women’s achievements were their dads, who escorted the duchesses onto the stage and up to the front of the runway and then center stage, where they bowed. Upon arising, they were presented with a white rose by their fathers and escorted to their places on the tiered stage by their escorts.

Lauren Beal and Andy Beal

Lauren Beal and Andy Beal

Loring Dalton and Samuel Dalton

Loring Dalton and Samuel Dalton

While some might have been confused by the interesting assortment of duchies, oldtimers explained that each duchy belonged to one of the six flags that had flown over the state of Texas, plus the La Fiesta flag. For instance, Lauren Beal was the Duchess of the United State representing the flag of the United States; Loring Dalton was Duchess of Highland Park representing the flag of La Fiesta; Lauren Sands was the Duchess of Cinco de Mayo representing the flag of Mexico, etc.

Lauren Sands and Patrick Sands

Lauren Sands and Patrick Sands

John McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

John McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

As the presentation wore on, the whoops grew. Paige McDaniel admitted that her table just couldn’t resist cheering when her niece Caroline McDaniel was announced. However, she promised that decorum would be more in order when Caroline will be presented at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Gala on Saturday, February 20, at the Meyerson.

One La Fiesta vet confided that the hope was for the presentation to only take two hours. And that hope came true as the final duchess made her bow just before 9.

Then it was time to relax and join friends on the dance floor and for selfies.

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert And Oops: La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas

Brain cells have been dropping like a widow’s teardrops. Perhaps it’s because of the heat.

It seems that the MySweetCharity elf in charge of posting photos on the MSC Photo Gallery “Oops-ed” earlier this week. S/he forgot to hit the “Post” button for the Evening Under The Star photos. Well, they’re now up.

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

Joining the photos of the La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas eve reception are the dozens and dozens of photo from the June 13th La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas gala at the Hilton Anatole.

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses

2015 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas duchesses

Unlike other deb presentations where the gals bow in billowing white gowns, La Fiesta duchesses were as colorful as fireworks on the Fourth.

Have a great weekend. Stay cool and take care of those brain cells.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Entourage Celebrated “An Evening Under The Stars” Before The Stars Even Ventured Out

Friday, June 12th fare was billed as “An Evening Under the Stars.” As hundreds of guests arrived at Kathy and Joe Sugarek’s fabulous-for-entertaining home, the sun was still staying overhead preventing the stars from arriving.

Well, how rude of the sun! But the guests really didn’t care. They were the 40 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas duchesses, their escorts and their parents.

Amy Davis

Amy Davis

Annette Vaughn

Annette Vaughn

Okay, let’s get the calculator out. 40 duchesses + 40 escorts + (2 parents x 40 duchesses) + (2 parents x 40 escorts) = 240 guests. And that didn’t include folks like the evening’s Co-Chairs Jolie Humphrey and Annette Vaughn, the La Fiesta Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard and Lori Martin, La Fiesta Gala Co-Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell and the sponsors like Snell Ranger Rover. Adding the extra folks in, the total was around 350.

Anne Besser, Amy Hughes and Jolie Humphrey

Anne Besser, Amy Hughes and Jolie Humphrey

Luckily, just a house away a vacant lot was ready to accept the SUV’s and luxury cars.

Duchesses and escorts

Duchesses and escorts

Meanwhile, back at the Sugareks’, the younger types gathered on the right of the entry hall. With the crowd shoulder-to-shoulder, the temperature was a tad bit warm for anyone in a suit. But luckily most of these guests were in adorable sundresses and open sports shirts and khakis.

On the other hand, the older types (30-year-olds and older) headed to the library, where the temperature was very user friendly.

Backyard terrace

Backyard terrace

Clams

Clams

On the back terraces overlooking the pool and its fountains, the flamenco dancers’ heels stomped up the tempo.

Just beyond the terrace, the Omni staff had a buffet of never-ending clams, mini-tacos and salads.

Tom Hughes and Pierce Allman

Tom Hughes and Pierce Allman

As the crowds continued to grow, Honorary Co-Chair Pierce Allman arrived in fiesta white shirt sans wife Allie Beth Allman. She was home taking antibiotics for a strep throat. The hope was that she would mend in time for the next night’s gala…Jolie revealed that she would be chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Ball in 2017. She’s an old pro at the DSOL Deb Ball. Two of her daughters have bowed at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra fundraiser…Speaking of the DSOL Deb Ball, Lucy and John McDaniel reported that daughter Caroline McDaniel was doing both La Fiesta and the DSOL. And while they weren’t able to make the evening’s event, the Beal twins — Lauren and Tasha — are also doing both events.

John and Lucy McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

John and Lucy McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

Mary Hubbard and Lori Martin

Mary Hubbard and Lori Martin

Mary and Lori were in the library amazed at their tenure. The two were downright thrilled about their year-long project. For them, the highlight of the year was the three honorees — Lindalyn Adams, Pierce and Jennie Reeves. They were in awe of how the three had the vision to start the fundraiser 29 years ago and how even now their enthusiasm was still in high gear.

