The Omni was the site of two groups that split centuries ago on Saturday, November 4. In the Dallas Ballroom, a largely Catholic contingency rallied for 2017 St. Jude Evening Under The Stars. Just a hallway way in the Trinity Ballroom, the Jubilee Park and Community Center’s 20th anniversary “Celebrate Love Dream” was being celebrated with a large number of Jubilee’s founding partners, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
But both groups faced a common challenge. It was in the bathrooms. Despite the best efforts, people emerged from the restrooms with soapy hands. It seems that the sensor-detecting faucets in the lavatories were playing hard to get. One woman, upon seeing another guest failing to find water at any of the six basins, buddied up and held two fingers against the sensors, resulting in flowing water. The soaped-up guest’s wasn’t very quick. By the time she put her hands under the faucet, the water had stopped. The two women partnered up; while one blocked the sensor, the other finally got the now sticky soap off. Gents reported a similar situation in their lavatory.
But the soapy challenge was soon forgotten as the partying commenced. Before even entering the cocktail party in the ballroom’s lobby, arriving guests saw hundreds of colorful ribbons hanging from equally colorful balloons hovering overhead.
As the 800 members of the Jubilee black-tie set like Marla and Evening Emcee Tony Briggle, Brent Christopher, Anne and Bill Johnson, Stacey Paddock Malcolmson and Ken Malcolmson, Heather Furniss, Delilah and Sam Boyd and Amanda and Price Johnson cocktailed, chatted and made great use of MirMir in the lobby, Event Co-Chair Lydia Addy was in the ballroom going over last-minute details.
The room was like a mega birthday event, with a mammoth chandelier of huge balloons, party games like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” and “Putt Putt” in the corners of the room, and a 12-foot-high, multi-layered birthday cake in the center of the dance floor.
On each table was a cake topped with electric candles. The confections looked good enough to eat, and guests would soon learn that they were, indeed. Despite looking like faux cakes, they actually were chocolate and vanilla, double-layer cakes.
Organizers had planned to run a tight program, with each speaker limited to two minutes. But as speakers with the best of intentions addressed the crowd, they said those infamous words that give event planners conniption fits — “I’m going to go off script.” It started when Rev. Mark Anschutz, who was to provide the invocation, told the audience that they should have known better than to give a minister the mic. His two minutes ended up being a lengthy thank you to individuals who had worked over the years to make Jubilee happen. That opened the floodgates, with Lydia and her Co-Chair/husband Bill Addy also expanding upon their two minutes in making their remarks. One behind the scenes person said that Jubilee CEO Ben Leal would stay on script, only to hear Ben tiptoe off script, too.
But seriously, who could blame them if they wanted to thank everyone involved in the success of the southwest Dallas oasis? Since 1997, Jubilee Park has strengthened the 62-block community in southeast Dallas based on the five pillars of education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development for both children and adults. As Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings noted of Jubilee Park and its supporters in addressing the crowd: “This marks the best of Dallas.” Not to mention that, instead of hitting the goal of $1.3M, the event had brought in more than $1.4M!
In between the speakers, salads were followed by chewy short ribs. Servers removed the centerpieces and returned minutes later with slices of the cake on plates and flutes of champagne. Ben invited all who had had any part of Jubilee to come to the dance floor to toast the occasion. With the dance floor filled, the rest of the guests, like Louise and Guy Griffeth, Linda and Les Secrest, Ann and Bob Dyer and Ken Schnitzer, stood in their places to join the birthday toast and sing “Happy Birthday.” With that, a confetti canon showered the room with paper.
Then, to keep the action going, Emerald City quickly followed to transform the dance of toasters to dancers with glow sticks.