Children’s Museum Annual Luncheon

March 29, 2013 by  
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Children's Health Museum Friends & Families Luncheon at the River Oaks Country Club20th ANNUAL FRIENDS & FAMILIES LUNCHEON

Chair Gina Gaston Elie, Dr. Wendy Mogel and Chair Dr. Kelli Cohen

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Wendy Mogel encouraged guests to take a relaxed approach to child raising at the Children’s Museum of Houston annual luncheon.

Chaired by Gina Gaston Elie and Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein

Children's Health Museum Friends & Families Luncheon at the River Oaks Country ClubThe Children’s Museum of Houston and chairs ABC 13 News Anchor Gina Gaston Elie and Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein welcomed New York Times bestselling author and internationally acclaimed clinical psychologist, Dr. Wendy Mogel, to the 2013 Friends & Families Luncheon on March 27 at the River Oaks Country Club.

The luncheon was a resoChildren's Health Museum Friends & Families Luncheon at the River Oaks Country Clubunding success raising more than $124,000 for the Museum’s early childhood and parenting programs which focus on building parenting skills, providing information on child development and engaging families in the joy of learning together.

Lunching Ladies: Chair Gina Gaston Elie, Dr. Wendy Mogel and Chair Dr. Kelli Cohen; Millette Sherman, Gina Bhatia and Phyllis Williams; Stephanie Cockrell and Ursaline Hamilton; Liz Glanville and Kimberly DeLape.



March 25, 2013 by  
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THE PHONE — “Yes, your credit card has been compromised. But we will send you a new one with a new number,” says the voice from my credit company, House O’ Cards. I reply: “By ‘compromised’ you mean hacked, stolen, breaking and entering. I used your company’s plastic instead of carrying cash because I thought it was safer. Now you tell me your company is unsafe. The American people want Congress to compromise to get things done. You make the term sound like ‘incompetent.’ Come to think of it….”
Here we go again, but in a different direction. A year or so ago someone picked my pocket at a Houston Texans game. It was the second time I was robbed that week. The first time was when I paid good money for a ticket to a Houston Texans game. Losing the cash in my wallet ($3) was bad enough, but getting in touch with all the various companies which automatically put my bill on the credit card was almost impossible. Each firm had its own unique way of refusing to talk to me, only offering recorded dead ends: “To return to the option before this option, press 3. For a surly vice president to tell you how important your business is to us while trying to stifle a chuckle, press 6.”
But this time I am not calling the credit card company; it’s calling me to say that my card has been “compromised.” This probably means 4-million customers are getting similar calls. Have you ever had your credit cards stolen, lost or burned during an insurance fire? Then you know the fallout is akin to undergoing a heart bypass or listening to the musical guests on “Saturday Night Live.” Still, the task would be made much easier if the companies I deal with moved into the 19th Century.
Here is my attempt to give the new card numbers to my cell phone company, 2 Dixie Cups & String, Inc. “He-woah, dis Billy Bob in Jerkson, Mississ… Missasiss… Maine. How help?” Once more I have First World technology and Third World assistance. This conversation goes back and forth across the Pacific with Billy Bob and I understanding about every fourth word. One thing that keeps coming across is: “You wan top-off of minutes to use? Only 20 bucks.” No, I don’t. At the end of the conversation I think I have changed my card number, learned some cuss words in Hindi and Billy Bob says I bought a 20-dollar top-off.
The electric company said it couldn’t change my credit card number until I paid my February bill. February of 2010. I also do business with the Left Bank of the Trinity, It could be based in Saint Helena, because I can never speak to a real person in the home office. “To help us keep track of our shiftless employees, this conversation will be recorded and broadcast on ’60 Minutes.’ Please enter your street address, phone number, driver’s license number and times you have bothered us before. Listen to all our options as they have recently changed. We’ve been saying that for five years and our brain-dead customers still buy it.” Does your bank’s recording give you 12 opinions, none of which you want? My bank needs a bailout of ineptitude.
After calling the cable company and being put on hold to listen to 15 minutes of Lawrence Welk, I finally get this: “If your credit card has been stolen, please enter its number, who took it and where. We at Disable Cable value you as a special customer and are offering you this exclusive TV package of Polka Poland, the Custard Channel and Movies Filmed in Idaho for only $45.40 a month. It comes with NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN and the Crocheting for Christ Channel. Take it all or sit in the dark. All our wage slaves are with other customers, so don’t think you’re special. We’ll be with you when we feel like it.”
Most of these charges are automatically put on my House O’ Cards monthly bill.
But the account with my burglar alarm company, We’re Usually Alert, Inc., bills me annually, as does my yearly yard service, Weed The People. I’ll forget about them until next January when I get an angry phone call demanding payment.
Ten percent of Americans say they have been the victim of credit card fraud. Of those, 27 percent say it was because the card was lost or stolen. The median amount reported on credit card fraud: $399. But happily enough, new safeguards are cutting in to the thefts. In 2000, North American e-merchants lost an average 3.6 percent of their sales to stolen or fraudulent credit cards. In 2007, that figure was down to 1.4 percent. Of course, like most such statistics, if that victim is you then it’s 100 percent.
Credit card companies estimate they lose more than $300 million a year in fraud and stolen cards. That figure could be reduced if they paid a few bucks to fix the problem in a jiffy, which is how I’ll make my next fortune: When a customer puts a company on his or her credit card for automatic billing, add a phone number to call in case of a problem. That way a credit card company has a list to call in one easy move. The operation could be done with computers and recordings so the firm’s policy of “No humans will deal with our customers” stays sacrosanct.
Following hours on the phone over a long period of time I have finally fixed each company no matter how difficult. “That’s done,” I say to my wife. “Problem solved forever.” She smiles that wifely smile that says she should have been a nun and says, “Did they ask for the expiration date? That date is May, 2013. Then you’ll need to call them back with the new expiration date.” On further thought, we have compromised with Third World technology.

