Togetherness: 1. warm fellowship, as among members of a family 2. the quality, state, or condition of being together.
The best friendships happen over time. Sometimes the how and when and why we met are forgotten—irrelevant. The important thing is that we’re together now, and if and when one day we’re not, our friendship will never be forgotten. There’s no need to describe these friendships with a million adjectives. They just are. They’re a feeling, a knowing, and an unconditional acceptance.
Even if one day, God forbid, a member of this togetherness falls ill and is given a week to live, the other members will come together to draw strength and give love in kind, gentle gestures—like combing her hair when she no longer has the strength, sharing funny memories to make her smile even when she’s sleeping, and wiping her face with warm cloths, preserving her dignity.
Our togetherness is bonded for life because of this experience. It was a group effort, a constant battle of balance. When one would feel weak, another would provide strength, and none of us ever let each other down. We became one-big-devoted-motley crew, a family.
And after our dear Kelly succumbed to stage IV breast cancer in May, we realized that our work wasn’t done. This cancer had taken such a young and vibrant life so fast and unexpectedly, but her story didn’t have to end. It resides in all of us.
She was a single mom who fought to the bitter end for her young son. She never gave up, and we refused to give up on either of them just like we refuse to give up on other similar stories in our community. A desire arose in all of us to raise awareness of single mothers battling terminal illnesses and the quality of their children’s lives who are left behind. As members of the fashion and entertainment industry, we wanted to do something that would help Gunner and other kids like him who are in transition.
Our small group grew to 18 members strong, and we deemed ourselves the Frights of the Round Table, a name that our Halloween-loving friend would be proud of: Ann & Simon Lopez, Anna & Dan Broadfoot, Carlotta Lennox & David Mokry, Cheryll Smith, Holly & Matt Denny, Kiersten Dolbec, Kodi & George Nelson, Lana Adams, L.B. Rosser, Misha Sturns, Priya Rathod, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, and Toni Muñoz-Hunt & Dan Hunt.
Our mission was to create an event that would embody Kelly’s soul and her passion for Halloween, rock music, and over-the-top fashion. With this foundation of ideas, we began configuring all the pieces and diligently working to execute our vision in two months. It took tons of luck, lots of LOVE, many sleepless nights, and an army of amazing people to pull this off.
So here goes our tour of gratitude and our attempt to thank every single soul who made this possible. We are human and sometimes make mistakes, so if we left anyone off, please let us know and we will be sure to add them.
We’d like to first thank FC Dallas for believing in our mission and helping kids like Gunner, by giving us a home to grow this event: Jimmy Smith, Kris Katseanes, Nick Shafer, Matt McInnis, Megan Miller, Melissa Janetta, Melissa Reddick, Evie Baker, Robert Rardin, Alan Ficek, Chip Kisabeth, Kathy Mussared, Scott Morrison, Tim Henning, Rebecca Brown, Josh Harding, Bucky Deichert, Randy Richardson, Brandy Chandler, Jeff Walls, Preston Kimberlin, Katie Velgis, and McKenzie Bryan.
Once we found our home, we needed to partner with an organization in Collin County that was already devoted to helping kids like Gunner, kids who are in transition. FC Dallas Foundation Director Melissa Reddick found us the perfect charitable partner, and when we met the women of City House, we knew we’d found a nonprofit with as much passion and enthusiasm for this mission as our group possessed. City House provides homeless children and teens in North Texas with emergency shelter and transitional residential services. Sheri Messner, Jennifer Patten, Lisa Rodgers, Chey Reynolds, Donna Melton, Karen Voelker, Tracey McClain, Cherish Holm, and Cal Martinez, thank you for all that you do for the children of our community. We are so proud to have a small part in furthering your mission.
After securing our venue and charitable partner, we started looking for a heavy-hitting couple dedicated to the North Texas community who also shared a love for our children and the overall future generation of this community. This couple would set the bar for this event, so we were beyond excited to have Mayor Maher Maso and Cindy Maso join us as the host and hostess of Friscovania. Personally affected by cancer, this event struck a chord with the Masos and they vowed to do everything in their power to help our cause. In fact, they declared our event The Mayor’s Safe Trick-or-Treat Zone for Frisco. This alone helped us attract the best sponsors, media partners, and a plethora of supportive efforts.
Then, Model Behaviors’ branding guru Range and graphic designer Hyde Graphics went to town on creating our logo and packaging, and a week later, our group started selling sponsorships like they were going out of style. Thank you to all of you who made this possible.
