Wilkinson Center’s Spirit Of Taos Returns To Melissa Benge Collection For A Kick-Off Party With Boots And News Galore

Melissa Benge Collection boots

Melissa Benge Collection boots

The Friends of Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos was such a successful kickoff last year at Melissa Benge Collection, they did a repeat on Wednesday, September 21. It’s no wonder. With boots, turquoise, suede coats, belts, saddles, leather goods and silver buckles, the shop seemed to have brought the best parts of Taos to the Knox-Henderson neighborhood.

Melissa Benge Collection leather, silver and turquoise accessories

Melissa Benge Collection leather, silver and turquoise accessories

This year the Benge crew upped the ante by giving guests 10% off of all merchandise, donating 10% of all the evening’s proceeds to Wilkinson Center and providing guests like Anne Conner, Liz Stutts, OJ DeSouza, Michael Cooley, Emily Dunn, Sandra Pomeroy, Joe Acosta and Gary Stevener with “a decorative coffee mug from Melissa Benge Collection and a jar of La Casita Award Winning salsa as a takeaway gift.”

Anne Reeder, Missy Huber and Millie Winston

Anne Reeder, Missy Huber and Millie Winston

Evidently nobody cared when the official start time was. Everybody was there except Wilkinson Center PR gal Vodi Cook. Alas, the dedicated blonde Vodi’s recent demolition derby of a car crunch had resulted in her left arm going under the knife to repair damaged ligaments from just above the elbow to her wrist. Gee! The good news is that Vodi is right-handed.

And despite holding up bravely at the Kidney Texas lunch the day before, Vodi was not up to snuff for the Spirit KO. Luckily, Wilkinson Center’s Executive Director Anne Reeder was on hand to answer any questions.

One question hitting Anne that had absolutely nothing to do with Wilkinson was the bulldozers demolishing the former Steakley dealership at the corner of Abrams and Northwest Highway. She recalled the 1960s when most of Dallas thought anything north of the Park Cities was Oklahoma. It was at that time some very brave entrepreneurs saw the city’s future lying along Northwest Highway. While the late Ray Nasher was building NorthPark Center, Anne’s dad, the late John Steakley, built a well-known and successful Chevrolet dealership on the property where a pony ride operation had been. And while the family sold the property years ago, most locals still refer to it as the Steakley property.

Meridith Zidell, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix

Meridith Zidell, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix

But Anne quickly recovered from the good old days memories and told how Stephanie Taylor, Sloan Looney Dix and Meridith Zidell would chair Spirit on Friday, October 28. And, yes, it will return to The Lot just across the street from White Rock. Joining the hoop-la will be Honorary Co-Chair Steve & Cathy Saxon. And, of course, the raffle will have everything including jewelry, dining opportunities, trips and art.

A couple of the very tip-top items are

  • Taos Bling (Value: One of a kind!) — For anyone who loves Taos, they’ve just got to have turquoise  and silver in their jewel box along with their diamonds. But then one can simply never have enough of the good stuff. So “Dallas jeweler Beyond Baroque will deck you out with diamonds and turquoise: turquoise and diamond earrings, turquoise discs interspersed between silver chain necklace with vintage bone pendant accented with pave diamond heading, and collection of stackable turquoise and diamond bracelets. According to Vodi, “We thought Taos Bling would be a great item to feature since all the ladies who attend the event wear their turquoise and pave diamonds.”
  • Cookin’ With Sibby (Value: $1,200) — Unlike the usual dining-out package, how about something totally new and not in your zip code? Longtime Wilkinson Center supporter/creative maven Sibby Barrett will whip up a dinner for four guests at Onion Creek Kitchens at the Hill Country’s Juniper Hills Farm in Blanco. And since it’ll be a full night of dining and wining, the guests won’t have to scurry back to Big Old D. Sibby has arranged for a one-night stay in “two charming cottages.”
Steve and Cathy Saxon

Steve and Cathy Saxon

The Spirit of Taos is one of those events where boots, turquoise and jeans are so at home that you wish it went on for a couple of days.

Tickets/sponsorships range from $150 for outdoor tickets to $8,000 that includes premium covered seating for a table for eight.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: The Spirit Of Taos

According to The Spirit Of Taos Co-Chair Meridith Myers Zidell,

Meredith Zidell, Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor (File photo)

Meredith Zidell, Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor (File photo)

“Supporting Wilkinson Center is a family tradition in the Myers family. My Co-Chairs Sloan Looney Dix, and Stephanie Taylor and, I all grew up in Lakewood and all of our moms have been active in the Friends of Wilkinson Center for many years. They passed on their passion and commitment to the mission of providing Pathways out of Poverty. Stephanie’s mom, Missy Huber, is the current president of the Friends of Wilkinson Center and my mom, Melanie Myers, is the immediate past president of the Wilkinson Center Board of Directors. We are proud to represent the next generation of Friends and we hope to pass on the fun of voluntarism and the importance of community service to our children. We support Wilkinson Center because they serve over 10,000 individual each year by providing food, emergency services, adult education and job connections for working poor families in Dallas.

The Spirit Of Taos*

The Spirit Of Taos*

Steve Saxon and Cathy Brittingham Saxon*

Steve Saxon and Cathy Brittingham Saxon*

“The 2016 honorary co-chairs are Cathy Brittingham Saxon and Steve Saxon. Cathy (mother of Friends member Natalie Nihill) helped Missy create and chair the first Spirit of Taos in 2014. Since many of their friends escape to New Mexico each summer, they decided to channel that cool Taos vibe to entice poor Texans who were sick of the Dallas heat. The resulting laid-back celebration of fun, food, friends and music has been sold out each year to guests who were happy to trade tuxes for boots. The 2016 Spirit of Taos will be held at The Lot on Friday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. Individual tickets can be purchased here. For sponsorships and tables, please contact Vodi Cook at 972.284.0305 or email her at [email protected]. Hope you will join us!”

* Photo and graphic provided by Wilkinson Center