MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2016 Parade Of Playhouses

The 2016 Parade of Playhouses started its displayed march throughout NorthPark officially on Friday with 14 adorable mini-mansions available for viewing, voting and up for grabs. Since they’ll only be available for checking out until Sunday, July 31, time is ticking away for the annual Dallas CASA fundraiser.

Steampunk

Steampunk

Crest Casa Garage

Crest Casa Garage

Be prepared. This year’s crop is gangbusters with slides, rock walls, metal roofs, bunk beds, ladders and all types of extra-special perks. As Dallas CASA Executive Director Kathleen LaValle admitted — the competition was fierce this year.

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

XyLophoNEhouse

XyLophoNEhouse

While the post about the last-minute preparations is being finalized, all 14 playhouses are available for eyeballing at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Gals Eyed The Baubles While Sipping The Bubbles At David Yurman

Yurman flute of champagne

Yurman flute of champagne

It was a battle royale of sparkles, twinkles and bubbles at NorthPark on Wednesday, April 13. As other jewelry salons were closing down for the evening, David Yurman had Cattle Baron’s Ball members and friends like Nancy Gopez, Lisa and Bill Ogle and Kristi Bare lined up to have their names checked off the “Yup, you’re on the attend list.”

Nancy Gopez

Nancy Gopez

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Once approved for admittance, they didn’t get tagged with a name badge. Instead they got a flute of champagne and a howdy from Yurman’s Chris Kimbrough.

JB Hayes

JB Hayes

Chris Kimbrough

Chris Kimbrough

CBB member JB Hayes recalled how she and Chris thought up the Yurman visit-and-shop fundraiser for the American Cancer Society less than a handful of years ago.

Wendy Messmann was obviously a frequent persona at NorthPark after her appearance at the warm-up party at The Theodore for the Lee Park Day at the Races which she is co-chairing with Kirsten Williams on Saturday, May 7… Speaking of chair fundraisers, Hadley Galt was fresh off of co-chairing the Ronald McDonald House’s “Under the Moonlight” just a couple of weeks before on Saturday, April 2.

Wendy Messmann

Wendy Messmann

Hadley Galt

Hadley Galt

Word has it that CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber are hitting all the bases with their team of baronesses. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Toby Keith on the main stage and Dwight Yoakam up-close-and-personal on the live stage inside Gilley’s.

Lee Park Junior Conservancy Friends Tried On Chapeaus And Adult Beverages Prepping For 8th Annual Day At The Races

After the brutal beating parts of North Texas took the night before, it was amazing that anyone but insurance adjusters would be busy or collision centers would be celebrating on Thursday, March 24.

But leave it the nonprofits to keep hustling on Good Friday eve.

The WaterTower Spotlight Gala patrons were sipping grown-up beverages with a spectacular view of the Addison Natural beauty thanks to WaterTower supporters Barbara and Don Daseke.

Over at NorthPark’s The Theodore patio, about 100 of the Lee Park Junior Conservancy members and friends checked out all types of Derby fashions from NorthPark merchants. After all, the “Eighth Annual Day At The Races” will be taking place on Saturday, May 7, to celebrate/watch the 142nd Kentucky Derby. To still the chill of the cold front that landed in town, patio heaters and glasses of wine kept guests warmed.

Smart Hats

Smart Hats

In the farthest part of the patio, Stefani McMurrey had a pop-up hat boutique of her Smart Hats for guests to try on Derby-friendly chapeaus for possible wear at Lee Park’s Arlington Hall.

When asked if Stefani’s hats would be showing up at the Arboretum’s Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday, April 21, Stefani said, “Probably not.” Her reason was the Mad Hatter’s headwear tended to be of a different shape and size than Derby fashion.

On this evening, Co-Chair Wendy Messmann tried on a pink fascinator that went with her pink and white lace dress. It so impressed Wendy that she said the fascinator size would probably be her pick for the Saturday event.

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Kirsten Williams and Peter Swanson

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Kirsten Williams and Peter Swanson

Her Co-Chair Kirsten Williams in a black fascinator was getting more look at her ring finger. She and Peter Swanson had just gotten engaged the week before. Had they set a date? No. According to Peter, they were adjusting to being engaged.

Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy President/CEO Gay Donnell reported that in addition to having NorthPark as the sponsor of the Lee Park fundraiser, Doris Jacobs would be the honorary chair and the Jordan Kahn Band would be returning to entertain.

Last year more than 500 broke past records for attendance, so you just know Wendy and Kirsten are out to have another record broken. Tickets start at $150.

Take A Chance To Score Big Time At Saturday’s Crystal Charity Ball

Michal Powell (File photo)

Michal Powell (File photo)

Surprise! The Crystal Charity Ball is Saturday. It’s the absolute standout when it comes to the glamorous gowns, gems, gals and gents. This year’s CCB Chair Michal Powell is charging ahead to break all-time records for the 63-year-old fundraiser for children. Her goal is not to raise, but to net a “celestial” $6.3M for a record-breaking number of beneficiaries (Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Catholic Charities of Dallas, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Life, Dallas Services, Family Compass, H.I.S. Bridgebuilders, Interfaith Housing Coalition, Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, North Texas Food Bank and Texas Health Resources Foundation).

To accomplish that goal, she and her team of women have arranged for a king’s/queen’s ransom of marvy-oodle silent auction items.

Ah, but the “contribution tickets” are the ones that always raise eyebrows. Not only for what they are, but who ends up with them. Generous boldfacers who buy a handful of tickets as well as “This-is-the-first-time-I-bought-a-ticket” types perk up when they find out their name is called.

Here’s a roundup of the grab-ables for your consideration. And, no, you don’t have to be present to win, but you do have to buy a raffle …oops, make that … a contribution ticket.

Lexus RC F*

Lexus RC F*

  • For a $300 chance ticket — A Lexus RC F, compliments of Sewell Lexus and Park Place Lexus. (Retail value: $75,000) Drawing is limited to 500 tickets.

    LegacyTexas*

    LegacyTexas*

  • For a $275 chance ticket — A prepaid $25,000 VISA card from Legacy Texas Bank.

    NorthPark Gold*

    NorthPark Gold*

  • For a $250 chance ticket — $20,000 in NorthPark Gold plus Two VIP Valet Parking Cards.

    Forty Five Ten*

    Forty Five Ten*

  • For a $225 chance ticket — A year of Forty Five Ten with four seasonal $5,000 gift cards (total of $20,000).

    Exclusive Resorts*

    Exclusive Resorts*

  • For a $200 chance ticket — An Exclusive Resorts 7-Night Gateway Escape to a destination of the winner’s choice. (Options include resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, Cayman Islands, California, Costa Rica, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona).
  • For a $175 chance ticket —A $10,000 Timepiece Gift Certificate to Eiseman Jewels NorthPark.
Grand Homes*

Grand Homes*

By the by, Grand Homes is the official sponsor of the 2015 Contribution Tickets.