Our group divided up in teams, and needless to say, we more than surpassed our initial goal of each team raising at least $5k per team. After this, each team took on a specific department to handle the enormity of this Halloween extravaganza.
It started with our grand entrance at the West Gate of Toyota Stadium and wrapped around the north concourse all the way through the Berkley Family Haunted Carnival Concourse. Many thanks to Versa for our banners and maps. These guys covered all of our printing needs! This entire area was directed by our very own Deputy Dog Kodi Nelson, and handled by her team of City House Volunteers. By the way, without all the support and dedication of all our volunteers, none of this would’ve been possible. A special thank-you to all of the City House volunteers who gave up their Saturday to make this event a smashing success: Jeff Reaves, Tony D’Angelo, Janie Burke, Joany Pardee, Tracey Sherman, Donna Melton, Karen Voelker, Jennifer Patten, Linda Howard, Andy Howard, Erica Clark, McMillen NHS, National Charity League – Frisco Chapter, Sai Bal Vikas, Young Men’s Service League North Star Chapter, Otto Middle School, IBSSA/Plano East, Plano East NHS, John Paul II High School, Lowery Freshman Center, and Shepton High School.
As eventgoers entered Couture Dentistry’s Witches Brew, they were greeted by the sounds of our good witch and country crooner Abbi Walker and her cowboy-clad husband Ryan. Then the crowd entered the concourse and made their way down the Vazata VIP Alley.
The smallest of kiddos got a chance to bounce around on Dr. Kyle Stuart’s Tiger Belly Bouncer and try out their art skills at the TED FOX Event Artistry’s 30-foot easel filled with paints, crayons, chalk, and colorful good fun. Of course the Disney princesses from House of Hadley Kate were more than happy to greet and take photos with all the kiddos and parents.
Then, it was time to capture the festive fun and amazing costumes at the Kim Dawson Frights! Camera! Action! step & repeat stations. Ann and Simon Lopez had the enormous job of producing all of the event photography, from the initial campaign featuring Kim Dawson models Kodi Nelson, Nicole Kaspar, Laurie Bing, and Anna Broadfoot, to all of the documentary style photography that would commemorate this all-day extravaganza. Thank you also to Bobby Tongs, Fernanda Ceja, Kelly Williams-Birt, Rick Birt, and Trey Singleton for being part of our amazing photography team.
Being that Kelly was a makeup artist represented by the Kim Dawson Agency, it was important to make sure that the KD agency was represented in a big way. So much talent chipped in to make sure that Kim Dawson became one of the big associate partners and would have a prominent place in the event. Thank you to all of these generous and talented souls: Chandra North, Diane Johnston, Emily Williams, Erica Tracy-Schavey, Gary Parson, Gloria Azurdia, Janice Gamlin, Kait Ballinger, Kate Cooper Tatarowicz, Katelin Smith, Kodi Nelson, Lana Adams, Laurie Bing, L.B. Rosser, Lisa Bull, Lisa Martensen, Maggie Parks, Melissa Brown, Michelle Muslin-Lipari, Natalie McCarthy, Robben Wansley, Shannon Hughes Stuart, Yuan Yuan Zhang, and Yvonne Coan.
And what’s a red (or black for that matter) carpet event without the celebrities? Thank you, Bridget Hall, Chandra North, Dana Harper, Destroyer, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and Mary Padian. Your talent and time made this such a wonderful experience for all.
Then, it was on to the Haunted Carnival filled with fun and games. All of the enormous inflatables were provided by Jumperbee for hours of insatiable good times at the Benenati Law Firm Axe Man Slide, Champion Waste Adrenaline Rush, and Hollman Incorporated’s Buccaneer Slide.
Our carnival tents packed with candy, games, and prizes had the kiddos squealing with laughter. The Lana-Adams.Com Bite Bar gave official Friscovania bites to all of the guests brave enough to enter. Thank you, celebrity makeup artist Joanna Hathcock, and her fellow face painters from B3 Entertainment for your bite magic. Kodi Nelson (Rogers Healy and Associates Real Estate) Balloon Bar was a popping good time, as was the Seay Family’s Bauble Bar where carnival-goers had crystal readings by Michelle and Roger Welch of SoulTopia. The kiddos lined up to try their luck at the DFW Massage Doctor’s Bean Bag Toss, L.B. Rosser’s Candy Corn Bowling, and the McKinley Family’s Spider Ring Toss, where the candy and prizes flowed like the mighty Trinity River. And for anyone looking for some semipermanent fun, Irina’s daughter, Anna Bibikova from Henna Me Happy, skillfully applied her beautiful henna designs, while Chris Cavanaugh lit up the main stage down below with some good old country fun. The sound and lighting in the Boneyard were handled by Onstage Systems. We couldn’t have pulled off such a flawless show without their expertise.
