With Stars And Stetsons Overhead, The Spirit Of Taos Was Picture Perfect At The Lot With Downtown Fever And A Miniature Burro

Once again an almost perfect moon shone over The Lot for The Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos on Friday, November 3.

There was no need to explain the attire for the evening. It was strictly jeans, squash blossom necklaces and bracelets decked out in turquoise, crushable Stetsons, perfect smiles and not a suit in sight.

Thanks to a perfect night and Co-Chairs AC Contreras, Lauren Cavenaghi, Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Meridith Myers Zidell, the crowd filled the beer garden as everything from mariachis to Emerald City’s Downtown Fever played. Inside was the silent auction. But, of course, the hit of the night was split between the photo booth and the miniature burro.

Ross and Sally Taylor, Anthony Contreras, Daniella Giglio, Larry Giglio and Krystin and Nick Gerlach

Looking over the crowd of 300+ including Daniella Giglio, Larry Giglio, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Krystin and Nick Gerlach, Sally and Ross Taylor, Sarah Matlock, Sloan Milton, Lauren Schneider, Lindsay Morris, Carolyn Daniel, Ashlea Bennett, Natalie Patten, Amy Ridings, Justin James, John James, Laura Munoz, Karrie Cato, Pam Karlos, Roxann Staff, Sydney Menefee, Crystal and Jarrett Woods, Natalie Nihil Roberto, Tara Versfelt, Ann Damele, Caly Allen-Martin, Katy Lopez, Gable Roby, Kate and Will Walters and Lara and Jesse Smith, Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder admitted that the night’s fundraiser was a real draw for the upcoming generation.

Anne Reeder and Sarah Matlock

Marsha and Craig Innes

While 60-somethings Marsha and Craig Innes initially felt like they were chaperoning, that was not the case as they soon started hanging out with the under-35 types. Marsha told how she had recently joined her Tri Delt sisters in Fort Worth for their 50-year pins. She admitted that it may have sounded “cheesy,” but it was a moment that she treasured.

Pretty soon all ages settled down at the picnic tables with cactus centerpieces for dining and talking.

The Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos Kick-Off Party Guests Shared Chuckles And Tales Of Parking Challenges At Gypsy Wagon

Henderson Avenue is such a hot spot. Whether it’s dining or shopping, it has been the place to be and be seen. And on a Thursday night, that situation ramps up the population mega times. That’s why traffic jams can turn the avenue into a parking lot at times. A parking spot is as rare as a wrinkle on a fresh face lift. Valets tend to serve as parking life guards.

Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Anne Reeder

But on Thursday, September 28, there were no parking lifeguards in sight for the Spirit of Taos kick-off party for The Wilkinson Center at Gypsy Wagon despite the invitation promising “complimentary valet parking.” But what the heck! Like war vets, guests had chuckles and tales to tell about their ability to relieve themselves of their vehicles.

Millie Winston and Anne Conner

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder was surprised. She had gotten there early and parked across the street. But that parking lot with its automatic check-in was a wee bit persnickety. Karrie Cato tried to feed it a $20 bill and it wouldn’t take it. Another guest upon receiving her receipt was informed by the readout that she had checked in a 5:51 p.m. Looking at her ticker, she saw the time was actually 6:24 p.m.

Anne Conner giggled that she had indeed valeted. But it was at The Porch and she led them to believe that she was indeed dining there.

But who cared? The weather was just a step above perfection and a little stroll never hurt anyone. Once guests got inside and saw the booty for purchase that would be perfect for the Spirit of Taos fundraiser at The Lot on Friday, November 3, their parking cares were history.

Meridith Myers Zidell, Elizabeth Wivagg and Kathy Koons

Co-Chairs AC Contreras, Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Meridith Myers Zidell have arranged for Leah and Rick Margerison to serve as honorary co-chairs for The Wilkinson Center’s annual fundraiser featuring music by Blake Martin and Downtown Fever, Matt Thornton handling the emcee duties and loads of silent auction items.

And, yes, there will be valet parking at The Lot, as well as a lot of cute clothes from Gypsy Wagon.

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

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

The Lot*

The Lot*

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

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

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

Jeremy Zidell and Mark and Sloane Simon*

Jeremy Zidell and Mark and Sloane Simon*

Will Walters and Joe Acosta*

Will Walters and Joe Acosta*

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

Sloan Looney Dix, Meridith Zidell and Stephanie Taylor*

Sloan Looney Dix, Meridith Zidell and Stephanie Taylor*

Steve and Cathy Saxon*

Steve and Cathy Saxon*

Matt Thornton*

Matt Thornton*

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

Anthony Contreras and Daniella Giglio*

Anthony Contreras and Daniella Giglio*

Babo Crain*

Babo Crain*

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

Walk in Dirk's Shoe*

Walk in Dirk’s Shoe*

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

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

* Photo credit: Eric Priddy

Melissa Benge Sets The Mood For Spirit Of Taos Kick-Off Party With Cactus Cupcakes And Fashionable Goodies

Melissa Benge, Missy Huber Hall and Anne Reeder

Melissa Benge, Missy Huber Hall and Anne Reeder

The North Henderson neighborhood on a Thursday is the place not to be if you’re in a rush. The popularity of the restaurants, bars and stores is pretty darn overwhelming. That’s why some might have questioned having a kick-off party on that particular day of the week.

Cactus cupcakes

Cactus cupcakes

But the draw of The Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos at Melissa Benge Collection on Thursday, September 10, was just too great. Their reward was multiple.

For the evening owner Melissa Benge had parking spaces aside the shop and valets to handle any parking trepidations.

Inside, the 50 guests discovered wonderful things. From the “cactus” looking cupcakes on a tiered tray to the vintage collectibles and chic western attire, it was eye candy for shoppers.

In fact Wilkinson Center CEO Anne Reeder questioned Wilkinson Center Vodi Cook on why it was every time she turned around Vodi was in a different attire. Vodi’s answer was, people kept buying the Melissa Benge clothes off her back.

Emily Dunn, Cindy Zahn Weed, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix

Emily Dunn, Cindy Zahn Weed, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix

Among those checking out the merchandise were Event Co-Chairs Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor and Honorary Co-Chairs Emily Dunn and Cindy Weed.

When asked about the annual Can Do! Lunch, Anne fessed up that it was still in the planning stage. But before decisions were made, The Wilkinson Center had to focus on the Silent Disco the next night and the Spirit of Taos that will be held on Friday, October 23, at The Lot.

If you’re interested in a casual Taos-feel evening and haven’t been to The Lot across from White Rock, get your ticket. Course, it doesn’t hurt that it benefits one of East Dallas’ treasures — The Wilkinson Center.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: The Spirit Of Taos

Anne and Terry Conner

Anne and Terry Conner

Ann Dyer and Anne Reeder

Ann Dyer and Anne Reeder

Ah, turquoise! It’s seems to dress up even the most tired western attire. But on Friday, November 7, the fashions were glorious New Mexico with turquoise around necks, wrist and fingers. The occasion as the Friends of Wilkinson Center’s “The Spirit of Taos” at The Lot.

Charles and Pat McEvoy

Charles and Pat McEvoy

Friends of all ages were talking, dancing and buying up raffle tickets both inside and out in the beer garden under a full moon.

While the post is being prepared…well, you know the drill. Head for the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for a gander of turquoise and “friends.”