If your dance card is already filled and you just can’t make Saturday night’s festivities, you can still take a chance and buy a contribution ticket by contacting the CCB office at 214.526.5868. Who knows? Not only will you help area kiddos, you just might help your sweet self.

* Graphics and photos provided by Crystal Charity Ball

First Sight Shoots Down The Stodgy Opera Image With Mulberry Pop-Up Shop, Flash Dancing Mob And Designer Fashions

The sun was shining and there was no need for furs unless the guests were really hungry to bring their fuzzies out of storage on Thursday, October 29.

Many were still in recovery mode from the night before’s Neiman Marcus/NorthPark kiss-kiss, hug-hug celebration. Speaking of which, NorthPark’s Nancy Nasher may have channeled the Energizer Bunny Rabbit or had a clone made. Since announcing the NorthPark50, she’s been everywhere and The Dallas Opera’s First Sight at the Winspear was on her list. It made perfect sense since NorthPark was being presented by NorthPark.

Mulberry pop-up shop display

Mulberry pop-up shop display

As part of the NorthPark50 program, Mulberry had been paired with The Dallas Opera. Mulberry’ Matthew Minick made the most of it with a marvelous pop-up shop in the lobby of the Winspear for the champagne reception. It was a dazzling array of Mulberry handbags, clutches and accessories like shawls. And that was just for the reception. There was still more to come.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

But first the ladies and some charming gents like Randall Goss, Steve Stodghill, Paul Divis, First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Don Winspear and Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato gathered in the Prothro lobby for what they thought would be sipping the bubbly and some charming chatting with folks like Dallas First Lady/Luncheon Chair Micki Rawlings, Anne Stodghill, Kara Goss, Muffin Lemak, Kaki Hopkins, Lynn McBee, Diane Brierley, Diane Sealy, Mary Brinegar, Delilah Boyd, Christie Carter, Patti Cody, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, Simona Beal, Tiffany Divis, Roxanne Phillips, Marnie Wildenthal, Kristen Gibbins, Angela Nash, Holly Davis and First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Ellen Winspear with her future in-laws/former Dallas First Lady Laura Leppert and daughter Catherine Leppert. Former Dallas mayor/Laura’s husband Tom Leppert was outside on the phone.

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

At a point when most of the guests were present, organizers started giving each other the high sign. With that a coterie of pretty young things in pastel dresses carrying parasols paraded in past the crowd. The music sounded and the girls in pretty dresses turned out to a troop of ballerinas who could leap, kick and perform within the limited space. They turned out to be the students from the Hockaday Dance Departments.

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

After their final bow, they lined up in two rows, so guests could stroll through to the luncheon tables in the west lobby with a catwalk that extended through the tables from one end of the room to the other. Adding a touch of dramatic flair was a blanket of hundreds of red rose petals at the stage’s elevated entrance.

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

 

Popken and Edo Popken model

Popken and Edo Popken model

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Just as the crowd took their seats, the presentation of the five designer gowns representing the season’s five operas was underway. For the finale, the designers (Geoffrey Henning for “Great Scott,” Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khan for “Tosca,” Edo Popken for “Becoming Santa Claus,” Elizabeth Anyaa for Manon” and Michael Faircloth for “Show Boat”) escorted their models out for a final bow with Edo Popken waving the red-and-white hood from his Santa-like creation at the crowd. Unfortunately, two designers weren’t able to make it — Geoffrey and Elizabeth. In their place were Rhonda Marcus subbing for Geoffrey and Catherine Leppert for Elizabeth.

Following thank-you’s from the Winspears and Micki, The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny announced that for the third year in a row, the opera was in the black. That announcement was greeted with applause for the accomplishment.

Following lunch, the Mulberry folks presented still another fashion presentation of their latest collection. Then the guests took a break because they would be returning the next evening for The Dallas Opera’s First Night and opening the season with “Great Scott.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight

The Dallas Opera’s First Sight luncheon and fashion show at the Winspear has quickly given other similar fundraisers a run(way) for their money. The October 29th event presented by NorthPark had Mulberry fashions on the catwalk, plus five especially created designs representing TDO’s 2015-2016 operas. The opera house lobby was filled to the gills with ladies and gents nattily attired. Why, even Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato was in the house.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

And then there was this year’s surprise. Instead of an operative flash mob, it was Hockadaisies in pastel dresses with parasols prancing and dancing their little ballet slippers off.

Hockaday dancer

Hockaday dancer

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

While the post is being finalized, check the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Neiman’s And NorthPark Once Again Set The Bar For Celebrating A Very Special Occasion

The moon was sneaking peaks from behind the clouds over NorthPark on Wednesday, October 28. Perhaps it was because the Lady Luna hadn’t received a coveted invite for the Neiman Marcus and NorthPark Center’s celebrating their 50-year partnership and benefiting the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Youth Arts Education.

According to sources, there were more than a couple of folks who had creatively come up with excuses for not landing an invite. Shades of Stanley Marcus’ 90th birthday, when all types of highfalutin types suddenly “were out of town for the occasion” with a wink, wink. One or two had even called Mr. Stanley’s office saying their invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. No, it hadn’t.

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

Karen Katz

Karen Katz

But on this evening, it was Neiman’s Karen Katz and her husband Alan Katz and Nasher second-generation Nancy Nasher and husband David Haemisegger hosting a gathering of 300 of the fine-feathered eagle class in celebration of the vision of Neiman Marcus and the late Patsy and Ray Nasher.

Nancy Rogers, Tracy Cheatham and Mary Crosland

Nancy Rogers, Tracy Cheatham and Mary Crosland

From the young hot types like Tracy Cheatham, Mary Crosland and Courtney Rider Westmoreland, the OMG setters like Nancy Rogers and the Crystals (Caren Kline, Cynthia Mitchell, Pat McEvoy and Vinnie Reuben) to the NM/NP legends like Eiseman Jewels’ Louise Eiseman, Jacqueline Starr and her husband former Titche-Goettinger President Lee Starr, EAnn Thut and her husband NP architect EG Hamilton, Jean Mahie designer Jacline Mazard with her god daughter Tamara Dorrance and Doris Jacobs and

Roy and Lynne Sheldon, Jacline Mazard and Tamara Dorrance

Roy and Lynne Sheldon, Jacline Mazard and Tamara Dorrance

her husband/The Melody Shop’s Jack Jacobs), it was a truly NM/NP curated crowd.

