Retailers aren’t the only ones getting an early start on holiday specials. The Dallas Arboretum not only getting in the Christmas spirit earlier than usual, it’s adding a new treat to its annual festivities.
Thanks to longtime Arboretum supporters Pauline and Austin Neuhoff, The Christmas Village will join the annual 12 Days of Christmas’ milkmaids, drummers and swans a’swimming for Holiday At The Arboretum.
According to Pauline, who was involved in everything from design approval to construction at builder Mecca, “The Arboretum is one of Dallas’s greatest assets, so we hope this charming Christmas Village will bring people to the beautiful surroundings and give families a special holiday experience.”
Inspired by the European Christmas Markets, The Christmas Village will be featured 16 to 19-feet shops with individual themes (i.e. bakery, candy shop, butcher shop, bookstore, hat shop, cobbler, post office, flower shop, music shop, carpenter, doctor’s office, bandstand and Santa’s House) and a 21-foot clock tower. And, of course, the shops will be open for visits and the exteriors will be ideal for photo opps.
On the weekends and evenings, shop keepers (aka Arboretum volunteers) will “pass out a sample of their wares, such as a piece of candy at the candy shop.”
According to Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Throughout Europe, there’s a natural charm in the towns, especially during the holidays. We wanted to create this type of holiday experience in oversized playhouses for families, especially children, that’s educational, exciting and experiential.”
At night a million of light will shine on the Village roofs in the Pecan Grove, in the trees and throughout the Arboretum grounds. Thank heaven Reliant is the presenting sponsor.
And there’s still more! Not only is Holiday At The Arboretum is kicking off this Saturday earlier than usual, from this Saturday through Wednesday, November 27, the price of daytime admission is going to be $12.
So, if you haven’t had that Christmas card photo taken, want to drop off a letter at the post office for a jolly old fellow to receive it or just check in with Santa in person** at Santa’s House, head to the Arboretum.
* Graphic/photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden ** Here is Santa's schedule for receiving friends:
Saturday, November 23, and Sunday, November 24 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Wednesdays (November 27, December 4, 11 and 18) from 6 to 9 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays (November 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22) from noon to 4 p.m.
Former Cattle Baron’s Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill have temporarily closeted their cowboy boots and pulled out their stilettos to raise money for the Texas Ballet Theater’s point shoes.
The gals, who are co-chairing the TBT’s Tutu Chic Show and Luncheon on Tuesday, December 3, at the Winspear, just sent word that there are just two tables left for the Stanley Korshak fashions being modeled by TBT dancers.
The bad news: online reservations are no longer being accepted. The good news: reservations are available by calling 877.828.9200, Ext. 111.
High atop the hill at Skillman and Northwest Highway, the Dallas Children’s Theater is a brilliantly happy place where creativity and children thrive. To celebrate its upcoming anniversary, plans were announced on Tuesday, October 22, at KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts about “a 35th Anniversary Public Art Project to raise $500,000 for the commission and installation” of a sculpture by California artist Christian Moeller at the theater. Here’s a report from field:
On Tuesday, October 22, the art community gathered at the sparkling new KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts to commemorate Dallas Children’s Theater’s (DCT) 35th anniversary kick-off campaign to bring an iconic sculpture to the DCT grounds. Craig Hall himself was present to welcome an enviously robust cadre of art enthusiasts to his magnificent new digs. Patricia B. Meadows and Sharon Martín were seen chatting with Anne Bothwell and Pauline Medrano while learning more about the raison d’être for the evening: an important piece of art designed by California-based Christian Moeller titled “Duet.” “Duet” resembles a happy hybrid of a giraffe and a snail. Moeller says “Duet” is best described as two towering creatures “waving” on a grand scale to greet guests.
Moeller, chosen after an exhaustive search by DCT’s Public Art Committee, says, “the figures are two objects of character we don’t tire of looking at; friendly guardians and companions during hours of contemplation and thought.”
After enjoying yummy eats accompanied by a selection of delicious Hall wines, the group gathered to listen to a lively presentation kicked off by art guru Gail Sachson. Sachson congratulated DCT on having the vision to bring an important piece of art to the theater’s campus. DCT’s site at Skillman and Northwest Highway is a gateway to Lake Highlands and the proposed sculpture, “Duet” with its two welcoming characters would not only cheer audience members, but would be a beacon for the entire area, currently void of inspiring, elegant visual art.
