It seems that Brook Hollow had made some changes to its two-lane entry. Now one lane was dedicated to “members only,” and the other was for guests. But having only one lane open for the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion Show on Tuesday, October 4, caused a bit of an unexpected challenge. One guest was seen parking at a store across Harry Hines and then walking over to the club. Another gal arriving at the entry at 11:05 didn’t hand over her car until 11:25.
One observer commiserated that club members shouldn’t have to wait in line for the occasional special event.
Still emerging from two years of no in-person events, perhaps the club needed to rethink its plan and open both lanes for the half hour leading up to the revenue-making events?
But once on the club’s grounds, there was plenty of “horsing” around with Amigo and Artie and their riders Emily and Jamie standing on the lush lawn in front of the entrance. Over to the side of the porte cochère were Equest ambassadors Dare and Ranger gladly accommodating selfies with guests.
Inside the clubhouse, the ballroom, the veranda and the Oak Room were filled for 400+ guests. According to staffers, the event was one of the largest since before the pandemic trampled all in-person get-togethers.
Luncheon Chair Shannon Graham was feeling a bit guilty having to tell late requesters there just was no more room at the fashion show boasting Highland Park Village merchants Akris, Alice and Olivia, Etro, Carolina Herrera, Lela Rose, Roller Rabbit and Veronica Beard.
But as the clock ticked away for the show to begin, it became obvious that it was going to be delayed as the hundreds of guests like Lisa Troutt, Heather Washburne with mom Vicki Howland, Jill Rowlett, Carol Huckin, Keana Meyer, Tricia George, Diane Bumpas, Candace Winslow, Jennifer Dix, Cheryl Joyner, Leslie Merrick, Stacy Burke, Fredye Factor, Margo Goodwin, Emily Canete, Bianca Allison, Daniella Giglio, LuAne McWhorter, Ciara Cooley Bigger, Tracy Lange, Victoria Snee, Sarah Branch, Melinda Rathke and Dan Strimple moved from the outside reception via the entry hall to the ballroom.
Even so the delay continued and observers noticed clusters of empty seats. Architecturally perfect eyebrows raised. Why, there were even front row seats unfilled.
But schedules had to be met, so the show kicked off with Auxiliary President Billye Turner welcoming guests and reporting that plans were already in place for 2023 with Katherine Wyker and Kimber Hartmann taking over the presidential role.
As soon as the “amens” were heard throughout the room following Rev. Tommy Overton’s invocation, guests waiting in the entry scurried to their places.
Shannon invited pre-teen Nathanial Allison to the stage, where he acknowledged the special relationship he had with Fashion Show Honorary Chair Lisa Cooley. He then presented her with a gift.
Next Shannon introduced Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, who introduced a video featuring clients and their parents providing testimonials about their own experiences with the equine therapy program.
To drive this point home, Lili had Equest client Amanda Long and her mom Tracey Denton arrive on stage. Tracey told how she had been in line at the grocery after having moved to the area. Overhearing a customer in the check-out line talk about Equest, she was so impressed that she went straight to Equest to see if they could help Amanda, who suffers from Partial Trisomy 8q translocated 4q.
From Amanda’s first ride on Crunch, Tracey was amazed at her daughter’s immediate reaction. Even today Equest’s effect on the youngster is just as touching.
Arriving at the podium, Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth presented the Community Service Award to longtime philanthropist Sarah Losinger.
Then it was showtime, with a fashion show that rocked with fashions provided by Highland Park Village. The clothes ranged for all ages and occasions.
However, unlike years past when the wee ones stole the show, the Etro adult models gave the youngsters a run for their money with one of the male models nearly having the guests at the end of the runway swooning loudly, and Thomas Mullins giving a special nod to Amanda seated in her wheelchair near the runway.
Still the kids held their own, hitting poses like pros. One especially poignant moment was by Equest client Elizabeth Laughlin. In the past she had had to rely on her walker, but on this date, she and her kid sister Annie Laughlin walked on their own to the delight of mom Caitlin Laughlin and grandmom Lisa Loy Laughlin.
For more looks of the faces and fashions, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.