Credit Ashby at


March 25, 2013 by  
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– WITH –

New Songs included in RAIN’S Multi-Media Experience for the 2013 Tour
Friday, April 12 @ 8:30 pm &
Saturday, April 13 @ 4:00 pm & 8:30 pm
Bayou Music Center


Direct from their phenomenally successful Broadway engagement, the internationally-acclaimed Beatles concert, Experience the Beatles with RAIN, makes its debut on Friday, April 12th for an evening performance at 8:30 p.m. and matinee and evening performances on Saturday, April 13th at both 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Bayou Music Center.

As “the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!” (Associated Press), RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. In addition, new songs are being included with the launch of the 2012 Tour. Together longer than The Beatles, RAIN has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance that’s as infectious as it is transporting. From the early hits to later classics (I Want To Hold Your Hand, Hard Day’s Night, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be, Come Together, Hey Jude and more), this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!
Like The Beatles, the onstage members of RAIN are not only supreme musicians, but electrifying performers in their own right.

Tickets are on sale now and available at

Become a fan of RAIN on Facebook and follow RAIN on Twitter @raintribute

Mountasia Houston Will Host “Egg-citing” Easter Egg Hunt!

March 22, 2013 by  
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Saturday, March 30, 2013 , Monty Roo will make a special visit to Mountasia Houston for its Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Tickets to enter the Egg Hunt will be distributed at 10:00 am with the Egg Hunt starting at 10:30 am sharp.  This year’s event will feature thousands of eggs, photo opportunities, and more.  The festivities also include prizes with the Grand Prize drawing at 1:00 pm.

Guests can purchase discounted Easter special pack with a coupon from that includes: unlimited go-karts, miniature golf, and bumper boats for only $19.99 per person plus tax if purchased before 1:00 pm.

About Boomers! Boca Raton
Mountasia is Houston’s leader in family fun and entertainment, featuring fantastic 18-hole miniature golf courses, bumper boats, , go-karts, and game room.  Mountasia is known for its exceptional birthday parties, group outings, corporate team building, generous fundraising programs and great family fun.

About Palace Entertainment
Palace Entertainment owns and operates 40 theme parks, water parks and family entertainment centers nationwide, including Raging Waters, Kennywood, Idlewild, Boomers, and Story Land. The company entertains millions of guests annually and is one of the largest park operators in the US. For more information, visit


March 22, 2013 by  
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Orchestra welcomes Uruguayan conductor Carlos Kalmar and Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas

On April 5, 6 and 7, the Houston Symphony invites audiences to enjoy an evening of pieces written and performed by some of the world’s greatest Spanish musicians. Welcoming world-renowned conductor Carlos Kalmar and award-winning classical guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas, the Symphony promises a concert highlighting the work of talented Spanish composers Ginastera, Rodrigo and Falla. The concert will begin with a traditional favorite, Haydn’s Symphony No. 37, and will then segue into Ginastera’s dynamic Variaciones Concertantes. After intermission, the orchestra and its guests will return to finish the evening with Rodrigo’s Fantasia for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra and Falla’s Three Dances from El Sombrero de tres picos.

