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JDRF Gala

The JDRF Gala is one of the premiere social and charitable events in Fort Worth, with a reputation of elegance, excellence and fun! This year’s gala will help make the dream of a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D) a reality.

This year's chairs are Madison & David Muckleroy.

Photo courtesy of Circle Theatre

Circle Theatre presents Holiday Punch

At Circle Theatre's Holiday Punch, guests can throw on their best tacky holiday sweater for a night of carnival games, giveaways, original live performances, and music.

Holiday Punch is Circle Theatre’s sole annual fundraiser aimed at continuing the mission of bringing quality theatre in an intimate space to Fort Worth.

Cook Children’s Hematology and Oncology Center presents The Blast

The Blast is a family-friendly walk that benefits Cook Children’s Hematology and Oncology Center. Every dollar raised funds lifesaving treatment, programs and research for kids battling cancer.

Photo by Peggy Sirota

Jonas Brothers gobble up halftime gig at Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game in Arlington

Concert news

The pop group Jonas Brothers will return to Arlington to perform live during the halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day game between the Cowboys and the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys announced October 25.

This will be Jonas Brothers' second time performing during the Thanksgiving Day halftime show, as they also did so in 2008.

The November 24 performance is a part of the kickoff for The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, which raises funds to provide Christmas gifts, food, shelter, and rent and utility assistance to millions of people struggling this holiday season and beyond. The campaign is now in its 132nd year.

The individual Jonas Brothers - Nick, Joe, and Kevin - teased the announcement on their social media platforms, which showed blue numbers on a white fabric background that when put together made the date of the game - 11/24/22.

“We couldn’t be more excited to return to AT&T Stadium and play The Salvation Army halftime show,” Jonas Brothers said in a statement. “We are honored that our performance will help raise awareness of the great need that exists and encourage everyone to donate to The Salvation Army to make a difference in their communities this holiday season and all year long.”

This is the first time Jonas Brothers have made an appearance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since they played two shows at American Airlines Center in Dallas in late 2019 in support of their latest album, Happiness Begins.

In addition to Jonas Brothers, previous halftime performers for the Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game have included Luke Combs, Meghan Trainor, Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Destiny’s Child, Clint Black, Reba McEntire, and many others.

The game starts at 3:30 pm and will be broadcast locally on KDFW/Fox 4.

Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography

Fort Worth guests don Western best to give cancer the boot at 2022 Cowtown Ball

Spurs on the Savanna

On a picture-perfect fall evening, 450 supporters of the American Cancer Society gathered alfresco at the Fort Worth Zoo for the 29th annual Cowtown Ball.

Appropriately themed "Spurs on the Savanna," the September 30 gala welcomed guests outfitted in their best Western chic, from custom cowboy hats to designer boots. First stop? The chance to feed giraffes and pose for photos in front of the majestic animals in the African Savanna exhibit.

Patrons also purchased blinking cowboy-boot lapel pins as a ticket into a rollicking game of "Heads or Tails" later and perused dozens of silent auction items while mingling with top-shelf cocktails. Couples and groups mugged for an interactive photo booth, honored loved ones at an Honor Wall, and purchased embroidered bandanas from Chainstitch Embroidery, who was custom-stitching them on site.

A buffet of chicken and pork entrees, spicy cheese grits, crisp green beans, rolls, and rich chocolate cake was served under The Reserve pavilion.

Emcee Mireya Villarreal, a national correspondent for ABC News, welcomed guests and introduced event chairs Christian Burton and Virginia Durham and Paige Chappell Pritchett and Wade G. Chappell, who paid tribute to their parents and event honorees, the late Ann and David F. Chappell. Both had been prolific volunteers and left a strong legacy throughout Fort Worth, they said.

A live auction of fabulous trips and luxury items brought fast and furious bidding; among the most coveted items were getaways to St. Thomas, Argentina, and Italy; and a package called "Vacation Like a Royal" that included regal hot spots in London. Also up for grabs were luxurious diamond earrings from Bachendorf's; "sweet" suite experiences at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Texas Rangers; and a VIP experience at next year's Cowtown Ball.

Those who couldn't fork over the biggest bucks in the live auction regularly checked their phones for bid updates on silent auction items, which ranged from shoes from the new Fort Worth Gucci store to booze, gift cards, jewelry, and works by local artists. Even if last-minute bidders left others empty-handed, everyone got the chance to donate what they could to ACS through a "raise the paddle" initiative.

The party ramped up when featured entertainer Shane Smith & The Saints took the stage. Some couples headed to the dance floor for some two-steps and twirls, while others sang along from their tables or refilled their beverages and lounged on couches just outside.

When the auctions closed, bars shut down, and band played its final notes, guests grabbed their customized wine glass party gifts and left knowing they'd made a difference for those affected by cancer in Tarrant County. In total, the night raised $453,758.

Ninety-five percent of the money used for cancer programs at ACS comes from events like Cowtown Ball - for groundbreaking research and trials, patient care like rides to treatments, and more.

