EXOTIC APPEAL

EXOTIC APPEAL

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.

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KING OF THE HILL

KING OF THE HILL

South Texas Charity Weekend Hosts 26 th Annual Gathering

By Dr. Fred Bryant          Photography by Marie Langmore

THE SETTING: The open spaces of the King Ranch, the historic town of Kingsville, and the stylish Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center were the backdrop for the 26 th  annual South Texas Charity Weekend.

THE STYLE: Guests came from around Texas and beyond to enjoy a weekend with friends and honor Patt and Ben Wallace of Corpus Christi. The weekend started with a cocktail reception Friday night, hosted by Tio and Janell Kleberg in their beautiful home on the King Ranch. The next morning, guests went afield to pursue quail or shoot sporting clays. The threat of rain did not deter the guests who enjoyed their time in the King Ranch’s sprawling pastures. Later, that evening everyone gathered at the Caesar Kleberg Center where they made—and renewed—friendships over cocktails in the casual South Texas atmosphere.

Dinner began with Fred Bryant detailing the conservation legacy of Patt and Ben Wallace. Tio Kleberg then marched into the auditorium dressed as Teddy Roosevelt in honor of Ben Wallace’s membership in the nation’s oldest conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club. A dinner of steak and quail was followed by a robust auction. The event ended the next day after a brunch at the King Ranch Pool House where guests shared memories from the previous evening, toured the King Ranch Main House, and said their goodbyes.

THE PURPOSE: Wildlife conservation, ranching heritage, and health care benefit from the gracious donations of benefactors from as far away as Georgia and Alaska. The charities include Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Kleberg, and HALO-Flight.

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