Written in the mid-20th century, Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes is a cosmopolitan approach to the traditional romantic melodies of Argentine folk music. The piece was written after Ginastera ventured to America from his native Argentina and is a beautiful example of the profound impact his journey had on his compositions.

Following Ginastera’s rhythmic energy, the evening will continue as the orchestra invites Sainz-Villegas on stage for Rodrigo’s Fantasia for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra. Hailed as the last of the great Spanish nationalist composers, Rodrigo wrote Fantasia para un gentilhombre (Fantasia for a Gentleman) as an elaboration on six short dances that were popular in Spanish culture and folk music at the time. Arguably the composer’s most famous work, the piece is filled with intense melodic interaction between the guitar and orchestra, passionately expressive swells of instrumentation and energetic rhythmic structures.

To close the concert, the orchestra will perform playful selections from Falla’s popular Spanish ballet, El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat). The godfather of Argentina’s 20th century musical reawakening, Falla is known for his ability to translate often simple folk melodies into complex compositional pieces. His ballet, The Three-Cornered Hat, beautifully blends elements of flamenco music, traditional Andalusian folk melodies and familiar classical themes.

Houston Symphony Classical Series
Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX  77002

Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:00pm
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 8:00pm
Sunday, April 7, 2013, 2:30pm

Spanish Masters – Rodrigo & Falla
Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Pablo Sainz-Villegas, guitar
Tickets from: $29

About Carlos Kalmar
Carlos Kalmar (c) Michael JonesCarlos Kalmar is in his tenth season as Music Director of the Oregon Symphony. He was appointed to the post in 2003, and his contract was extended until 2015. He is also Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Spanish Radio/Television Orchestra and Choir in Madrid and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

In May 2011, he made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall with the Oregon Symphony as part of the inaugural Spring for Music festival. Both his imaginative program Music for a Time of War and the performance itself were hailed by critics in the New York Times, New Yorker magazine and Musical America.

A regular guest conductor with major orchestras in America, Europe and Asia, Kalmar has conducted the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Nashville, Seattle, Helsinki, Lahti and St. Louis. Kalmar has also conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Minnesota Orchestra. He returns to Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Seattle and Baltimore in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Carlos Kalmar was born in Uruguay to Austrian parents.  He showed an early interest in music and began violin studies at the age of six. By the time he was fifteen, his musical promise was such that his family moved back to Austria in order for him to study conducting with Karl Osterreicher at the Vienna Academy of Music. Before coming to Portland, he served as music director for the Hamburg Symphony, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, Vienna’s Tonnkunsterorchester and the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau, Germany.

About Pablo Sainz-Villegas
Pablo Sainz Villegas (c) MachadoPablo Sainz-Villegas is hailed by critics as one of the world’s leading classical guitarists. Following his debut performances of the Concierto de Aranjuez with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, he continues to perform around the world in more than 30 countries as a natural ambassador of Spanish culture. A champion and supporter of new repertoire for guitar, he performed the world premiere of Rounds, the first guitar piece written by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.

His “beautifully rounded guitar tone” and “soulful rendition” (The New York Times) have made him one of the most sought-after soloists by today´s foremost orchestras, conductors and festivals. Among his 2012-13 season highlights are the New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Lyon, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Copenhagen Philharmonic and tours in Germany, France and Japan.

He has performed as soloist with worldwide orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Fancisco Symphony and the Boston Symphony at the renowned Tanglewood Festival. Along with fellow Spaniard Frühbeck de Burgos, he has shared the stage with renowned conductors such as Carlos Kalmar, Juanjo Mena, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Alondra de la Parra, and has performed in the presence of the Dalai Lama as well as the Royal Family of Spain.

Sáinz Villegas is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and was the first guitarist to ever win Spain’s top classical music honor, El Ojo Critico. Prior to winning the famed Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pablo was already the recipient of more than thirty international awards, including the Francisco Tárrega Award and the Andrés Segovia Award.

Known for his outreach programs, Sáinz Villegas is the founder of The Music Without Borders Legacy, a program that seeks to bridge communities across cultural, social and political borders for the benefit of children and youth, which has served more than 10,000 children.

Pablo Sainz Villegas was born in La Rioja, Spain and is currently based in New York City.