Following the festive program, including rollicking remarks from Honorary Chair Dale Hansen, guests departed with new-found knowledge of this awakening artistic opportunity, and more importantly, a delicious custom designed and baked cookie featuring the images of the darling “Duet'” Art + cookie = Party!
To help support the campaign, check here!
* Photo credit: Lawrence Jenkins ** Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Theater
IF/THEN Summit Dinner Kicks Off Four-Day Conference For American Association For The Advancement Of Science Ambassadors
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science was the setting for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) IF/THEN Ambassadors Summit dinner on Monday, October 21. Despite the preceding day’s tornadic storms, the guests learned about the importance of women in science and technology from people like Lyda Hill, Geena Davis, Nicole Small and Dr. Sylvia Earle. Here’s a report from the field:
Less than 24-hours after ten tornadoes hit the Dallas area, more than 300 invited guests gathered on Monday, October 21, at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to celebrate the AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador Summit being held for three days in Dallas that launched a $25 million initiative to inspire the next generation of women STEM pioneers. Guests learned about the 122 women ambassadors chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Lyda Hill Philanthropies to be STEM role models and activate a culture shift among young girls to enter STEM careers.
Among guests at the gala were Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis, former first lady Laura Bush, pioneering oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Lyda Hill and Lyda Hill Philanthropies CEO/ former Perot Museum of Nature and Science CEO Nicole Small. Lyda began the evening welcoming all the guests and explaining why it is so important to increase the numbers of women in science professions because only 24% of science, technology, engineering and math jobs in the U.S. are held by women. IF/THEN believes that “if we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world.”
Nicole spoke about what the four-day Summit was going to include: 246 photo shoots, 103 video shoots, 1,342 hours of training in 8 separate training tracks, 122 3-D scans, 1,000+ students visited in school assemblies and 155 IF/THEN Girls Council members. There are ambassadors attending the training from 42 states and range in age from 17 to 60+.
Guests were treated to a video greeting from Melinda Gates who spoke about growing up in Dallas and how vitally important it is to support and encourage girls to love, study and enter STEM careers. The keynote address came from legendary and pioneering oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle. Dr. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and spoke about often being the only woman on a dive team and in meetings. She explained that she fell in love with the ocean when her mother allowed the ocean waves to topple her during her first remembered trip to the beach. She said she got up and knew she loved to ocean.
As guests enjoyed a delicious meal of roasted New York steak and miso glazed salmon, they heard from two of the ambassadors, Rae Wynn-Grant and Jess Cramp, who spoke about why they applied to be ambassadors and what the IF/THEN initiative and Summit meant to them. They said they are both looking forward to sharing their stories with more girls to inspire them to enter fields of science.
The evening ended with a conversation between Lyda and Geena, moderated by Nicole Small. Geena Davis, who is the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, spoke about watching television shows with her young daughter and realizing there weren’t a lot of women characters in leading roles, or at all. She began to do research on how many women were portrayed in television, movies and other media and realized there was a large gap between men and women. She then decided to launch her Institute to increase powerful images of women in media.
The evening ended with Lyda presenting Geena with a purple cowboy hat in homage to her upcoming film “Cowgirl’s Last Stand.”
* Photo credit: James Edward
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the 2019 Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, October 19. And, a heckuva lot of folks took full advantage of it to celebrate this year’s theme, “True Grit,” and to raise another big pile of money for the American Cancer Society.
While past CBB Chairs like Founder Jacque Wynne, Mary Martha Pickens, Olivia Kearney, Cindy Stager, Katy Bock, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon, Jonika Nix and Kristi Hoyl admitted that it was fun merely to attend the event, 2019 CBB Co-Chairs Wendy Messmann and Lisa Haddow Shirley went around looking like kids on Christmas morning. As for 2019 CBB Underwriting Co-Chairs/2020 CBB Co-Chairs Diana Hamilton and Heather Randall, their mantra seemed to be, “Let’s focus first on raising money this year. Then we’ll start working on 2020!”
Promptly at 6 p.m., many of the 3,000-plus attendees including Lee Bailey, Doris Jacobs, Angie and Kevin Kadesky, Barbara and Don Daseke, Kim and Greg Hext, Kathleen and Scott Kirby and Joanna Clark started gathering for the VIP Baron Party, presented by Anne Davidson, in the Live Auction Room. Soon, they knew, country-music star Travis Tritt would be taking the stage there.
