We all make plans. Whether we wake up knowing exactly what needs to get done, or we tackle the moments as they come, we all anticipate, and we all act. Some of us have to write an entire itinerary kept in a specially labeled (and decorated) binder. Some of us are more spontaneous. And even when our plans are interrupted, or an unanticipated move puts us in check, we persist. We work together to make the best of the situation, to cherish the things we still have, and to look up when all seem down.
Friscovania found its beginnings last year in honor of Kelly Whaley: single mom, brilliant makeup artist, passionate and gracious rocker, and lover of all spooks of Halloween. Last May, Kelly succumbed to stage IV breast cancer, but she remains an enduring force in our lives. Friscovania was born from our commitment to both honoring her legacy and giving real, tangible assistance to children in major crossroads in their lives, like Kelly’s young son, Gunner. All proceeds earned from Friscovania went to City House of Collin County, aiding the transitional living program in their mission of providing at-risk children and youths in our community a fair chance to succeed in life.
The arrangements for this year’s Dia de los Muertos-themed Friscovania began months in advance, as the foundation, support, and accomplishments of its previous incarnation were strong and promising. We sailed with the ebb and flow typical of event planning and coordination—brainstorming sessions, logistical roundabouts, constant communication—and overcame each bump along our voyage toward October 21st, the day of the event. At the final week of preparations, we encountered a complication out of our control that would transform our meticulous designs. This concern was, of all things, the weather.
We had been expecting rain after the downpour that blew in sideways two weeks earlier at Ladies Night Out with A Purpose, the kickoff women’s wellness event for Friscovania. We kept an eye on weather channels and apps. Our hearts raised a little when the chance of rain went low, then sank when the percentage climbed. As Friscovania loomed closer, so did the clouds.
As much as we worried over getting soaked, we were more determined to make Friscovania 2017 prevail. Rain was not going to ruin anything—it would simply be incorporated into our planning. The rain to come would befit the atmosphere of a Halloween extravaganza, but it meant our sprawling outdoor layout would have to condense under the cover of the venue’s awnings. With the cooperation and fortitude of everyone working at the face of the event as well as behind the scenes, we implemented last-minute alterations and kept the event on.
The rain didn’t come after all. In fact, a soft afternoon sun warmed the volunteers who devoted their day to operations, friends and families who were greeted at the front gates with live music and smiles, and kids bouncing around the Carnival Concourse with trick-or-treat bags stuffed with candy and prizes. All the while, a breezy evening set in, and a scent in the air of rain would eventually keep its promise. But we weren’t worried anymore. With the diligence of our teams, our partners, our volunteers, and our guests, we were already prepared. And the rain continued to hold off, leaving us to our frightfully fantastic night at Friscovania 2017.
We extend our gratitude to everyone who made this year’s Friscovania triumph through the big obstacles and the small. There are so many people to acknowledge, so if we have missed mentioning anyone, please send us a note. We want to include all the people who made this event spooktacular!
Friscovania’s home is FC Dallas’s Toyota Stadium. We thank the core group of Friscovania, Nick Shafer, Josh Harding and his team, Bucky Deichert, Randy Richardson, Gina McFarlin, Alan Ficek, Robert Rardin, Kris Katseanes, Jeff Walls, Preston Kimberlin, Jimmy Rudder, and Brandy Chandler. We wouldn’t have gotten folks in the gates without the Ticketing and Sales staff, so thank you to Jenna Riesterer, Madeline Hoyle, Lynn Wadani, Sean Tippen, Kadeem Hunter, Chad Morgan, and Chris Nosek.
We also thank Legends for providing all-day meals for the busy workers backstage where all the models, talent, and directors put on their scary faces: Ursula Myles, Debra Hetmer, Laura Hinkle, Yvonne Barrett, Chanel Hooker, Vanessa Brown, Tim Wood, Marissa Matsumo, Kim Brown, Kathy Patterson, Michelle Rolator, Tammy McDole, and Randall Woodman.
