The Last Roundup
The Will Smith Charitable Foundation, founded by Susan Naylor, hosted the eighth and final gala, The Last Roundup, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Witte Museum. On the host committee were Dawn Dixon, Laura Dixon, Tracee Feik, Molly Forina, Lauren Gordon, Morgan Harrison, Lisa Howerton, Cristine McCarty, Tim Morrow, Heather Nations, Bert Pfiester, Christy Prescott, Kwezi Rann, Merilu Moreno-Smith, Sheryl Staffier, Brandi Carberry Vitier and mistress of ceremonies Ursula Pari. They oversaw a fundraiser including a feast with a cowboy flair featuring Texas-grown cuisine by The RK Group, silent and live auctions, Aloha entertainment and musical performances by Kevin Flowler and Bryan Lewis. Gala attendance grew from 130 to over 500 during the past eight years. A few attendees at the final roundup included Gordon Hartman, Bruce and Alethea Bugg, Tom Frost III, Cardo and Britt Kleberg, Natalee Newell, Royce Brewer-Vogt, Jennifer Morrow, Mark Metcalfe, Craig Browning, JJ Feik, Hollis Grizzard Jr., and Marise McDermott, Mike Bacon, Boxy and Janet Hornberger, Peggy Walker and Myron East, Sam and Laura Dawson and Neal Nations. A whopping $200,000 was raised for children’s charities!
Laughing out Loud
The fourth annual “Laugh for Lymphoma” event, chaired by Carla Davalos Nelson, Amy Garcia and Sheila Mayfield, was presented by Charles Butt; bringing Texas’ finest comedians together for an evening of laughs, dining and toasting of the honorary chair, lymphoma survivor Katie Russell. The event honored Dr. Karla Diaz Davalos, who lost her battle to lymphoma in 2014. Prior to her passing, Karla was involved in the early planning of this event and handpicked the Halo House Foundation in Houston as the beneficiary. Halo House serves local families who travel to M.D. Anderson for care. Executive director Kathleen Fowler and her son, Dr. Nathan Fowler, are the co-founders of Halo House.
Karla was diagnosed with lymphoma during her first year of fellowship in the Department of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. She and her husband, Tony Davalos, were expecting their first child, but continued with chemotherapy. Pablo Davalos was born in December 2013, and seven months later, Karla lost her fight.
The event was held at Laugh Out Loud! Comedy Club in early February. Guests included Andy and Holly Besing, Dan and Carla Nelson, Aurora Nestor, Todd and Karen Brockwell, Richard and Jessie Kardys, Jo Lynne Meador, Anna and Thad Ziegler, Marybeth and Matthew Mosbacker, Mary and Louis Labatt and John and Lauren Browning. They enjoyed a catered dinner by Paloma Blanca, dessert by Cookie Cab, an open bar and entertainment by three comedians. Danny Ingall hosted with headliner Vic Henley, and Jason Cheny was the featured comedian. Edie and John Wright, April and Albert Dickson, Lauren and Stephen Berchelmann, Jenny Carnes, Heather and Jeff de Rojas and Emily and Ted Liljenwall also enjoyed the night of laughs for a good cause.
Saluting San Antonio Women Artists
Cassandra Carr opened her lovely home at the Broadway Residences for an evening to recognize local women artists. AnArte Gallery owner Ana Montoya and Cassandra Carr hosted the event and introduced artists Gini Garcia, Laura Mijangos, Lucy Peveto, Brook Rosser, Antonio Richardson, Maricela Sanchez, Lisa Shackelford, Kathy Sosa and Carla Veliz. Artwork was displayed throughout the home and in two other residences at the Broadway. Twenty percent of each sale was donated to AugustHeart, a free heart-screening program offered to San Antonio area teens in an effort to reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death.
Doré Koontz, founder of AugustHeart, was on hand, as were Jenifer Brown, Cari Hill, Janet Montagne, Natalee Newel, owner of Café Dijon; Lisa Astorga-Watel, owner of Bite Restaurant, and husband Damien Watel, owner of Bistro Vatel. Also enjoying the evening were designer Michael Morrison, Mary Ellen Londrie, Christi Lang, Jan Williams, Gobie Walsdorf, Paulette Jemal, Sonia Galarcep, Mathias and Erika Shubnell, Maricela Cavazos, Wendy Tommerlin, Lesly Fichtel, Lisa Byington and Jane Super.
