San Antonio Gardenia Club Luncheon Celebrates With Mozart And Margaritas Theme


By Jake Gaines   Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

THE SETTING: With social distancing protocol in place, Mozart & Margaritas served as the fashionable theme that inspireda current event to support the San Antonio Gardenia Club. The fundraising luncheon, colorfully decorated by Feather Fluff and Flings, and style show, featured Julian Gold models adorned in fashions from the elegant boutique as they paraded down the catwalk, inspiring guests for their future stylish looks. In fact, this luncheon was the last Julian Gold style show in 2020 before the pandemic, and this is the first style show they did in 2021.

THE STYLE: The San Antonio Country Club was the setting for the event where guests were transported back to the days of Mozart, minuets, wigged styles, and glorious music. Victorian glamour and decadent floral centerpieces, along with mini margaritas, greeted the masked guests while the symphonic harmonies of Mozart’s piano concertos filled the ballroom. Then, the costumed Melissa Gonzalez channeled her inner diva, and serenaded the audience while accompanied by the Woodlawn Theater Academy performers, ushering the lucky guests back to the days of the Majestic Opera House.


THE PURPOSE: This year’s annual luncheon was chaired by Sharron Batchelor and Christi Tidwell, with Laura Humphries serving as the president of the non-profit organization. Emcee Siobhain Buckley helped to steward the event’s proceedings. The proceeds of the annual fundraiser raise funds for local fine arts students. The San Antonio Gardenia Club was founded in 1960, with the mission of providing fine arts scholarships to deserving students who graduate from Bexar County schools, enabling young scholars to  continue their education at local colleges. The club also participates in the annual Fiesta Battle of Flowers, Texas Cavaliers River Parade, the Annual Holiday Parade, and the King William Parade.



Can Can-Themed Party Honors Melanie Vaughan  (she is never mentioned in the article


By Jake Gaines      Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde, Parish Photography

THE SETTING: A Touch of Folly was the theme for An Evening in The Moulin Rouge recently, with pandemic protocol in place for honoree Melanie Vaughan, hosted by her parents, Karen and Curtis Vaughan. Guests arrived at The St. Anthony Hotel to discover massive red windmills in front welcoming them a la Moulin Rouge.

The party celebrated the Queen, Princess, and Duchesses named as part of the Court of Parisian Splendour, Fiesta 2021. The Fiesta celebration was cancelled last spring due to COVID-19, so the Vaughan family hosted a party in honor of the girls this April, post-vaccines.

THE STYLE: Everywhere guests looked, French flair was abundant. The event was produced by San Antonio-based Billinda Wilkinson of Wilkinson Rhodes Events, who designed and orchestrated the party with her team from Dallas, Las Vegas, and beyond. The balcony in the Anacacho Ballroom of the hotel was covered in red and black ostrich feather fans accented with black and white butterflies.

Rouge performers, brought in from Las Vegas, performed four choreographed dances throughout the evening worthy of the French theatrical landmark. The buffet stations were designed in the Art Nouveau style of the famous French architect, Guimard. The Peraux ballroom featured a stunning rotating red windmill bar while Roonie G, a video D.J., performed throughout the evening to keep the action going.

THE PURPOSE: Fiesta San Antonio, through the support of its participating member organizations, presents a safe, educational, annual celebration of the diverse heritage, culture, and spirit of San Antonio for its residents and visitors.



Witte Museum Celebrates Game Dinner’s 50th Anniversary

By Jake Gaines     Photography by Robin Jerstad

THE SETTING: The 50th Annual Witte Game Dinner raised nearly $1.1 million to support the Museum’s recovery fund, including $100,000 in field trip funding. The iconic event was held outside on the Witte’s eight-acre campus in the Zachry Family Acequia Garden, as well as on porches throughout Texas. A seamless, physically distanced atmosphere was mapped out, going above and beyond the successful safety protocols put in place by the CDC, State Health Department, and the City of San Antonio’s safety guidelines. The annual Witte Game Dinner draws around 1,200 people, but the adaptive approach limited the number to 450 people on campus, with nearly 500 more online. Since re-opening in May, the Witte Museum has been a beacon of safety, putting protection protocols front and center. The Witte Game Dinner celebration was re-imagined to operate with the community’s best interest at heart, with both onsite and online experiences.


THE STYLE: With its theme, Back to Our Roots, the night symbolized an authentic South Texas ranch experience under the stars, complete with wild game, campfires, and live music. Rick Cavender emceed the evening, which featured an array of wild game cuisine created by the RK Group, auctions, and a performance by Robert Earl Keen. The 2020 Witte Game Dinner Texas Heritage Award recipient was Rosemary Kowalski and the RK Group for their more than 50-year history with the Witte.


THE PURPOSE: The event chairs, Meredith and Mike Howard, and their committee planned the successful gala. The Game Dinner is the museum’s largest fundraiser, providing educational programs, operations, and exhibitions for 50 years. The effects of COVID-19 made this year’s event crucial to ensure the funding needed for approximately 350,000 school-aged children and families to experience all the Witte has to offer, physically and virtually. The Meredith & Mike Howard Family Foundation, the Kowalski Family, Mary West and Richard Traylor, and Valero co-presented, while XPEL was the Valet & Protection sponsor.