About the Houston Symphony

During the 2013-14 Season, the Houston Symphony will be in its 100th year as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $28.7 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 280 concerts for 280,000 people, including 84,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit   or call 713-224-7575.

15th Annual Easter Party for over 350 children from Houston area families and agencies

March 21, 2013 by  
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Over 350 underprivileged children from area families and agencies will gather on Saturday, March 23rd 2013, at Northland Christian School, 4363 Sylvanfield Drive (77014), 1 – 4 p.m.

Fun events scheduled for the day include a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting and a visit from the Easter Bunny. There will also be games and lots of prizes as well as individual Easter Baskets, and last but not least an Easter egg hunt.

Food to be generously provided by Wendy’s Old Fashion Hamburgers, and drinks donated by Pepsi and Oak Farms Dairy.  Other donations by Randalls, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – Speakers’ Committee Rodeo Clowns and Northland Christian School.

Houston Children’s Charity, whose only goal is “to be there when others are not,” helps support over 60 Houston area child-related agencies throughout the year, in addition to special events such as this.  “Our kids are everybody’s kids” – we are child-related, not cause-related – we are able to serve children from multiple agencies and families at a time when it is needed the most.” says HCC Executive Director, Laura S. Ward.

36th Annual Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows

March 21, 2013 by  
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Dog Show Media Alert - Calendar Listing

 Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows, one of the leading indoor dog shows in the U.S.

Mark your calendars for the largest tail-wagging event in Houston! Celebrating 36 years, the Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows brings together hundreds of dogs to compete in events such as conformation and obedience. The lively performance events, exhibitions and relay races make for a great family event, but don’t forget about the great shopping! The multitudes of vendors provide useful and unique doggy essentials for your four-legged family member!

Reliant Center
8400 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX

Wednesday, July 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday, July 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, July 19, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 20, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 21, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 The Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows attracts more than 40,000 spectators,
participants and vendors. Sponsored by Purina PRO Plan, the dog show is the city’s premier canine extravaganza. Adult admission is $10 per day at the door. Tickets for senior citizens are $5 and children 12 or younger are $1 with adult. Visit or follow us on Twitter (@Reliantdogshows) for the latest information.

Rodeo Hangover

March 20, 2013 by  
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Now that we’ve watched George ride away and waved goodbye to all of our favorite fried fair foods, we Houstonians are experiencing a little of what we like to call a “Rodeo Hangover.” Not to fear, the springtime is the best time to get out and experience all our great city has to offer. In case your readers need a reminder, here are some events happening around town that will cure your Rodeo blues:

Crawfish Boil: Goode Company and the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation will host the inaugural “Craw-Wish Boil”  at Goode’s Armadillo Palace on May 11th from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. With live music, door prizes, and unlimited crawfish and beer for just $25 ($30 at the door) there’s no better way to spend a sunny Saturday than with Goode Company.

Art Festival: The Bayou City Art Festival is finally here! This Friday through Sunday, pack up the kids and head out to Memorial Park for a day of good food, live music, and hunting for treasure among the more than 300 artists on-site. Kids can even create their own art masterpieces!

Hoppy Easter: Washington bar Little J’s  is hosting a special Easter celebration on Easter Sunday with jello shots served in plastic eggs and other drink specials. Come get hoppy with Little J’s vast beer selection!

Blues Concert: We can’t wait to visit Discovery Green on Wednesdays for lunch from now until April 24th for their signature ‘Blues and Burgers‘  series featuring a blues concert and delicious burgers from their famous grill. Take an extra long lunch, we won’t tell.

Game on: MD Anderson to honor Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith

March 20, 2013 by  
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Sixth annual A Conversation With a Living Legend® luncheon to support brain cancer research

HOUSTON ― Pro Football Hall of Fame member and “Dancing with the Stars” champion Emmitt Smith will be the honoree of the sixth annual A Conversation With a Living Legend luncheon, Monday, April 29, benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The luncheon will be held at the Hilton Americas hotel in downtown Houston.

A respected entrepreneur, sought-after speaker and best-selling author, Smith is one of the most valuable brands in the sports-entertainment field. He rose to prominence via an illustrious football career, which included three Super Bowl championships as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Smith is the only player in history to have won a Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP and NFL Rushing Crown all in the same season. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010, he is the NFL’s all‐time leading rusher, amassing 18,355 yards during his 15 seasons.
Since its inception in 2007, A Conversation With a Living Legend® in Houston has raised more than
$2 million for research and patient care initiatives at MD Anderson. Vicky and Harris Pappas chair this year’s event. Honorary chairs are Sheridan and John Eddie Williams. Proceeds of this year’s luncheon will support brain cancer research at MD Anderson.