Of course, the nonprofits were well represented with DSO’s Jonathan Martin and Michelle Burns, Dallas CASA’s Kathleen LaValle, The Family Place’s Paige Flink, Nasher Sculpture Center’s Jeremy Strick and Jill Magnuson and Cancer Blows’ Ryan Anthony.

Michelle Burns, Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Michelle Burns, Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Ryan Anthony

Ryan Anthony

While guests mingled, Ryan told of a recent concert. He was feeling not-so-great due to his treatments for multiple myeloma. But he decided that to not perform would be allowing the cancer to score. After the performance, he learned that three friends had traveled miles to show their family members suffering from multiple myeloma how Ryan was rising above it. Ryan admitted that despite the ups-and-downs of fighting multiple myeloma and organizing Cancer Blows, he and his wife Niki Anthony were going to take a brief break to recover.

Still he said that all their efforts had progressed beyond their greatest hopes thanks to Nancy Nasher and her support.

Brief aside: In a few years, Lyda Hill has become an energized, happy person since her involvement with Warren Buffet led to her becoming an even more generous philanthropist. So Nancy and David seem to have been gratified by the feedback regarding their decision to undertake NorthPark50. While not all can share to the degree of Lyda, Nancy and David, they can still enjoy the unique exhilaration that comes with giving with no expectation of glorification.

But back to the party. You just know you want to know the deets.

The black-tie reception took place on Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s second level entering via the Boedecker entrance. After strolling between two rows of servers with trays of wine, champagne and other liquid refreshments, they were greeted by NM VP/GM Malcolm Reuben, who has been managing the story for 14 years.

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton

NP pioneer Louise Eiseman proved herself to be the historian of the night. After all, it was Louise and her late husband Dick Eiseman who were part of the original merchants when the doors opened 50 years ago. She pointed out Lee Starr, former president of Titche-Goettinger. He along with the late Stanley Marcus took a big leap of faith in moving to a 97-acre cotton field, where the Nashers’ vision of a world-renowned retail center was to take place. On one side of the acreage was the Caruth farm with horses and cows. On another side was Sparkman Hillcrest cemetery.

Dean Fearing, Wanda Gierhart and Lucy Wrubel

Dean Fearing, Wanda Gierhart and Lucy Wrubel

As DJ Lucy Wrubel was conducting “vintage” music from the ‘60s (“These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra, “Shotgun” by Junior Walker and the All-Stars, “Penny Lane” by the Beatles) high atop a stage in the shoe department, NM’s Sandy Marple and Chuck Steelman with headsets in place gave the sign to head upstairs. Upon arriving on the third level, guests were directed to designer sportswear, and a surprising discovery. The men didn’t get it. The women did. The entire area, where most had discovered fashion ultimates, was devoid of clothes. Nope! Not one single mannequin, display case or hangar was in sight. Instead there were racks of spotlights suspended from the ceiling and rows of rectangular tables with place cards.

According to sources, the restructuring of the area had started on Monday. And plans called for work to get underway right after the last guest left to restore it to its fashionable display in time for the store’s opening at 10 a.m. Thursday.

But the guests knew of no time schedule and the Katzes and Nasher/Haemisegger twosome certainly weren’t going clang a triangle to get them to settle down. Still, this crowd knew their manners and despite wanting to stand and chat in the lap of luxury, they took their places for a feast prepared by NM Chef Kevin Garvin that included amuse (fried olives, classic deviled egg, red endive, ricotta, lemon zest and olive oil), salad (little gem wedge, pear, apple, chayote, Texas blue cheese, lemon pistachio vinaigrette, and NM monkey bread), entrée (short ribs, brown sugar Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, roasted wild mushrooms, creamed spinach and red wine demi-glace) and dessert of NM’s traditional pecan ball of vanilla bean gelato with pecans, ganache and whipped cream. And, of course, the wines included Chateau de Sancerre Black (Loire, 2013), William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, 2012) and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut (Epernay NV).

Karen perfectly represented the partnership recalling her youth shopping at NorthPark. Instead of sounding like the CEO that she is, she spoke as if she was at a family reunion recalling her days of shopping with her mother. Like many, she listed old, long-gone NorthPark favorites like the Magic Pan and the Carriage Shop. Proudly she recalled a store that even very old-timers had forgotten — Woolworths. Yes, there had been a Woolworths at NP. Then she told how she would hang out with her girlfriends in the center only to eventually become the NorthPark Neiman’s general manager from 1991 to 1996. (As her first store-management job, she admitted, “I was overwhelmed.”) Eventually she led the guests in a toast to Nancy and David.

Ken Downing

Ken Downing

Karen was followed by a Ken Downing-curated fashion presentation of 50 models wearing 50 fashion statements for the 50th anniversary. As Ken described it, “A folkloric fantasy with nomadic nuances, luxurious layers and an abundance of adornment that spins into Studio 54 splendor of glamorous decadence!” Ken went on to say that the look was “nomadic wanderers, popular in the ‘70s. I just moved them into Studio 54.” One observer noted that it appeared in some cases the layer look was in overload. Still, the parade of models received an “all-cellphone salute” with Ken getting a big hug from designer Devon Leigh afterward.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

The mood then changed with New York singer Steve Tyrell singing “Come Fly With Me,” “This Guy’s In Love With You,” etc., as guests dined.

At 9:40 p.m. David addressed the guests, thanking Neiman’s and the public relations team. He also recognized EG and Lee for their contributions five decades ago. Ending the event, David led the final toast of the evening to the 50 years of excellence, saying, “Neiman Marcus has been and will continue to be the heart and soul of NorthPark.”

Now on to the next 50 years!

More photos can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery!

Oops Alert!: Photos Of NorthPark Pioneers EG Hamilton And Lee Starr Are Making The Rounds With The Wrong ID’s

Event photographers are an important part of the North Texas fundraising scene. As great as it is for them to snap nice-looking photos of folks at all types of activities, they have to get the subjects’ names right, too. In many cases, the organization sponsoring the event arranges to have a “name taker” assist the photographer.

Unfortunately, the stars were not in alignment for the Neiman Marcus-NorthPark black-tie event on Wednesday, October 28. The results? Photos have been distributed by Neiman’s with a couple of major misidentifications that other media outlets are posting/publishing and photo services are offering based on the information provided. Thus, the Internet is starting to show signs of a string of misinformation.

Neiman’s has been alerted to the situation and is “notifying BFA as they provided the ID’s.”

Just in case BFA hasn’t contacted your neighborhood newsletter, the two most outrageous errors involve NorthPark legends who helped the late Patsy and Ray Nasher more than 50 years ago to create a world-famous retail center. Please note the photos below are the correctly ID-ed:

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton, the award-winning architect who designed NorthPark.