Enjoying the evening were numerous Fort Worth patrons, as well as ACS staff, medical professionals, and Cowtown Ball committee members, including: Paige Pritchett, Blair Chappell, Lindsey Kennemer, Jenna Kincaid, Ashlee Brenner, Janie Skillman, Rachel Quisenberry, Merrill Rhynsburger, Ashlee Brenner, Cortney Pelley, Travis Taylor, Avery Amador, Brian Jones, Terri Jones, Joy Ann Havran, Melissa Mitchell, Harrison Froeschke, Robin Froeschke, Christian Burton, Jordan Burton, Trevor Baker, Loren Baker, Robin Braden, Donna Sudberry, Dena Thomas, Bernadette Davila, Jennifer LeBlanc, Leigh Brown, Wynne Brown, Kelley Roberts, Lauren Von Kerens, and many more.

Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography

Lindsey Kennemer, Jenna Kincaid, Ashlee Brenner, Janie Skillman

North Richland Hills house 'pinks out' Halloween decor for breast cancer awareness

Decorating for a cause

Angela Fincher says she’s not entirely sure why she decided to decorate her house pink, but she knows she had to do something to raise awareness for breast cancer survivors.

The 47-year-old mother of three was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2021 and fought it until September of that year. This October — Halloween month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month — she has decorated her home in North Richland Hills with pink Christmas lights and a pink pumpkin patch in her yard to raise awareness of breast cancer.

The home even has its own public Facebook page, called Pink'd Out House.

“This year for some reason — I wish I could give you this grand reason why, but I don’t know why — I just thought it would be kind of cool to do something for breast cancer awareness, being a survivor myself,” Fincher says. “I thought it would be cool to make my house pink and let people come see this pink’d out house.”

The UNT alumna started tossing around the idea for a “Pink’d Out House” in August and mentioned it to a girlfriend, who eagerly encouraged her. On August 25, the day of her biannual mammogram, she started working on a plan, creating the display’s name and Facebook page and mapping out the decor.

Pink'd Out House Creating the display was a community effort.Facebook/Pink'd Out House

At first, Fincher wasn’t sure how to elevate the display beyond just hanging pink Christmas lights, but eventually she decided to add a patch of pumpkins painted pink to her front yard. She says she didn’t think people would go see a house that just had pink Christmas lights and wanted to give visitors something more.

“If I can give you a pumpkin patch, and a pink pumpkin patch at that, then anyone can show up,” Fincher says. “You don’t even have to know anybody or be affected by breast cancer, but you’re at least knowing what the meaning is and showing up.”

Creating the display was a community effort. Fincher says she had eight friends help install the lights and paint pumpkins over several days. She also placed magnetic breast cancer awareness ribbons on her garage door that visitors can write prayers, poems, survivors’ names, or other notes on. There also are stones people can paint or leave messages on.

Pink'd Out House The public can write survivors' names or other messages on the display.Facebook/Pink'd Out House

Fincher wasn’t seeking to gain anything by decorating her house for breast cancer awareness — she just wanted to do it. She says she has three girlfriends currently fighting breast cancer, and their battles are much worse than hers was. While Fincher only had a lobectomy, her friends are having to undergo double mastectomies and losing all their hair, she says. Seeing her close friends still fighting instilled a compassion in her that inspired her to do something.

Her only hope with the display is to raise awareness of breast cancer, encourage women to get mammograms, and provide hope and support to those affected by breast cancer.

Within the first couple days after launching the Pink’d Out House, Fincher received encouraging support. North Richland Hills mayor Oscar Trevino, the city’s fire department chief Stan Tinney, and some police officers visited Fincher and her house.

Pink'd Out House Angela with the NRH mayor and members of the police and fire departments.Facebook/Pink'd Out House

Fincher says she has been an “emotional wreck” throughout the process.

“It has been a very rough journey to get to this,” she says. “I would go to sleep at night and I would have voices telling me ‘this is stupid, no one’s gonna come’ and ‘no one’s gonna come to your stupid house to see your stupid thing that you’re doing.’ And it was rough.”

Fincher says she would toss and turn at night, full of negativity. She had to convince herself that her idea was worth the effort, but the community’s response has shown her she was right.

The exhibit is free to visit, but Fincher has plans to eventually create a Venmo account for those who want to make donations. She plans to donate a portion of contributions to a local charity, which she has not selected yet, and use a portion to expand her display in the future.

Fincher’s home will stay decorated until October 31, and she plans to continue pink’ing it out annually in October. Those interested can visit the Pink’d Out House on Buck Street in North Richland Hills and follow the house on Facebook and Instagram.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Texas parks beckon throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.

Affluent Fort Worth neighbor leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S.

Santa Baby

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.

The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.

In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.

Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.

Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.

"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.

This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:

  • Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
  • Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
  • McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
  • Plano, No. 50, $1,999
  • Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
  • Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
  • North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
  • Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630

Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.

Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.

Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:

  • Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
  • Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
  • The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
  • Houston, No. 366, $890

Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.

At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.