Smith’s charm and charisma made him one of the sports world’s most popular personalities during his playing career and in the entertainment world following his retirement. In 2006, Smith’s crossover appeal became even more apparent when he, along with dance partner Cheryl Burke, was crowned winner of the hit ABC reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” Currently president & CEO of Emmitt Smith Enterprises Inc., Smith leads a team of talented people who oversee the company’s many ventures — including Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, an organization that annually awards college scholarships and provides enrichment opportunities to underserved youth.

As well known for his character and integrity as he is for his athletic ability, Smith has been a member of the President’s Health and Fitness Council and has been recognized extensively for his leadership and public service. In 2011, he authored the book, “Game On: Find Your Purpose — Pursue Your Dreams,” chronicling his humble beginnings growing up in Pensacola, Fla. to his rise on the football field and in the business world.

A graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in public recreation, Smith is married and the father of five children.
Approximately 800 attendees are expected for the luncheon. For information, call 866-262-9029 or email

University Dance Theatre presents two evenings of works

March 19, 2013 by  
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UH Goes to the Barn and Ensemble Dance Works

UH Goes to the Barn
March 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Barnevelder Theater
2201 Preston
General Admission: $10 at the door
an evening of works produced, choreographed, and performed by University of Houston dance students.

Ensemble Dance Works
April 5-6, 2013 at 7:30 pm
April 7, 2013 at 1:30pm
Lindall Finley Wortham Theatre
133 CWM Center for the Arts, UH Main Campus
Tickets: $20 General/ $12 Senior
Box Office: 713/743-2929
an evening of premiere works by UH Faculty and guests:
Teresa Chapman, Sara Draper, Leslie Scates, Karen Stokes,
jhon r. stronks, Sophia Torres, and Becky Valls,
performed by the UH Dance Ensemble.

For more information, visit or contact Toni Valle at 713-409-2838, or

A Free Summer of Fun in Downtown Galveston Island

March 19, 2013 by  
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April 6, 2013, Movie Nite on the Strand shows The Help (rated PG-13) starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand!  The movie showing is free to the public and begins at dusk.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.  Movie Nite on the Strand takes place every 1st Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.

 April 13, 2013 from 6pm to 9pm, The Fab 5 will rock Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand!  The Beatles Tribute sensation are returning to Music Nite by popular demand!  Music Nite on the Strand is free to the public and takes place every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.

April 20, 2013, Mitchell Historic Properties is proud to partner with the attractions and restaurants at Pier 21, 21st Street and Harborside, to present “Party on the Pier!”  April’s musical entertainment features the Zydeco Country tunes of Kevin Anthony & G Town.  Party on the Pier takes place at Pier 21 from 6pm to 9pm on the 3rd Saturday of every month from March through October.

April 20,2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Galveston Island Market, formerly known as Market on the Strand, is moving to Beach Central, 2102 Seawall Blvd.  The popular monthly market features the crafts and creations of  local artists and artisans.

 April 27, 2013, Music Nite on the Strand features Alligator Handshake.  From 6pm to 9pm, visitors will enjoy the Rockabilly/country performed at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.  Music Nite on the Strand is free to the public and takes place every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.

May 4, 2013, Movie Nite on the Strand shows Dirty Dancing (rated PG-13) starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.  The free movie showing is open to the public and begins shortly after dusk.  Movie-goers are encouraged to bring their own seating.  Movie Nite on the Strand takes place on the 1st Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.

May 11, 2013 from 6pm to 9pm, Gary Helms & Texas Black Gold will bring a little country to Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.  Music Nite on the Strand is free to the public and takes place every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October.  Limited seating is available and visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs.  Music Nite is presented by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.

May 18, 2013, from 6pm to 9pm, Party on the Pier at Pier 21 welcomes Austin favorites, the Whiskey Sisters to rock the stage.  Party on the Pier takes place at Pier 21, 21st Street and Harborside Dr., on the 3rd Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented by Mitchell Historic Properties and the restaurants and attractions at Pier 21.

May 25, 2013, Music Nite on the Strand features Journey Agents. From 6pm to 9pm, visitors will enjoy that funky music at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.  Music Nite on the Strand is a free, family friendly event that takes place on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October.  Music Nite is presented by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.