For those kiddos looking for treats without all the tricks, they received a Halloween bag of goodies at the Toyota Trunk-or-Treat with two huge Toyotas filled with trick-or-treat bags and candy galore.
So many attendees stopped by the Howl at the Moon Wagon, where our two zombie frontiers people, Jeff and Joyce Blitch, took photos with Friscovania visitors and handed out swag bags. Thank you to our VIP swag bag donors: Timeless Luxury Watches, Advocare, Laura Stack, Dr. Lo, Benenati Law Firm, SkinnyPop Popcorn, J. Hilburn, Studio22, Kim Dawson, and Tito’s Vodka.
Timeless Luxury Watches were also our official event timekeepers with running clocks on the stadium Jumbotrons. So come 6:00 p.m., when we thought things couldn’t get any better, Frisco Power House of Dance took the concourse by storm in front of the Lamar Hunt statue, rocking some seriously awesome dance routines that got the crowd pumped up and ready for the Chase Costume Contest Conga Line that shimmied its way around the concourse and down into the Boneyard to strut their stuff in the Chase Costume Contest & Kids Parade.
Also keeping our crowd pumped was DJ Spin of The Latin House Krew. He created the best ambiance with the spookiest of tunes and energetic spunk. Not one to be upstaged, our favorite television host and celebrity stylist Laurie Graham King and her bevy of celebrity judges Jenny Anchondo, Stephanie Hollman, Marco Rivera, and the Masos took to wrangling up the best costumes and shelling out spooktacular prizes from Dry Bar, House of Hadley Kate, J. Hilburn, Marshmallow Fun Company, and Pony Creek Ranch.
But, our awesome prizes didn’t end there. The Chase Raffle Barn was jammed with greatness….literally. The barn was standing-room only for the amazing prizes that the raffle and prizes team was able to secure. Misha Sturns and Priya Rathod, the Pied Pipers of Prizes, worked their magic to get prizes from these amazing organizations: American Express, Ashlee Erickson from BioIonic, Ashley Varel Art, Camp Gladiator, Dan Hunt, Gloss Nail Bar, Kitzi Fulgham, La Fete, National Segway Tours, Nha Khanh, The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Rbellah Soaps, Robert Jones Beauty Academy, SoulTopia, Spark of Change, Sprezza Restaurant, Stephanie Southard Photography, Tito’s Vodka, and Wilspro Management (Dalton Rapattoni’s Management).
And for our very special guests who wanted some more of that VIP treatment, they were met with decadent delights from our catering partner Legends inside the place everyone wanted to be, the Tito’s VIP Lounge inside the El Jimador Terrace. Thank you to the many legends from Legends who brought this VIP experience to another level: Dedra, Yvonne, Therese, Randi, Adriana, Monica, Kathy, Andy, Cathy Z., Ashley, Ally, Eric, Jason, Jacob, Kendal, and Ursula.
VIP guests were invited to lounge on the swankiest of furniture provided by our amazing model friend and entrepreneur Pam Skaggs Frank of Gloss Luxury Rentals, transforming our stadium bar into the Library Lounge at the Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires—¡Que rico! This luxurious VIP experience was perched like an eagle’s nest over the runway and live music show below.
Right below, too, our VIP guests could experience some fall whimsy with the Simon Lopez Photography VIP Graffiti Pumpkin Patch amidst larger-than-life-size portraits of KISS painted by graffiti artist Jesse Garay with art direction by Chris Lopez. VIP guests were also invited to take home one of these custom pumpkins.
Now, you might think this would be enough, but like we mentioned before, Friscovania is a Halloween Extravaganza! And what’s an extravaganza without an extravagant 130-foot red carpet runway show featuring the hottest names in Dallas/International fashion, like Esé Azénabor, Double D Ranch, Susie Straubmueller, and Nha Khanh.
The show was brought to an entirely different level with such in-demand brands. Thank you all for your talent, your luxurious fashions, and your support.
We kicked off the fashion show with an incredible ballroom dance performance by Sergey and Michelle from Studio22, another one of our Designer sponsors. Thank you for getting the crowd pumped up and ready for our fashion extravaganza with your amazing artistry on the dance floor.