Amy and Jim “Sevy” Severson — Sevy would be on stage later to help auction off the Dallas Chefs in Napa package — were eyeing a big handsome new ATV parked near one of the registration tables. The couple said it would be perfect for their getaway home in Port O’Connor, which they visit twice a month. … Mary Martha Pickens was enjoying one of the tray-passed grilled cheese sandwiches. … Crayton Webb, whose wife Nikki Webb had been a 2019 CBB Reveal Party co-chair, was talking about his Sunwest Communications firm doubling the size of its office space and signing Andrews Distributing as a client. A little later, the peripatetic PR man could be seen jawboning with ExxonMobil’s Truman Bell.
At 6:27 — about half an hour later than scheduled — Travis and his band finally hit the stage and opened with one of his biggest records, an uptempo song called “Put Some Drive In Your Country.” There followed hit after hit after hit: “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ (Anymore),” “Where Corn Don’t Grow,” “Country Club,” and “Trouble,” to name just a few. At one point, the singer realized the room was so crowded, there wasn’t any space down front for a “dance floor.” So, he suggested the tables and chairs there be shoved aside to allow for a little belly-rubbing, a la a real Texas honky-tonk. Either because of the size of the crowd — or the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm for said belly-rubbing — the human mosh pit at the front of the stage stayed in place.
While Travis was rallying the troops in the Live Auction Room, including Kim Noltemy, Geoffroy van Raemdonck and Alvise Orsini with Lana Todorodvich, who were attending their first Cattle Baron’s Ball, some guests ventured over to the Silent Auction room or to the casino upstairs. Others made for the multiple bars and various food stations, where vittles like Jalapeno mac ‘n’ cheese muffins, beef short-rib sliders, Hill Country sausage, shredded chicken tacos and Shiner Bock chili pie were being served up.
Soon enough it was time for the Live Auction to begin, under the auspices of 20-year veteran CBB auctioneer Mike Jones. As Episcopal School of Dallas’ Parish Rosettes paraded through the tight-knit crowd like adorable ducklings, Mike got things going with an Orlando, Florida, golf experience that wound up being sold for just $13K. When the next three or four items drew similarly “modest,” sub-$20K bids (“I’m not seeing enough hands in the first two rows!” Mike tut-tutted), it began dawning on folks that this year’s auction might turn out to be less than a record-buster.
How come? Perhaps it was because longtime major-league bidders like Nancy C. Rogers, Cliff Fischer, local auto dealers (Lisa and Clay Cooley, Jennifer and John Eagle, Ken Schnitzer and the Sewell family) and others were there in spirit only. Evidently they’d either just made big donations to CBB or ACS — or handed over their seats to non-bidding-prone buds and associates.
And then there was the fact that some of the 20-plus live-auction items seemed to have grown a bit long in the tooth. For instance, the Dean Driver-Custom Crystal package, which had been snapped up for $70K last year, barely nudged across the $30K mark. And even the legendary Chefs Dinner had just four chefs on stage promoting the package (although the MIA chefs all had excellent excuses for being no-shows).
Or, just maybe, the Mother Nature-friendly Gilley’s had gotten a bit too into a “been-there, partied-there” mindset after years of settling into grand pastures and Texas legendary ranches.
Another problem was the meet-and-greet with Keith Urban, who was scheduled to be the Andrews Distributing Main Stage performer starting at 10:30. For the coveted meet-and-greet with the Aussie superstar, top-drawer guests like Laurie Harrison and Barbara and Don Daseke were told to report to a designated spot by the Ferris wheel at 9:30. Problem was, that yanked some premier bidders away from the live auction that was still going on.
Despite everything, Mike’s live auction hauled in more than $1M. Keith’s performance proved to be a real showstopper. And guests like Ron Corning, Nellie Sciutto, Martha Jackson, Kathleen and Scott King, and Kristen and Jim Hinton all seemed to be having a great time, with laughs and good times all-around. For example, NorthPark Center’s Nancy Nasher, Kristen Gibbins and Paula Hayes were asked by a photographer to pose next to a snoozing bronze cowboy. When Nancy accommodated a request to put her hands on the statue’s shoulders, the “snoozing cowboy” moved. Passersby took note—thanks to the squeals of surprise and delight that ensued. Seems the cowpoke wasn’t bronze, but flesh-and-blood, after all.
For more looks at the fun-raising fundraisers, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.
Glenn Hunter contributed to this post.
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