This year’s Parade of Playhouses‘ closing party at Design Within Reach on Thursday, September 22, had an added surprise for the Dallas CASA fundraiser supporters like HKS’s Erin Halliday, Kay Curtis, Barrie Mounger and Dora Figueroa, Corgan’s Warren Mortensen, OmniPlan’s Mike Hellinghausen and KDC’s Mike Rosamond and Toby Grove. It was a touching story about one of the playhouse raffle winners whose dream came true. Here’s a report from the field:
Dallas CASA celebrated the end of their annual Parade of Playhouses with The Closing Party, hosted by Design Within Reach. The evening was a chance to thank and celebrate those who helped make the 2022 event a success.
Dallas CASA Board Member Dave Kroenke shared with the crowd the heartwarming story of one playhouse winner. Juan M., a nine-year-old East Dallas resident, saved his money to purchase raffle tickets to win a playhouse. He put tickets in several raffle boxes, but his favorite was Fran’s Dutch Windmill. He even returned a second time to NorthPark Center to put additional tickets in that box.
The morning before the winning raffle tickets were pulled by Dallas CASA staff, Juan shared with his mother he thought he would win the house. When Dallas CASA staff FaceTimed him that afternoon to let him know he won he responded, “Let’s go!” but also shared he wasn’t surprised he won. He’d felt the house would be his.
Amy Butscher built Fran’s Dutch Windmill with her brother to honor their mother after her passing this year. Their mother had Dutch roots, and the siblings went all in on the Dutch theme, with tulips, wooden shoes, a Dutch door, painted wooden floor and more.
Standing at The Closing Party, Amy was happy and gratified to hear her playhouse had gone to a child who loved it so much. She’s been building for Parade of Playhouses since 2007, and her houses have included a horse stable, an Apollo 11 Landing Module, a “Frozen”-inspired castle and the colorful house from the movie “Up.”
Builders and architects for the other 11 houses were also in attendance at The Closing Party, in addition to representatives from the event’s Grand Marshal KDC and Mike Brosin, whose Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti/Crest Volvo served as presenting sponsor.
Attendees also discussed the complicated process of moving the houses into NorthPark Center via forklift, a full-day project at the beginning and end of each year’s Parade of Playhouses. But the crew from one builder, Billy Bryan of Balfour Beatty, skipped the forklift and simply hand-carried their “Mars Attacks!” spaceship into NorthPark this year to avoid any damage from the forklift. The Balfour Beatty team is quite adaptable – they are consistently named the top general contractor in North Texas and work on many of Dallas’ largest projects.
Dallas CASA volunteers attended the event to offer in-person thanks to builders and architects. Advocates included 12-year child advocate Doug Bily, ten-year advocate Winnie Campagna and seven-year advocate Linda Mitchell currently serving on National CASA’s volunteer board.
Cohost catered with delicious bites from TJ’s Seafood and Joy Macarons, and guests went home with popcorn from Doc Popcorn. The agency abbreviates “Parade of Playhouses” with “POP,” so it was a fun and appropriate parting gift.
* Photo credit: Grapevine Photo