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Lee Starr, the president of Titche-Goettinger when the department store was one of four original NorthPark anchors, with his wife Jacqueline Starr and Louise Eiseman.

It may not seem like a really big deal to some. After all, these gents aren’t one of The Kardashians or a presidential wannabe. Besides, all gray-haired 90-somethings look alike, right?  Oh, please!

These two men, who worked with the Nashers and the late Stanley Marcus to create a remarkable undertaking, should be treated with the respect that they deserve.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Neiman Marcus Celebrates NorthPark50

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger Jr. and Nancy Nasher

Karen Katz

Karen Katz

Leave it to Neiman’s to put the polish on the crown jewels. That’s what Neiman’s Karen Katz and husband Alan Katz did at NorthPark NM to celebrate Nancy Nasher’s and David Haemisegger‘s NorthPark50 and their support of the area nonprofits.

It was only right, since NM and NP partnered 50 years ago to create a world-class retailing concept that has remained forever young.

While the post is being prepped, enjoy the pixs at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery of those who made the scene.

A Gentle Reminder: Komen Dallas Race For The Cure

Get your shopping done early Friday at NorthPark. Why? The NP crew will be setting up for the 16,000 expected for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race For The Cure.

There are gonna be street closures and all types of stuff leading up to Saturday morning when folks walk and run to raise funds for breast cancer research and developments.

So, what’s a little shopping inconvenience when it could mean that dollars resulting in cancer battling are raised?

Ah, shoot! Why not walk and shop? The weather is gonna be this side of perfect and you just might be saving a life…and it may be your own.

And why not make that appointment for your mammogram?

Pirch Set Quite A Fare For Ronald McDonald Of Dallas’ Trains Of NorthPark Patrons

Team Connor was partying among the butter-soft Bottega fashions at NorthPark on Wednesday, September 23. Just down the NorthPark way at Pirch’s glamorama kitchen, the goodies were being served up on trays and an array of glasses were filled with vino.

Pirch yummies

Pirch yummies

The occasion? Not a foodie convention! Rather it was the patrons of the upcoming Trains at NorthPark presented by Bank of Texas and benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

Jennifer Tobin, April Cook, Pat Brockette and Jill Cumnock

Jennifer Tobin, April Cook, Pat Brockette and Jill Cumnock

Among the first to arrive were Trains Co-Chairs April Cook and Jennifer Tobin and Bank of Texas’s Senior VP Pat Brockette and Ronald McD’s CEO Jill Cumnock.

While adorable personalized mini-trains were stationed next to favors (conductor’s whistles, of course), Pirch’s Kasie Jacobs, NorthPark’s Lona Crabb and Ronald McDonald’s Diane Fullingim talked about the 2015 location for the mammoth choo-choo exhibition.

Lona Crabb, Kasie Jacobs and Diane Fullingim

Lona Crabb, Kasie Jacobs and Diane Fullingim

Annika Cail

Annika Cail

It’s a huge space adjacent to Nordstroms on the upper level. With NorthPark filling up to capacity and its 50th anniversary, it’s amazing that there was one square foot of space available.

The trains start chugging on Saturday, November 21, and will continue to run until Sunday, January 3. That’s when 2016 Co-Chair Annika Cail and Sara Friedman take over for the Ronald McDonald fundraiser.

BTW, don’t bother worrying about getting tickets now. They don’t go on sale until November online. However, sponsorships, as well as ordering a custom railcar, are always available!

Round Robin September 17 Daytime: North Texas Giving Day And A Tribute To Ebby

If ever there was a Super Bowl of North Texas philanthropy, Thursday, September 17, was that day. Bad enough that it was the humpback whale fundraisers — North Texas Giving Day — but that didn’t stop other activities from taking place, like a very special tribute to legendary Ebby Halliday Acers. Here are just a couple of the activities that took place during the daylight hours.

North Texas Giving Day

The day started fresh out of the gate at 6 a.m. with Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day online on little screens and on-air appearances at WFAA’s “Daybreak.”

The goal was to rise above last year’s total of $26.3Mm.

Throughout the day the events popped up throughout North Texas with dollars surging on the leaderboard. Organizations were competing for prizes. On Cistercian alum proudly revealed the school’s strategy. They aimed a whole lot of their fundraising efforts for that one day. It worked as they continued to be among the very top on the board ending up with a whopping $486,575 and the #1 spot among schools.

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Around noon the Dallas activities centered at a center — NorthPark Center’s North Court complete with Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger on hand looking pleased as punch. With organizations like the Dallas Zoo, The Birthday Party Project, SPCA and others filling the area, Communities Foundation of Texas CEO Brent Christopher took the mic to introduce the Ballet Folklorico after the raffle drawing for a nifty check of $1,953 that went to Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center.

Brent admitted that NTGD had grown to gargantuan proportions and was concerned about its maintaining its original can-do spirit, while still growing to help all the North Texas nonprofits from the itty bitty to the big boys.

While emails flooded potential donors’ emailboxes throughout the day, others staked out spots to champion their causes. Over at Highland Park Village Starbucks, Just Say Yes Dan Bailey and Marissa Leach were manning the corner table to promote participation in NTGD and Just Say Yes.

Like cheerleaders, they were frontline cheerleaders encouraging folks about the importance of the day’s effort.

Dan revealed that four Dallas schools had been so impressed with Just Say Yes, they had managed to help fund the program.

By midnight when the final donation was made, NTGD did indeed beat last year’s goal by hitting $33,092,687.13. However, the accountants are burning up their calculators to figure out the absolute, final total that will be revealed on Monday, November 16.

Plans are already underway for next year.

Ebby’s Farewell

Hardly lunch had been gobbled up than cars headed to Park Cities Baptist Church for the 3 p.m. memorial service for Ebby Halliday Acers, who had died on Tuesday, September 8. As guests started arriving more than an hour beforehand, one of the ushers warned — “The sanctuary is already filling up.”

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

The service was so very Ebby. Speakers (Dr. Jim Denison, Laura Bush, Don Glendenning, Ebby’s niece Joan Patmore and Ebby Realtor CFO Ron Burgert) told stories that produced smiles, tears and unforgettable memories. Some guests wore touches of Ebby red, while a gaggle of gals wore black, topped with hats and yellow roses.

Upon looking at the mammoth drop-down screen displaying Ebby photos from the past, one young thing said, “She looks like Ann Landers.”

Brent Christopher had broken away from his North Texas Giving Day non-stop activities to attend the service. Seated along an exterior aisle, he was amazed when Ebby Halliday President/CEO Mary Frances Burleson pitched guests to donate to one or all of Ebby’s fav charities before the NTGD deadline.

