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.