A Springtime Christening
The ladies of Live Oak Garden Club hosted A Standard Flower Show at the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, Bishop Jones Center, in early April. President Sarah Forney and co-chairs Lisa Swann and Marilyn Looney put together the committee and planned a beautiful reception with lead hostess Pat Krueger, who was busy opening bottles of bubbly and serving a pink vodka drink that was most refreshing. Lynn Thompson, Debbie Hamilton (a blue ribbon winner-scoring 90 points or above), Nancy Avellar and Loretta Patterson provided goodies, and Jan Davis (a REALLY big winner- The Designer’s Choice Award, for scoring 95 points and above) helped with the assignments. The Tricolor Award, scoring 95 points or above, went to Liz Ressmann, who has amassed a few colorful ribbons! Nancy Cook-Monroe, Xonia Kargl, Victoria Wood, Jane Crump, Sue Dullnig, Irene Shaw, Maxine Chiodo, Katherine Zeigler, Leslie Zinsmeyer, Joan Woodley and Joann Neal were on hand to help with logistics. Marijane Gish took first place on fireplace mantel. A.J. Garcia completed a trio of look-alikes, and her mama, Maria Lozano, and aunt, Nelly Hinojosa, dropped by to check out her flower-arranging skills. Brenda Sturm exhibited in the niche beside the altar. Sarah Forney’s husband, Phillip Forney, brought his mama, Evelyn Forney, who might have been our oldest guest at 94 years young! Kayla McDonnell, Mary Lou Vielock and Janet Anderson admired Helen Bryan’s tussie-mussies and props, including her father’s christening gown from 1926, and the silver baby cups belonging to her father, her son and herself. Her mother-in-law Shirley Bryan’s exhibit appeared in the chapel, and Marilyn Alefsen viewed and arranged exhibits pertaining to a springtime christening. cia completed a trio of look-alikes, and her mama, Maria Lozano, and aunt, Nelly Hinojosa, dropped by to check out her flower-arranging skills. Brenda Sturm exhibited in the niche beside the altar. Sarah Forney’s husband, Phillip Forney, brought his mama, Evelyn Forney, who might have been our oldest guest at 94 years young! Kayla McDonnell, Mary Lou Vielock and Janet Anderson admired Helen Bryan’s tussie-mussies and props, including her father’s christening gown from 1926, and the silver baby cups belonging to her father, her son and herself. Her mother-in-law Shirley Bryan’s exhibit appeared in the chapel, and Marilyn Alefsen viewed and arranged exhibits pertaining to a springtime christening.
Publication Awards Luncheon
The San Antonio Conservation Society held its Publication Awards luncheon, award ceremony and book signing on March 24 at The Argyle. The 2017 Publication Awards honored the authors of 12 books that preserve history through the written word. Honored authors included Lewis F. Fisher, American Venice: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River; Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City; Vicki Adams Tongate, Another Year Finds Me in Texas: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Pier Stevens; Brantley Hightower, The Courthouse of Central Texas; James Graham Baker, Julian Onderdonk in New York: The Lost Years—The Lost Painting; Chuck Bailey and Patrick Cox, Picturing Texas Politics: A Photographic History from Sam Houston to Rick Perry; Mary Carolyn Hollers George, Rosengren’s Books: An Oasis for Mind and Spirit; Andrew Torget, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850; Bruce M. Shackelford, The Wests of Texas: Cattle Ranching Entrepreneurs; Alan Lessoff, Where Texas Meets the Sea: Corpus Christi and its History; and Mike Kearby, Texas Tales Illustrated #2: The Trail Drivers.
Founded in 1924, the San Antonio Conservation Society has presented its Publication Awards since the 1950s. One of the oldest and most active community preservation groups in the United States, the Society has been responsible for saving most of the historic attractions that now make San Antonio one of the top tourist destinations in Texas.
Fiesta faces showed up at all the right places to celebrate traditions and make new memories: San Antonio 2017 Fiesta Poster artist Therese Spina created what is one of my favorite official posters. Take a bow before King Antonio XCV, Michael Casillas, and Rey Feo LXIX, Fred Reyes. (The Reyes family keeps the tradition alive!) And what about the ladies in yellow dresses and straw hats? Hats off to the women of the Battle of Flowers Association, including Battle of Flowers president Rhonda Calvert, who oversaw the 126th annual parade, and Susan Altgelt, who was this year’s parade chair. And a job well done to Luci Bell, band festival chairman.