Even Park Cities Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Jeff Warren was amazed that the celebration had resulted in two standing ovations without the honoree even being present. But he soon found he erred on two points. The crowd of nearly 3,000 stood in a final celebration of Ebby as a video of the 104-year-old playing “Happy Days Are Here” again on her ukulele.

The other point? As one Ebby executive confessed, “I just know Ebby was here.”

* Graphic provided by Ebby Halliday Realtors

Dallas CASA’s Parade Of Playhouses Celebrated A Successful 20th Anniversary At NorthPark’s Pirch

Hannah and Greg May and Kathleen LaValle

Hannah and Greg May and Kathleen LaValle

Dallas CASA Executive Director Kathleen LaValle and her team had been worried. Because NorthPark was preparing for its August kick-off of its 50th anniversary, the NP management team had asked CASA if they would move their 20th Annual Parade of Playhouses to July instead of the traditional August.

The CASA crew shored up with the builders and made it happen. The question was whether there would be traffic and interest in selling raffle tickets. From the smile on Kathleen’s face at the Wednesday, July 22, party at Pirch, there was no question about the outcome.

The playhouses were OMG better than ever. The July foot traffic was amazing and resulted in more house shopping than ever and raffle chances had the Northwood Women’s Club selling them like Garth tickets.

Luis Bartolomei and Reese Threadgill

Luis Bartolomei and Reese Threadgill

Making pizza

Making pizza

Just trying to get to the party was a major accomplishment with the NP parking lot jammed as if it were the week before Christmas. But the 300+ builders and CASA friends like Dallas CASA Board Chair Greg May with wife Hannah May, Jana and Mike Brosin and Reese Threadgill with Luis Bartolomei persisted and made it to the luxury home retailer where pizzas were being made and food stations were set up. It was a wonder that no one tried out one of the BainUltra tubs.

The occasion was also to mark the closing phase of the group’s capital campaign. According to Capital Campaign Chair Jim Lozier, the target had been $37M with the intent to “take care of 100% of kids in foster care over five to 10 years.” At this time they’re only able to handle 30-40% of the kids. By having such a forward-thinking campaign, “we’ll be right there” if the number of kids needing services goes up in the next five to six years, Jim added.

Jim Lozier, Christie Carter and Jana and Mike Brosin

Jim Lozier, Christie Carter and Jana and Mike Brosin

Another goal was to expand CASA’s presence, Jim said: “We’re known in town, but not really known in town.”

Once the campaign was announced, the money started rolling in. They got a couple of very big gifts early and, since then, they’ve ranged from $500 to $500,000. Jim added that the Rees-Jones Foundation gave very generously and still another anonymous donor provided great assistance.

Capital Campaign Vice-Chair Christie Carter reported that they were less than $1.5M from meeting their goal.

As for the raffle, Kathleen reported they were 20% ahead of schedule as of the night, and they were on schedule to break all previous records.

The Trains At NorthPark With Kid Conductor Ruth Daniel Kicked Off The Ronald McDonald House Of Dallas Fundraiser

Change can be good. And The Trains at NorthPark breakfast kick-off on Saturday, November 22, proved just that.

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Face painting

Face painting

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

The biggy change for the annual roll of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas fundraiser was the relocation. Instead of many past Trains at NorthPark being on the upper level between Neiman’s and Nordstroms, the 2014 ever-popular train depot was located downstairs in the old Coldwater Creek space. Event Co-Chairs Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne were thrilled about the relocation and the setting. The rustic boards on the walls made it perfect for trains to roll by.

Ribbon-cutting participants

Ribbon-cutting participants

Another advantage of the lower space was a lot more square footage in the common area to do face painting, balloon-creature making and food.

Still another change was the emcee. In the past couple of years WFAA has been the media sponsor and provided the emcee like Colleen Coyle and Janet St. James. This year the emcee was KXAS news anchor Meredith Land.

Meredith Lamb and Jill Cumnock

Meredith Land and Jill Cumnock

Luckily, there was no change in the presenting sponsor. Once again Bank of Texas was on board.

As for the kid guests, they were darn adorable. One just might suspect they were hired from Central Casting.

While kids and parents partied big time waiting for the doors to open, Honorary Co-Chairs Regen and Dr. Jeffrey Fearon and six-year-old Honorary Conductor Ruth Daniel and her family were touring the collection of trains inside. Surrounded by miniature trains and amazing backdrops, the Daniel family was the real attention getter.

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

In many ways, they looked like the rest of the families on the other side of the doors. But they were truly unique. From Tyler, Robin and John Daniel have seven kids — John David (14), Joshua (11), Rachel (10), Rebekah (8), Josiah (7), Ruth (6) and Jeremiah (16 months). Of that count, five were adopted. Which ones? Who knew and who cared? They were all Daniels.

The Robin and John Daniel's family

The Robin and John Daniel’s family

But it was little Ruth who was the reason for the family’s involvement with Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. This past October 27, Ruth and Jeffrey spent some very serious time together. It was on this day that Jeffrey “performed craniofacial surgery to help Ruth with her severe sleep apnea (by having a Le Forte 1 with a halo distraction performed). He also pinned her ears to better fit her hearing aid and glasses.”

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

But there were more issues facing the Daniels family. They needed a place to stay during the days leading up to Ruth’s surgery and recovery. It had to be a nurturing place where the staff understood and could assist the family and the little girl, who has Down Syndrome.

According to Jeffrey, “The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is a unique and very special place. It provides a warm supportive environment where families who have a sick child needing specialized treatment that takes them far from home can rest and decompress from all the associated stresses. My patients uniformly have nothing but wonderful things to say about the House.”

Robin recalled, “I was so glad that she had a place to be able to play and have fun and decrease her stress and anxiety about the upcoming surgery. She loved the outside playground, playroom and the library of children’s books.  When we came back from the hospital to check out of the Ronald McDonald House, all Ruth could talk about was wanting to go play.”

Once again the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas was there to help a family who has sought medical care in Dallas for their child. And once again, the little trains are hitting the rails to provide funding for such a home-away-from-home for these families.

Dallas CASA’s Parade Of Playhouses Patron Party Celebrates With Teddy Bears, Adorable Kids And Mini-Mansions

As NorthPark stores were closing on Sunday, August 2, and the clean-up crew at Legos was mopping up, Build-A-Bear Workshop was just starting to party with guests of all ages.

More than 100 longtime Dallas CASA supporters proudly celebrated the launch of 19th Annual Parade of Playhouses presented by ORIX that is on display until Sunday, August 17. At the end of the run, a raffle will be held to find homes for the playhouses. The only ones missing seemed to be Honorary Co-Chairs Angela and Jim Thompson, who were out of town. But never fear. They will be at the drawing.