Just think. When the trio came up with the idea for the summer fundraiser, none of the duchesses or escorts was even born.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: An Evening Under The Stars

On the eve of the La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas gala, hundreds of duchesses, escorts, their parents and sponsors gathered at Kathy and Joe Sugarek’s Park Cities home on Friday, June 12, for “An Evening under the Stars.”

Anne Besser, Kathy Sugarek and Jolie Humphreys

Anne Besser, Kathy Sugarek and Jolie Humphreys

With flamenco dancers and an amazing poolside buffet provided by the Omni Dallas Hotel, the evening displaced any rumors that the city was emptied of fun and feasts for the summer.

Kathy and Joe Sugarek's backyard

Kathy and Joe Sugarek’s backyard

While the post is being created, check out the pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchess And Escort Moms Honored At Belo Mansion

While the Crystal Charity Ball was revealing the Ten Best Dressed for 2015, “A Southern Affair” was taking place at the Pavilion at the Belo Mansion. No, mint juleps and parasols were nowhere to be seen. Instead it was hundreds of people like Rachel Michell, Samantha Wortley and Paige Westhoff lunching and honoring the mothers of the 40 La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and the 40 La Fiesta escorts.

Before the doors opened to the luncheon, guests had a chance to check out the display of the duchesses’ photos and their gowns on dolls. Another highlight of the reception was the display of actual gowns belonging to past duchesses Elisabeth Allums, Ellen Beecherl, Margaret Brawner, Allison Holmes, Camille Humphrey, Courtney Klingaman, Rebecca Sillers and Katherine Whitlock.

Tanya Foster and Kim Davis

Tanya Foster and Kim Davis

But the duchess moms weren’t the only ones proudly lunching. Escort moms Tanya Foster and Kim Davis were holding photos of their sons — P.J. Foster and Blake Davis — who just became SAE pledge brothers at Baylor.

The menu proved true to the day’s theme — southern fried chicken breast with black pepper gravy, sautéed green beans with crumbled bacon and shallots, sharp-aged cheddar cheese grits, jalapeño corn bread muffins and buttermilk biscuits and a dessert of chocolate bourbon pecan pie with whip bourbon cream and baked apple caramel phyllo tart with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Members of Highland Park High School Choir

Members of Highland Park High School Choir

In addition to honoring past La Fiesta chairs, Luncheon Chairs Tracy Martin and Jennifer Patterson arranged to have the members of the Highland Park High School Choir sing.

Barbara Cervin, Sandra Cude and Lynn Abbott

Barbara Cervin, Sandra Cude and Lynn Abbott

Among those seated front row center were past La Fiesta chairs, like Lynn Abbott, Dianne Adleta, Barbara Cervin, Sandra Cude, Susan Holman and Jennifer Metzger, wearing their La Fiesta necklaces.

Susan Holman and Dianne Adleta

Susan Holman and Dianne Adleta

The formal presentation of this year’s duchesses will take place on Saturday, June 13, at the Hilton Anatole with Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell serving as gala co-chairs and La Fiesta founders/honorary season chairs Lindalyn Adams, Pierce Allman and Jennie Reeves.

Jennie Reeves, Jennifer Metzger and Lindalyn Adams

Jennie Reeves, Jennifer Metzger and Lindalyn Adams

This annual fundraiser that has raised more than $6.9M since 1986. Originally, Lindalyn, Pierce and Jennie created the fundraiser to preserve a Park Cities home and move it to Old City Park. Held in Highland Park Village, it had six duchesses each representing one of the six flags that have flown over Texas. It was such a hit that it has continued benefiting various beneficiaries. This year La Fiesta Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard and Lori Martin have arranged to have the event benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place/HPISD Project, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Model United Nations, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

The selection of the duchesses is based on their character, attitude judgment, accomplishments, scholarship, leadership and community involvement.

This year’s duchesses include Jaclyn Marie Alexander, Theresa Elizabeth Lauren Baker, Marie Clark Baldwin, Lauren Ludmila Beal, Tasha Josephine Beal, Emma Kathryn Bowden, Grace Eleanor Carter, Loring Cook Dalton, Hannah Nicole Davis, Lindsey Nicole Elliott, Gail Van Winkle Ewing, Bronwyn Guin Geyer, Elizabeth Anne Hill, Taylor Elizabeth Johnson, Madison Lelyn Kaminski, Sara Catherine Keith, Katherine Scott Krikorian, Kaelson Elizabeth Little, Madeline Lauren Lynn, Caroline Benson McDaniel, Catherine Lindsay Begley McGeoch, Mary Catharine McKeithen, Madison Claire Mulligan, Margaux Louise Mullinix, Chandler Leigh Myers, Caroline Campbell Near, Mary Wallace O’Brien, Virginia Byers Petty, Laura Elise Rathjen, Natalie Kate Rathjen, Reagan Elise Reid, Elizabeth Lowrie Reniger, Staley Anne Rose, Lauren Rose Sands, Brittany Ann Smith, Brooke Elizabeth Strodel, Margaret MacIntyre Taylor, Abbey Elizabeth Utley and Alexandra Bailey Van Cleave.