Partners and Sponsors
An event as huge as Friscovania survives with the generosity of groups who truly want to give back to their communities. We wouldn’t have gotten far without the lifeline of our partners and sponsors, whose support is not just for Friscovania but for City House’s residents now and in the future. Thank you to our Associate Partners, the Al G. Hill Jr. family, The Hunt Family, Chase, Cinemark, Fifth Generation, Inc. (Tito’s Handmade Vodka), Gearbox, Hilti, Lisa Bull Donohoe, Nha Khanh, Retail Plazas Inc., William Noble Rare Jewels, Kim Dawson Agency, and 900lbs of Creative. We also thank our Branding Partners, Big Outdoor, DFW Massage Doctor, Rogers Healy and Associates, Timeless Luxury Watches, Vazata, and Walmart. We thank CBS Radio as our Media Partner. Lots of thanks go out to our Community Partners, Best Nest Pediatrics, Toyota, United Healthcare, and WinStar World Casino & Resort. Last but not least, we thank our additional donors, Conor & Natalie McCarthy; Gianna Cerullo; Jeanne & Gary Gibbs; Kyle Stuart, MD PA; Ted Fox Event Artistry; Benenati Law Firm, PC; Papa John’s Pizza; Republic Title; Steve & Tracy Caple; Warrington; Alexa & Jay Schneider; Lam Facial Plastics; Urology Research & Education Foundation; and James & Pamela Graham.
Mistress and Master of Ceremony
Thank you, Kristy and Randy Pitchford, for engaging with carnival guests as Friscovania 2017’s elegant and dapper Mistress and Master of Ceremony. As frontrunners of entertainment and the arts, Kristy and Randy glow with pride and dedication in involving local and national artists and performers with eager audiences. Their immersion in creative industries opened doors for us and allowed Friscovania the opportunity to expand its lineup of talent. Thank you for securing two of the best entertainers in the industry for our event, Brett Loudermilk and Scot Nery. And thank you for sharing the Gearbox experience with guests in the Gearbox Gamily Lounge. We were honored to have this industrious couple as our Friscovania hosts.
Friscovania is an all-evening event—in that time, someone’s bound to get peckish! That’s when our food vendors ride in, screech to a park, and come to the rescue. Our Food Alley, presented by Legends, offered carnival-goers edibles just as mouthwatering as the candy in their trick-or-treat bags: hot meals, cold delights, and refreshing brews. We thank all the people who satisfied monstrous cravings in many hungry humans: Ruthie’s Rolling Café, Rockn’ Rick’s, The Frigid Frog, and Steel City Pops.
Artists and Artwork for Art Installation
Friscovania is not just a place to be, it’s a world of imagination and wonder. This year’s Art Walk showcased fantastical paintings created in the spirit of Dia de los Muertos. Guests could not only peruse bright and colorful renditions of calaveras and other magical imagery but could even take a piece home as a winner of the silent auctions. We must thank the artists who painted their hearts and grins for the night: Ashlee McClung, Juju Bartush Reeves, Misty Oliver Foster, Anita Lee, Ashley Villers, Heidi Kidd, Roxanna Redfoot, Kim Griggs Jordon, Payaso, Rocio Vielma, Carlotta Lennox, and Alle Bentayeb.
A Halloween extravaganza can’t be complete without a carnival! Ted Fox Event Artistry and Pat Fulgham crafted the games that attracted novices, experts, and the curious. With UREF’s Ring Tex, Benenati Law Firm’s Block The Shot, Republic Title’s Rope A Cactus, Papa John’s Sideline Shootout, Ted Fox Event’s Stadium Snackshot, and Lam Facial Plastics’ The Texas Toss, there was no shortage of people flocking in to test their abilities and claim their rewards. Meanwhile, other kids and thrill-seekers were springing for Jumperbee’s inflatables: Best Nest Pediatric’s Tiger Belly Bouncer and Walmart’s Boxing Ring. United Healthcare’s Ghouls on Parade and teacups by Vazata and Rogers Healy kept up the lively carnival air as the mysterious of our guests drifted to SoulTopia, where owner Michelle Welch told their fortunes and her team showed them power in gems and stones. With all that action going around, Big Outdoors’ and Shag Carpet Prop Rentals’ ornamentations, along with Ted Fox’s sugar skull effigies, completed the merry milieu. Thank you to all the people who brought fun, games, and spirit to the Carnival Concourse.
Special thanks goes to 900lbs of Creative for their VR Experience and Gearbox for their Gearbox Gaming Lounge. They virtually expanded our space and brought to this extravaganza whole new dimensions to explore!
Costume Conga Line & Costume Contest
Near the last hours of the event, we scooped up all heroes, villains, monsters, foods, and anyone dressed up into a Costume Conga line, which culminated to a Costume Contest at the runway. A special thank you goes to our celebrity costume contest judges, Gina Miller, Janice Gamlin, Laurie Graham, Tammy Meinershagen, Dan Hunt, and Randy and Kristy Pitchford for selecting the bests of the bunch.
Fashion Runway Show
Friscovania’s signature show, the Runway Show, dazzled the audience with sleek threads from J. Hilburn, ethereal hems from Nha Khanh, William Noble’s stylish ice, and Nicolas Villalba’s eye-popping ensembles. A big thank you to the designers and their teams for giving the night spectacular looks to remember.