Dunia Borge and Kathleen LaValle

Dunia Borge and Kathleen LaValle

And while the Playhouse patrons may have enjoyed adult beverages and camaraderie, it was really a kids-for-all ages occasion. Dunia Borgia in her white chef’s jacket and hair pulled back doled out fresh pistachio ice cream with caramelized pistachios. Teddy bears were being brought to life with stuffing and fluffing as their new families watched in awe. Some even were lucky enough to get new ensembles as they were bundled in teddy bear carriers or stuffed in strollers.

Cole Parrish and Trevor Parrish

Cole Parrish and Trevor Parrish

Big brother Trevor Parrish was helping little brother Cole Parrish to pick out a bear. After all it was Cole’s birthday. . . When asked if Garrett Browning was going to get a bear, Mom Elizabeth Browning laughed, “Of course!”. . . Even big girls like Megan Redfern got a stuffed buddy. Hugging her new BFF, she was asked if she had named the bear? Without hesitation, she said, “Pop. for Parade of Playhouses.”

Linda Schwartz and Ron Flanary

Linda Swartz and Ron Flanary

Receiving thank you’s was Ron Flanary of Glazer’s. Not only did Glazer’s provide the wine, Ron had been responsible for the gratis delivery of the playhouses.

Payton Fancher, Dan Fancher, Stone Fancher, Andi Fancher, Grant Fancher and Bob Borson

Payton Fancher, Dan Fancher, Stone Fancher, Andi Fancher, Grant Fancher and Bob Borson

Another group being congratulated were the builders and designers of the mini-mansions including AMX Corporation with Southwest Displays, Austin Commercial with Life of an Architect, Backyard Mansions, Bob Borson with Buford Hawthorne, Butscher Construction Co., LRO Residential, Erin Nicole Parisi of The ArtMongers, parmadesign, Texas A&M University College of Architecture and Tri-Tex Construction with Life of an Architect.

CASA’s new Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle reported, “Our goal is to expand our services. We want to double the number of children served by 2016, and serve all abused/neglected children in our area by 2019.” At this time Dallas CASA has 700 volunteers, but they need more. They also have a $37M fundraising campaign underway with the additional goal of raising awareness of Dallas CASA.

Playhouse

Playhouse

Kathleen also explained that the Parade of Playhouses is a great opportunity to raise that awareness. It seems that when people buy a raffle ticket, they say, “What is Dallas CASA?”

Playhouse

Playhouse

This year they added Dallas CASA aprons for raffle-ticket sellers. Next year they’re looking forward to retaining a “text” service so people can vote for their favorite playhouse by text and donate at the same time.

Kevin Parma and Seth Parma

Kevin Parma and Seth Parma

Over to the side, Seth Parma displayed the true goal of CASA — a child loving and being loved thanks to a caring adult. In this case it was his dad, Kevin Parma, who had built one of the playhouses. Thanks to people like Kevin and his wife Sherry, children who are not as fortunate as Seth and his sister Lorelai have Dallas CASA in their lives.

Playhouse

Playhouse

With the weekend’s temperature hitting the three-digit mark, it’s a perfect time to check out the playhouses in the air-conditioned surroundings of NorthPark and/or to buy a raffle ticket ($5 each, or 5 for $20). The drawing is Sunday, August 17, at 4 p.m. in NorthPark’s NorthCourt (first floor entrance near AMC). According to Dallas CASA Chief Development Officer Cynthia Calabrese, 75% of the money raised from the Parade comes from the sale of the raffle tickets.

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

19th Annual Parade Of Playhouses Commences Friday At NorthPark

With August temps testing outdoor venues, the indoor 19th annual Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark is ripe for checking out. Starting this Friday, the 19th annual Dallas CASA fundraiser presented by the ORIX Foundation will have 11 custom-made children’s playhouses parading in place until Sunday, August 17.

Past Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

Past Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

This year’s lineup includes “a pint-sized hollow tree house with a roof-top deck, perfect for backyard adventures; a rustic, charming Texas Hill Country cabin; a hook-and-ladder firehouse with a special spot for Sparky, the firehouse dog; and an adorable playhouse modeled after the Victorian cottage in the movie UP, reading for high-flying excitement.”

While the viewing is free, the fundraising is achieved through sponsorships and a raffle of the mini-homes. Tickets at $5 per or five for $20. You can get them at the ticket table at NorthPark or online.

According to brand new Dallas CARA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, “Parade of Playhouses is a reminder that all children deserve to be protected and loved. Funds are raised through event sponsorships and raffle ticket sales. Visitors have the opportunity to win dream playhouses so that abused children can have the safe homes they dream of.”

This year’s sponsors include:

  • Jim and Angela Thompson (File photo)

    Jim and Angela Thompson (File photo)

    Honorary Co-Chairs: Jim and Angela Thompson Foundation

  • Presenting Sponsor: ORIX Foundation
  • Castle Sponsors: NorthPark Center and Sewell
  • Mansion Sponsors: CEC Electrical Inc.; Kappa Alpha Theta – Dallas Alumnae Chapter; Methodist Dallas Medical Center; and Ricoh USA
  • Chateau Sponsors: Bob Borson with Buford Homes and Glazer’s
  • Villa Sponsors: Guardian Exteriors; People Newspapers; and TDIndustries

Playhouse builders who also deserve a pat on the back include: AMX Corporation with Southwest Displays; Austin Commercial with Life of an Architect; Backyard Mansions; Bob Borson with Buford Hawthorne; Butscher Construction Co.; LRO Residential; Erin Nicole Parisi of The ArtMongers; Parma Design; Texas A&M University College of Architecture; Tri-Tex Construction with Life of an Architect.

NorthPark Starts Prepping for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race For The Cure

Be on notice that preparations are already taking place for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race for the Cure at NorthPark. It’s supposed to be a great weekend. So, if you are participating in the walk/run, get there early and help raise money.

If you’re going to sleep in and think about shopping, hold off a tad bit because the NorthPark area is going to be dicey traffic-wise Saturday morning.

Junior League Of Dallas To Hold Annual Community Volunteer Fair

To volunteer is to receive more than to give. Sure, the person gives up an hour or two or three. But afterwards there is the strangest sense of breathing fresher air and having one less wrinkle in the brow. If everyone were to volunteer just once, the results would be more amazing that a million dollar donation.

But then there is the question of how do you sign up. And what organization would best suit you? Perhaps you love kids and want to help. Or maybe you want to support a group that is more art focused. Still which one is right for you?

Leave it to the Junior League of Dallas to have the answers.

