NorthPark Center was in the final stages of moving in the 2019 Parade of Playhouses this past Friday morning. And wouldn’t you know it, just when it seemed like the 17 mini-mansions were all in place, Dallas CASA CEO Kathleen LaValle and NorthPark’s Lona Crabb decided that the CASA Critter didn’t seem quite right just east of the SouthCourt. Instead, it would be so much better around the corner in the EastCourt. Needless to say, it certainly wasn’t like moving the couch from one side of the room to the other. Just watching the NorthPark crew move the bigger-than-life-size bison between the other playhouses and store fronts and down steps without scuffing the floors amazed NorthParkies without hindering normal traffic.
Nope. The troop of moms with strollers carried on with their morning exercise routine. NorthPark GM Billy “NorthPark Mayor” Hines, who was being congratulated on celebrating his 68th birthday the day before, was making the rounds in his motorized scooter. And, just back from Italy, Crest’s Mike Brosin was showing off the Crest Camper to KDFW-Fox Hanna Battah.
While most of the playhouses were all finished up, a handful were having the final touches applied. Messages were being written on the Lemonade Stand‘s chalkboard; Plexiglass covers were being installed on Imaginasium to prevent little ones from getting too-close looks at Trey Wilder‘s artwork; and Playhouse vet Jeff Kindig was placing helmets in his Jumpin’ Gym Jamboree. He had already stationed the bike above reach.
Some cottages, like Tower of Shadows, Kaleidoscope and Blank Canvas, were dazzling works of art. For example, the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Module was perfectly timed with the anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon. She Shed boasted a metal roof and floor-to-ceiling windows. Froebel Haus sported wood blocks for building. Club 3401 by Architecture Demarest/MacArthur High School/Skyline High School had a barn door on one side and an attached ladder on the other. Pathfinder‘s and Dallas CASA Adventure Truck‘s flexible grill with glass-tile floor and convertible top had little touches that made them simply remarkable.
And while the Plexiglas covers were in place to keep munchkins from moving in, kids of all ages couldn’t resist looking in the windows to see the interiors. One AARP type declared that she wanted the Southern Charm with its shutter and flower boxes for herself. Another was smiling when she saw that Autism Awareness had been designed specifically for autistic youngsters.
Dallas CASA staffers said that the incredible turnout and quality of the playhouses was due to Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti/Crest Volvo returning as presenting sponsor, NorthPark again hosting the parade, and KDC’s coming on board.
It seems that “KDC wanted to make a big impact in the community for their 30th anniversary and chose Parade of Playhouses. Several of the playhouse builders were asked by both KDC and CASA.
“Some of the houses (Blank Canvas by Austin Commercial/Corgan, Dallas CASA Adventure Truck by Baker Triangle/HKS, Froebel Haus by Balfour Beatty/OMNIPLAN, Autism Awareness by TDIndustries Inc./Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. and CASA Critter by The Beck Group/Factory Blue) were partnerships between friends of CASA who have built in past years and teamed up with friends of KDC this year. KDC worked to make connections and introductions.”
Others (Active Imagination by Adolfson and Peterson Construction/Alliance Architects, Imaginasium by Ridgemont Commercial Construction/Gensler and Kaleidoscope by Rogers O’Brien Construction/O’Brien Architects/AST Manufacturing) were created by KDC friends.
The not-so-good news is that the photos of the playhouses don’t really do them justice. The good news is that the viewing is in the cool world of NorthPark and absolutely free while they’re in place until Sunday, July 28. That’s when the raffle is held and the 17 will be relocated to the winners’ backyards.
Raffle tickets are going for $5 each or $20 for five. They can be purchased at NorthPark or online, with all proceeds going to Dallas CASA.
Editor’s note: One does not have to have a child or even a backyard to win a playhouse. They make fabulous lawn art and there are many nonprofit organizations that would truly appreciate receiving one for their children.
For more playhouse looking, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.