Models, Makeup Artists, & Dressers
The Kim Dawson Agency’s contribution to Friscovania cannot be stated enough. The Runway Show was carried high on the shoulders of the models, who paraded down the red carpet with confidence and attitude that thundered with each step. With our deepest gratitude, we thank Al Tidwell, Nick Burnett, Dade Horton, Brent Eberhart, Chad Rohde, Luis Enrique, Jeffrey Men, David Miller, Matt King, Thomas Mullins, Nicole Kaspar, Julian Machann, Heather Joines, Emily Deaver, Mimi Roche, Kalli Keith, Andra Garcia, Meghan Runstetler, Roxanna Redfoot (with The Campbell Agency), Adrian Hilliard, John Vanbeber, Tyler Ogden, Dylan Roberts, Rex Urquhart, Giovanni Baena, Erik Neff, Josh Truesdell, Laurie Bing, Christina Reed Ravarre, Cali Stewart, Haley Halter, Gloria Azurdia, Ashley Lacamp, Alle Bentayeb, Nina King, Kirsten Dolbec, Lauren Free, Leah Williams, and Nina Kong. We extend a special thank you to Sarah Blacketer, Director of the Runway Division at the Kim Dawson Agency, for helping to call the Fashion Show.
Our models were able to showcase gorgeous looks by the diligence of their dressers. Thank you to Denise Dibenerdini, Tami Adams, Hanna Johns, Cassi O’Brien, Candy Long, Bibsy Ruchman, and Jane Sublett.
A big thank you to our makeup artists Angela Angel and her team, El Otro Lado, consisting of JaDe Rain, Hannah Handshy, Sheila Moore, and Mandy Benton; Ro Vielma and Gigi Coker with Las Catrinas members John Ball, Maryam Guevara, and Sandra Saenz; the Luchador team, Maria Jose Pareja; and Joanna Hathcock and Cher Hukill’s team, Night Light, with Chantee Willis, Elizabeth Rist, Ricky Flores, and Johnny Johnson.
In a special auction benefiting City House, we offered an exclusive chance for the highest bidders to walk the runway alongside professional models. We’d also like to thank our auction winners, Maggie Messer, Alex Shaw, and Rita Sharp for hanging out backstage with us and, of course, strutting down that runway with expert enthusiasm!
Instead of rain, Friscovania 2017 was inundated with artists and performers of all sorts of specialties. We were most privileged to invite these entertainers to join our event. Many thanks to The Decomposers, Bass Junkies, B3 Entertainment, Mad Mexicans, Johnny Hayes, Legacy Dance Center, Brett Loudermilk, Scot Nery, Roxanna Redfoot, and Joyce & Jeff Blitch.
Designers, Photography, Videography & Promotion
In the hardest of times, as well as in the happiest moments, we create and keep memories of our dearest company, friends, and family. Our designers, photographers, and videographers have turned Friscovania into one of those special remembrances for us. We thank Lisa Bull Donahue for all the illustrations of our promo materials; Melissa Adams and Range, Inc. for the branding and our design needs; Drew Nicolello from Kharis Media and his assistant for video; and Simon Lopez Photography for shooting pictures throughout the event, along with Jacob Anderson and Ann Lopez for helping out at the runway. We thank Social Media Manager Leah Frazier and Managing Editor Lily Ounekeo for sharing our fun on the concourse, on the runway, and behind the scenes via social media and our blog.
Friscovania was held together from start to finish by those who took the lead and guided their people from beginning to end. Our directors may have been too busy to notice themselves how their guidance instilled in their teams direction and confidence, so we’re letting them know they won’t go unappreciated. We thank Ann and Simon Lopez, Art Installations & Photography Co-Directors; Anna Broadfoot and Kodi Nelson, Conga Line & Costume Contest Co-Directors; Carlotta Lennox, Runway Co-director; Erica Sosa, Assistant to the Director; Holly Denny, Games Director; Matt Denny, Sales and Promotion Director; Kendahl Airey, Décor Director; Kris Lezetc, Music & Special Talent Director; Maggie Parks and David McKay, Back of House Directors; Priya Rathod, Carnival Concourse Director; and Toni Munoz-Hunt, Director and tireless champion of Kelly’s legacy.
We were able to bring Friscovania 2017 to the community because of the perseverance of everyone involved in its making, including Kelly, the reason for it all. Friscovania proves that despite forces that strike out of nowhere, we can stay on a plan and achieve our goals, even if our plan takes a turn into uncertainty and our goals wind up a little different. In the end, we’ve come out more experienced and stronger. Thank you, every one of you who has grown with us.