The Dallas Arboretum looked as if it was going through a seasonal transition on the evening of Friday, October 21.
While displays of gourds looked right at home around the grounds as Halloween approached, an installation of Christmas decorations could be glimpsed hidden behind panels.
But on this night, the main attraction was the three-part Ruby Red Gala chaired by Sharon Ballew and presented by Drs. Linda L. Burk and John R. Gilmore that was taking place to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum.
Just as the sun was preparing to slip over the horizon to the west, a Champagne Reception for the 160 guests, including Venise and Larry Stuart with Rita Theil, Michelle Mew, Linda Spina, Angie and Kevin Kadesky and past Women’s Council President Lisa Loy Laughlin was held in A Woman’s Garden with a harpist performing near the Joe Rosenthal “Nude Bronze” gazing at the garden’s pool. The Garden was opened in 1997 and then expanded and maintained thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Council.
Arboretum President and CEO Mary Brinegar was receiving congratulations following her recent retirement announcement. Emilynn Wilson and Patricia Cowlishaw recalled that their roots with Mary went back to the days of KERA, when Mary held a variety of fundraising roles including auction coordinator and director and associate development director.
While some gentlemen like Mark Hardin and Don Averitt dutifully wore tuxedos, others like Jay Munn and Kevin King opted for a simple coat and tie despite the 99-degree temperature and the 26-degree humidity.
Around 6:30, all eyes were directed to the Garden’s infinity pool, where a “sprite” was set to perform a balletic dance routine inside a huge bubble. In stepping from the terrace into the pool, alas, she found things a bit wobbly and landed in an unplanned sitting position.
Pulling herself up, she proceeded to assume various artistic positions in the somewhat hazy ball, which sported a piece of long black tape that distracted from the view. Perhaps a shot of Windex and shifting the tape to the top of the bubble would have helped.
When emcee Scott Murray invited the crowd to salute the performance, the result was a, uh, muted response. Perhaps the guests were preoccupied ambling toward the seated dinner in the Jonsson Color Garden, where a menu of Steakhouse Wedge salad, Petite Filet with Lobster Tail and a variety of desserts awaited?