On Saturday, February 16, the JLD will hold its annual Community Volunteer Fair at NorthPark (lower level between Dillard’s and the NorthCourt) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The main objective? “To provide an opportunity for the agencies the League supports to connect with potential JLD volunteers and volunteers from throughout the Dallas community.”

Please note: This fair is NOT limited to JLD members. It’s open to anyone who wants to volunteer.

Oh, and if you have some kiddos with you, you have can have them check out the “Kids in the Kitchen” activities sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.

St. John’s Episcopal School Is Raising The Gold Standard

After going into overdrive shopping in November and December, it’s tough to go cold turkey and stop buying. The retailers really, truly miss you and are trying to pull you out of your purchasing coma. Molly and Leon Banowetz have come up with a great way to help both you and the retailers. . . at least the ones at NorthPark.

Molly and Leon are the raffle co-chairs for the Second Annual St. John’s Episcopal School Raffle.

Let’s get the painful part over with first. The raffle tickets are available right this minute for $100 apiece or six for $500.

Now for the good part. No, make that the great part. The grand prize is $10,000 in NorthPark Gold. Second and third prizes aren’t too shabby coming in at $2,500 and $1,000, respectively.

“Molly and I are thrilled to co-chair the second annual raffle and announce an increase in NorthPark Gold for our second and third place winners. Last year’s raffle raised over $67,000 for the students at St. John’s Episcopal School, and we know with the support of the Dallas community we can surpass that amount in 2013,” said Leon.

Let’s all sit back, close our eyes and imagine how that grand prize could be spent. How many movie tickets could you buy? Or, perhaps a nice tennis bracelet? And then there’s always having lunch every single day for a year at one of the center’s eateries.

The raffle is being sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Plano, Parker School Uniforms, Allie Beth Allman & Associates and Veritex Community Bank/Veritex Mortgage.

The winning tickets will be drawn on Friday, March 15, at the “In the Swing” Golf-n-Gala at the Dallas Athletic Club following the golf tournament held earlier in the day.

Oh, and if you’re not available, not to worry. You don’t have to be present to claim your gold.

NorthPark Center Was The Place To Be Sunday For Tax-Free Weekend Wind Down And CASA Parade Of Playhouses’ Closing

Tax-Free Weekend was still going in high octane Sunday night at NorthPark. The lineup of cars made the opening day of the area’s first In n’ Out look downright puny. And once you got into the parking lot, there was nothing but a sea of parked cars and none were budging.

That was great news for retailers and the lucky shoppers who arrived earlier in the day. But, alas, not for the poor souls who thought they could just pop over to NP for the closing festivities of the Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses presented by the ORIX Foundation.  

Was it an accidental perfect storm having Tax-Free Weekend and CASA closing? Nope. According to CASA’s Katy Seitzler, “We schedule the final weekend for tax-free on purpose since we know a ton of people will be at the mall.”

Unlike last year, when the traffic jam wasn’t as overwhelming, NP was, as Katy put it, “slammed.”

Angela Thompson and ticket drawer

Ah, but that slamming didn’t prevent the raffle drawings for the adorable playhouses. Jim and Angela Thompson Foundation’s co-founder Angela Thompson had munchkins draw raffle tickets from the bins.

Oh, did you notice the gal seated in the background between Angela and the youngster in the above photo?

Sewell Classic Showroom

That’s Elizabeth Daane, who is ORIX USA General Counsel and head of the ORIX Foundation. This amazing woman, who suffered a lifechanging accident in 2010, hasn’t let her dedication to CASA and children’s organizations change one iota. Sunday she  brought her husband Mike and two sons to check out the winning tickets.

Among those winners were Patrick Phelan and Bryan Martin, who took home the Sewell “Classic Showroom.” No car was included, darn it.

Maritime Lighthouse

And who won the auction of the Maritime Lighthouse? That’s still a mystery. Seems Heritage Auction was coordinating that part of the activities and at post time was still trying to confirm the auction winner.

Photos provided by Dallas CASA

North Texas Food Bank Benefits From Families And Friends Kicking Up Their Heels At NorthPark’s Bottega Veneta

It was a family affair Tuesday night at NorthPark’s Bottega Veneta. The cocktail reception benefiting the North Texas Food Bank was being hosted by mother/daughter team Myrna Schlegel and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kim Schlegel Whitman

“It’s one of my favorite nonprofits,” said Kim, who is co-chairing the NTFB’s 4 Kids Program again this year.

She added that she loved the fact that BV wants to give back to the community and to be a part of the community.

Bottega’s U.S. President Giuseppe Giovannetti admitted that when selecting a charity, “We are very picky. We always want to do the best.” Regarding the Dallas location that opened in October 2006, he was pleased to report that it’s definitely been one of the company’s important U.S. stores.

And it should be, with the likes of Kim and husband Justin. She recalled how her grandmother always carried Bottega and Kim would “borrow” her bags. As for Justin, he simply loves “the quality of the leather.”

Kim and Justin were just back from “spring break” in California, where they visited Justin’s dad actor/investor Stuart Whitman. According to the twosome, Stuart, who just turned 84, is pretty amazing. Not only can he still do 90 pushups, he smokes three cigars a day and plays tennis, but not at the same time.

Myrna and Bob Schlegel

Across the store, Kim’s dad Bob discovered a pair of turquoise calf suede sneakers and tried them on. He must have had turquoise on his mind, because they matched wife Myrna‘s turquoise dress perfectly.

But the Schlegels weren’t the only family in the crowd of beauts. Neiman’s Shelle Sills was on hand. Not to shop the competition but to support stepdaughter Robyn Sills, who is communications manager for BV. Having been with BV for the past two years, Robyn pointed out that the Dallas store was a bit unique in the BV collection of 25 U.S. stores. It has both men’s and women’s fashions.

Ironically, Robyn, who is based in New York City, had hoped to see her father, Dr. Michael Sills. Alas, as it turned out Michael was in NYC.

Drew Bagot, Christina Jones, Shelle Sills and Benton Bagot

However, Robyn’s stepbrothers were on hand. Shelle’s sons (you’ll be tested later on how all these relationships connect) Drew Bagot and Benton Bagot had just returned to Dallas, much to the delight of their mother.

But the evening was meant to be a fundraiser in addition to raising fun. With 15% of sales through March 26 going to the NTFB, JB Hayes bought a black bag that had been hidden away. As they brought the bag out for her purchase, JB smiled, “Dallas girls like black.”

Hostess Kim evidently is a Dallas girl because she bought a pair of high-heeled sandals that she called her “black and fire” shoes. That’s the way her three-year-old son, JR, refers to the color, his favorite: black and fire.

Just as Elaine Agather was leaving with a purchase in hand, Doris Jacobs in leopard print dress with matching shoes was arriving from her first stop at the Mad Hatter’s party at Brook Brothers in West Village.

