The first introduction of the 2022-2023 winter temperatures arrived on North Texas doorsteps before the sun rose on Saturday, November 12. Despite the evening’s cold, the area was burning with fundraising. Operation Kindness’ Canines, Cats and Cabernet Gala was honoring Carol Seay with the Champion for Animals Award and Charles Jones with the Legacy of Kindness Award at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Dallas; Folds of Honor was on the field at AT&T Stadium; and the Perot Museum was brimming with activity for its Night at the Museum celebrating the Museum’s 10th anniversary.
But Fair Park beat them all. While music lovers were heading to the Music Hall via gates along Robert B. Cullum Boulevard, an odd mix were checking in at Gate 3 along Parry Avenue. It was a bastion of foodies vs. history lovers.
The black-tie types who were headed to the restored Hall of State for the Dallas Historical Society Centennial Gala, co-chaired by Kristen Sanger and Lisa Singleton, were directed down the drive lined with parks cars, cans and all types of trucks belonging to the Ultimate Food Fight Experience providers and attendees.
As they weaved their way through the gauntlet of vehicles, they arrived at the Hall of State glowing in magnificent floors and a blue carpet from the curb up the steps to the front door. On hand for the event was Adrienne Akin Faulkner, whose grandfather George Dahl spearheaded the redesign of Fair Park for the Texas Centennial in 1936.
Since the night’s chill had invaded the hall, many guests like Catherine Stone, Carolyn Speed, Nancy Shelton, Kimberly Wynne, Veletta Lill and Kristi Sherrill Hoyl opted to keep to their cloaks and stoles.
While the original plan was for 300 guests, that number had dwindled down to 176 due to signs of COVID’s return. But it didn’t matter. In fact it made the evening better. Instead of a crammed Great Hall, it resulted in a beautiful setting that gleamed with magnificent lighting and beautifully decorated tables for the crowd including Joe Dealey Jr., Brooke and Aaron Shelby, Laurie and Phil Evans, Mary Suhm, Roy Washburn, Dotti Reeder, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Marcos Moore, Sean Orr and Chris Heinbaugh.
But before guests got a chance to see the dining arrangements, they enjoyed the cocktail reception with statues of James W. Fanin, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston towering along the walls of the Hall of Heroes.
The evening was a first time visit for some to check out Thomas Feely Jr.’s remarkable “Texas Liberty Forever!” diorama in the South Texas Room.
Dallas Historical Society Development Director Michelle Meadows admitted that when DHS Executive Director Karl Chiao talked about the “diorama,” she could only think of the shoe box diorama from her childhood. But the gargantuan presentation of the final day of the Alamo amazed all.
When asked if he had seen “the Alamo,” Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher looked puzzled. The movie? The one in San Antonio? But just a couple of seconds after entering the room, he was spying little spots that demonstrated Feely’s intricate details.
Children’s Health President/CEO Chris Durovich and his bride Christina Durovich were told about a small burnt rubble. It seems that the day before the Alamo fell, a building on the western outskirts had been set on fire and destroyed. In making the diorama, Feely built a miniature of the building and burned it.
And while there was no doubt that the mammoth diorama was the centerpiece of the wing, the adjacent North Texas Room had its own true treasures like the story of Sarah and Patrick Henry Herndon, who had been a mystery for 180 years.
On the other side of the Hall of Heroes in the East Texas Room, guests like Susan Stone studied some of the Texas legends like Jessie Daniel Ames, Tex Schramm, Mae Belcher, Ann and Franklin Chase, G.B. Dealey and Sarah Horton Cockrell.
Right on cue, the cocktail party’s string quartet at the base of the steps leading to the Great Hall ended and the drapes at the top of the stairs were pulled back revealing the dining room, where the DHS’ Centennial Dallas History Maker Award would be presented to the Moody Foundation represented by Foundation Human Resources Director Jamie Williams during the dinner provided by Wendy Krispin.
If you didn’t make it to the dinner, you can still have a chance to toast the DHS’s Centennial on Thursday, January 19, for the Dallas Historical Society Centennial Champagne Reception and Open House, when all past, present and future Dallas History Makers will be honored for their “significant contributions to our community.” Tickets are going for $100 and are available here.
For more looks at the historical evening, check out My SweetCharity Photo Gallery.