And the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, aka America’s largest illuminated parade, was all set to go when the wind whipped up, sending a few headpieces, wigs, skirts and props flying around, but that didn’t stop the parade. Angela Zarnoti, who danced with Urban-15, a nonprofit arts group that creates educational programs, events and performances dedicated to music, movement and media, told me she had to hold on to her large butterfly headpiece as she danced her way through the parade. This year’s theme, City Lights and Celebrations — something San Antonio excels in! Cheers to Trina Guevara, president of Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association, Inc.
Volunteers did just that at a Night in Old San Antonio presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Always a good time for people watching and a good excuse to over-consume! Same goes for the 18th annual TASTE of the Northside, which raised $425,000 for the Brighton Center -— great job, Kim Jefferies, chief executive officer and crew! You can usually run into a few friends you know in the crowd; this year topped 6,800 or more. Did you get your shopping done at the Fiesta Arts Fair? And the WEBB Party was rocking at the Bonham Exchange to benefit the San Antonio Aids Foundation — kudos to Ken Slavin, VP of communications at SAFF.
And what about all those queens and drag queens? Fiesta Teen Queen Madelyn Mulder, Queen of Soul Malia Martinez, Charro Queen Yazmin Bernal, Reina de la Feria de las Flores Sofia Marie Rodriguez and Miss San Antonio, Emma Faye Rudkin, founder of Aid the Silent. You ladies sparkle, just like your tiaras! Order of the Alamo president Scott A. Christy crowned Camilla Bright Brusenhan, Queen of the Court of the Argentine Republic. Congrats also to Frances Carolina Roberts, Princess of the Splendors of the Rio de la Plata. Ladies, how do you carry around those 10 to 18-foot-long trains weighing 40 to 80 pounds with Swarovski crystals, rhinestone chains, bugle beads, tassels, glass baguettes and more? Ask the Order’s Mistress of the Robes, Marnie Tate Simpson.
And Erwin J. De Luna, president of the 2017 San Antonio Commission executive committee —whew, how did you keep up? And all those sharply dressed Cavaliers “Rolling on the River” and what a party parade to raise funds for children’s programs. And then there were food and foodies faves like Oyster Bake, Chili Queens Chili Cook-Off, Culture Fest and Rib Cook-Off, Taste of Texas and Taste of New Orleans.
Of course, we honor our military, then and now. After all, Fiesta is a tribute to our heroes and soldiers who bravely fought for us at the Alamo and San Jacinto. Over at Fort Sam Houston, guests donned period outfits for the All-American Canteen to remember and honor our armed forces through the ages.
Even Fido has his own Pooch Parade, and why not? And horses too? Yep, the Fiesta Kings Cup presented by the San Antonio Polo Club was packed with polo players, spectators and those dressed to impress. Chairman of the San Antonio Polo Club Ursula Pari MacLeod, Roni Panzarini, Quique Garcia and Susan Naylor took first place, and so did fabulously dressed spectator Margie Vera for her stunning hat!
Then there’s Anna-Laura Howell Block — she’s the one I think of when I think of medals. Tawana Timberlake, you got the love for your blingy boots and attire for each and every event, and you are spotted everywhere — selfies and poses galore — show me your shoes. Only Mr. Fiesta, Michael “Fiestanilla” Quintanilla loves Fiesta more, rocking that butterfly hat — how tall was that? And you showed us your SHOES too! Speaking of hats, what about the Fiesta hat contest and luncheon put on by the Women’s Club of San Antonio? And Cal Sumner shows off his chapeaux! And a shout out to Richard Sanchez — your hats rival all of them. David Durbin, aka THE MEDAL MAKER at Monarch Trophy, has designed millions of medals.
And carnivals, NIOSA, parades, coronations, balls, fireworks, festivals and, of course, who could forget Cornyation? My point is Fiesta has rocked our city once again, and we’ve donned our decorated hats, pinned on a multitude of medals, cracked a few confetti-filled cascarones, proudly displayed our Fiesta wreaths, showed off our shoes, stuffed a few fabulous food finds, drunk a few adult beverages and swayed and sung along with numerous bands and mariachi players. Thank you, volunteers who make it happen, and the police/security ensuring our safety. Until next year …. VIVA!
By Leslie Foley