In the reality-tv-fame-is-fleeting category, a name taker approached a tall chap who had just had his photo taken. The exchange went this way.

Name taker: “Could I get your name?”

Photographed gent: “Matt Nordgren.”

Name taker: “How do you spell that?”

Share-A-Date: ARTsPark

ARTsPark (2011)

Saturday, March 24: The Business Council for the Arts will hold its third annual ARTsPark at NorthPark Center with arts and activities from all over the North Texas area.

This year’s participants include

Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Art&Seek, Arts Incubator of Richardson, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Business Council for the Arts, Charles W. Eisemann Center, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Area Fiber Artists, Dallas Art Dealers Association with McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Architecture, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Handweavers and Spinners Guild, Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Wind Symphony, Dallas Zoo, Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center, the Goss-Michael Foundation, Italian Club of Dallas, Japan-America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth, KERA Channel 13 and KERA 90.1 FM, KXT 91.7 FM, Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Nasher Sculpture Center, New Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Plano Children’ Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Sculpture Association, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Turtle Creek Chorale, Undermain Theatre, Video Association of Dallas and WRR Classical 101.1 FM. 

 At 3 p.m. The Dallas Opera’s Jennifer Youngs will perform accompanied by pianist Julien Reed in the NorthCourt.

This weekend will be a perfect follow-up to the spring wake return of parents and munchkins. So, feel free to use your kiddos to learn about the thriving arts community in Dallas, or to introduce them to a world of creativity that knows no limits.

Photo provided by NorthPark

“All Aboard!” For More Spending Gold

All Aboard!

There’s just nothing like gold. It wears well, it feels good and it spends well. And while many can argue the pros and cons of the various carats, in this neck of the woods there is nothing better than NorthPark Gold. Yes, you’re still in recovery mode from the holiday shopping, but a very nice way to rehab is to dive right back in and spend, spend, spend.

The 2012 St. John’s Episcopal School Raffle Co-chairs Molly and Leon Banowetz along with presenting sponsor Crest Cadillac Infiniti can help you in a big diving way. The grand prize of the raffle is $10,000 in NorthPark Gold. Second and third prizes aren’t too shabby either: $1,000 and $500 in NP Gold, respectively.

“We are so excited about this year’s raffle and the amazing opportunity for three lucky winners to receive NorthPark Gold,” said Leon. “These coveted prizes allow the general public to support a great school, while buying a chance for the ultimate shopping sprees.”

The raffle tickets ($100 per and $500 for six) are now on sale till the goal of 1,000 tickets are sold.

The drawing will take place Friday, March 2, at the school’s annual fundraising auction, “All Aboard!” at Union Station.

The Great Adventure Hunt Returns To NorthPark And The Great Hunters for ChildCare Group

Years ago the Great Adventure Hunt used to take over NorthPark when evening traffic in the center was not high density. Teams would scramble around trying to solve puzzles to help raise money for charity. Then it took a break for about five years and NorthPark expanded its size and traffic big time.

But good things never totally go away, so the Great Adventure Hunt returned to NorthPark on March 5 to raise funds for ChildCare Group thanks to co-chairs Pamela Merritt and Kirstine Rogers and honorary co-chairs Tori and Joe Mannes. However, this time NP was bulging with customers. So much so that Great Adventure Hunters found the valet parking filled to capacity upon arrival. That was okay. The hunters had their running shoes on and were rearing to go, so a little walk to home base in Maggiano’s upstairs dining room was a snap.

 

Lyda Hil, Gladys Kolenovsky and Peggy Allison

As the 25 teams of six people compared notes, it was pretty obvious to tell the veterans from the newcomers. Lyda Hill and her seasoned pros (Rena Pederson, Gladys Kolenovsky, Peggy Allison and Susan and Warren Foxworth) in “Lyda orange” T-shirts hunkered down at a table in the corner comparing notes and strategy while eating. The team was legendary for taking no prisoners and capturing the top prize.

Lyda shared part of their strategy: “Hurry up and get back before anyone else for the desserts!”

 

Diane and Daryl Johnston

Across the way first-timers Diane and Daryl Johnston on Trophy Level Sponsors Kit and Kemp Sawers‘ team were studying the rules and trying to figure out what exactly was on plan for them. Teammate Daryl Johnston admitted that his mom used to do “treasure hunts” for Daryl’s birthday, so participating was partly for old-time memory’s sake. Plus the fact that Kit and Kemp asked them.

NP General Manager Billy Hines looked like a proud papa overseeing a family reunion. He was so pleased to have the brainy scavenger hunt up and running again.

Just as the teams were finishing their meals and reviewing their instructions, a young woman rushed into the dining room and said, “We’re gonna win this. We are. We got it!”

 

Clay Huffstutter and Amy Taylor

As the aroma of garlic from the buffet filled the room, Great Adventure Hunt guru Dave Harris took the microphone and started explaining. There were 10 different clue sites throughout the mall where teams would have to solve puzzles. Some of the teams had actually paid for runners like Clay Huffstutter in track shorts with backpack. The trick was to solve all the puzzles first.

 

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Dave Harris

Then Dave launched into some of the hints of game playing. For instance — every solution is a number solution.

Again there was a division between the two camps. Veterans recognized the genius sharing tricks and finer points of the game. Lyda commented, “He’s really brilliant. He’s giving lots of clues.”

New kids on the block just wanted to break like colts from their stalls.

At 7:36 p.m. just as the urge to break and run was swelling, the teams received their bags, discovered the first clue locations and were gone.

Pity the poor shoppers who saw the 150 contestants racing to Pinto Ranch, the Train at NorthPark, the cafe outside of Nordstrom’s, Bookmarks, the Apple Store, Puzzle Zoo, the former Starbucks location under AMC, the space next to Bebe or Williams-Sonoma. It was like a wave of Jessica Fletchers.

 

Anna Harris

At Williams-Sonoma, Anna Harris, Kelsey Weir and Ty Johnson were stationed to provide the clue and make sure no misdoings took place. It was Kelsey’s and Ty’s first hunt, but Anna was a 35-year veteran. After all, she’s Dave wife.

 

Ty Johnson and Kelsey Weir

Suddenly from nowhere Lyda and her team appeared on the scene for their first clue — six pieces of chocolate in a box. Each piece of chocolate contained a number. The puzzle was to make a phone number out of it.

They immediately hunkered down in front of William Sonoma and started working the puzzle.

 

Hunkering down

A second team looking a little bewildered arrived. Just as they received their box of chocolates, someone said, “She’s (Lyda) out there!” One of the second team commented, “She’s way out there!”

Fast forward to the finish line. Wanna know the results of the hunt? Follow the jump! [Read more…]