Thank you to all of the stylists and show producers who pulled the clothes and looks together: Karl and Belinda Marshall, Doug Voison, Angela, Jennifer Clarke Hill, Ashley Lee, Aisha Tupiza, and K.J.
Of course, complementing insanely cool fashions means there has to be amazingly awesome music, and what better than the killer songs of KISS performed by Destroyer! Thank you to our music director Cheryll Smith for finding the best talent. It was the show of all shows.
And what’s a fashion show without the hundreds of people it takes to put it on. It truly took a village to turn the Boneyard presented by Bud Light and Winstar into a true rock & roll fashion experience. This was the vision of our resident runway maven Carlotta Lennox and her assistant Deborah Heitzman. Carlotta created a show that embodied our friend Kelly. It was a vision to behold! The precision that our technical director Rhonda Sargent Chambers executed with each transition was perfection. Thank you to Sarah Blacketer, Kim Dawson agent-extraordinaire/worker bee, for helping to keep the pace and enthusiasm for each model who hit the runway. Thank you to all of the agencies for allowing us to gather your best models to be a part of our show: Callidus Agency, Campbell Agency, Clutts Agency, Dragonfly Agency, Kim Dawson Agency, and Wallflower Agency.
AND we couldn’t have done it without the models who made this possible: Nicole Kaspar, Andra Garcia, Cali Stewart, Laurie Bing, Violet Krause, Talisa Duran, Lacee Teel, Mariah Moses, Madison Wray, Mimi Roche, Gabrielle Gray, Kayla Whitmire, Julian Machann, Lacey Bollinger, Kyle Breaux, Seth Sturgill, Christina Reed Ravarre, Emily Williams, Alle Bentayeb, Katie Tull, Maggie Parks, Lauren Free, Gloria Azurdia, Haley Halter, Al Tidwell, David Miller, Chad Rohde, Trey Singleton, Josh Rozenboom, Thomas Mullins, Tim Doty, Luis Enrique, Connor Spinuzzi, Trent Eberhart, Trevor Eberhart, Shaun Balkum, David McKay, Rex Urquhart, Javi, Kalli Keith, Ashley LaCamp, Drea, Emily Deaver, Remy Ryan, Gretchen Young, Roxanna Redfoot, Zandria Theis, Meghan Runstetler, and Adrian Hilliard.
Boy-oh-boy did they ever hit the runway in those unbelievable fashions, accented with the most over-the-top hair that channeled every era created by our passionate hair artists on Lana Adam’s hair team. Thank you to every hair artist who made this inaugural show legendary: Lana Adams, Cheryll Smith, Amy Bjork, Cher Hukill, Gi Gi Coker, JaDe Raine, Johnny Johnson, Julian Tottress, Mary Manning, Rick Flores, Ro Vielma, Mary Mannington, Mavel Hanson, Toni Fielding, and Donisha Reed.
But, what’s a haunted fashion show without extravagant makeup. Our mad scientist L.B. Rosser mixed and matched the perfect combination of potions and palettes to truly make this a true battle of evil and ethereal. Thank you to these makeup magicians who are going down in the runway makeup books: L.B. Rosser, Gary Parson, Heather Michaels, Jo Franco, John Ball, Lisa Martensen, Mary Guevera, Rey Medrano, Rick Flores, Yvonne Coan, Peggy Segundo, and Chantee Willis.
And last but not least, where would a fashion show be without its dressers? Thank you to our wonderful director Jane Sublett, and thank you to Debbie Longanecker, Heidi Burton, Cherita Chadwell, Sharlene Whitney, Cassie O’Brien, and Amy Tarbel.
Anna Broadfoot and Kiersten Dolbec, thank you for keeping a tight ship and allowing everything to run so smoothly.
Then there was Holly Denny and her amazing staff at TED FOX Event Artistry, Jodie Nwamadi and Angela Kleinman, who turned Friscovania into a haunted town full of magic and wonder. We had so many people donate decorations for this event. James from Floating Phantoms donated an incredible amount, and Gemmy—who worked closely with Kelly on past productions—donated décor, prizes, and more.
Special thanks to Kharis Media and 900 lbs of Creative for helping us collect all of this greatness on video.
And lastly, on a personal level, I’d like to thank my own team who worked diligently behind the scenes wearing many hats and doing whatever it took to make Friscovania the successful event that it was. Thank you to my social media magician Courtney Leigh for promoting the heck out of this event, Erica Sosa for staying on top of everything to make sure no balls were dropped, and Juana Barrios for your sweet smiles and late nights helping us to make this all happen.
It truly took a village and our cup runneth over…