June 1, 2013, Movie Nite on the Strand shows Jaws (rated TV-14) starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand!  The movie showing is free to the public and begins at dusk.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.  Movie Nite on the Strand takes place every 1st Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.

June 8, 2013 from 6pm to 9pm, Ocean Roots will sooth Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand, with the sounds of South Coast Soul!  Music Nite on the Strand is free to the public and takes place every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.

June 15, 2013, Mitchell Historic Properties is proud to partner with the attractions and restaurants at Pier 21, 21st Street and Harborside, to present “Party on the Pier!”  June’s musical entertainment features the popular Austin Latin rock band, Del Castillo.  Party on the Pier takes place at Pier 21 from 6pm to 9pm on the 3rd Saturday of every month from March through October.

 June 22, 2013, Music Nite on the Strand features Dolly Rockers and Lone Star Deluxe.  From 6pm to 9pm, visitors will enjoy the Rockabilly performed at Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand.  Music Nite on the Strand is free to the public and takes place every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from March through October and is presented jointly by the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mitchell Historic Properties.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating.

Houston’s Iconic Garden and Floral Celebration to Bloom throughout The Galleria

March 19, 2013 by  
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flowers-1WHAT: The Galleria will welcome spring with the return of Primavera Thursday, March 28 through Sunday, April 7, 2013.

The event will boast a variety of living vignettes throughout the entire property, each a unique interpretation of spring with lush floral hues and breathtaking design. Visitors are invited to experience the floral transformation by visiting the gardens and floral installations created by professional landscape artists.

During the weekends, amid the floral displays, visitors can enjoy live modeling featuring floral inspired looks from students at the Art Institute of Houston.

COST:   Free and open to the community

WHEN:   Thursday, March 28 through Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

 WHERE:  The Galleria

5085 Westheimer Rd.

Houston, TX 77056

MORE INFO:    Please call 713.622.0663, or visit The Galleria is also on Facebook – area shoppers looking for the latest deals, contests and event information can visit


Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center educates Houston on America’s fastest growing cancer

March 19, 2013 by  
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Please join Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center’s top gastroenterology experts for breakfast on Saturday, April 6, 9-11 a.m. at the Ertan Digestive Disease Center.  Memorial Hermann–TMC and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) invite you to discover the hidden dangers of heartburn at their free Esophageal Cancer Awareness Event.

Dr. Atilla Ertan, Medical Director of the Ertan Digestive Disease Center, a Gastroenterology Center of Excellence at Memorial Hermann–TMC, and UTHealth Professor; Dr. Hani A. Zamil and Dr. David S. Wolf, gastroenterologists and UTHealth Assistant Professors; and Dr. Erik B. Wilson, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Memorial Hermann–TMC and UTHealth’s Chief of Elective General Surgery, are all among the panel of experts who will explain why esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the United States today.  In addition, they will discuss how heartburn or acid reflux may lead to esophageal cancer, as well as present prevention and treatment options for Barrett’s Esophagus.

The Ertan Digestive Disease Center and Gastroenterology Center of Excellence is located in the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza at 6400 Fannin, Suite 1400, Houston, TX 77030.  Space is limited.  To register, please call 713.222.CARE (2273).  Parking will be validated for Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza only.

Brenner’s on the Bayou hosts Annual Wine Festival

March 19, 2013 by  
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A Celebration for Wine Lovers, Food Lovers and Fun Lovers featuring America’s Top Wineries.

 WHAT:  Area wine connoisseurs and budding enthusiasts are invited to join us at Brenner’s on the Bayou’s 2013 Wine Fest to sample an outstanding selection of America’s premiere wines paired with chef crafted cuisine while enjoying live entertainment by Midstream in a beautiful, copious outdoor setting.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 20 from 3PM until 6PM

WHERE:  Brenner’s on the Bayou located at One Birdsall Street

TICKETS: Admission for the event is $65 (plus tax) per person in advance and $75 (plus tax) per person at the door.  VIP Tickets for $125 (plus tax) person.  Starting March 1, tickets are available for purchase online at Call (713) 868-4444 for more information. Must be 21 to enter.

WHO: Featuring outstanding examples of fine wines from North America.  Offerings will include an amazing array of wineries featuring their top varietals, as well as delectable creations. Participating wineries to date include:

Vina Robles – Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Trintas Apprentice – Napa Chardonnay
Paul Hobbs Crossbarn – Russian River Pinot Noir
Chehalem – Willamette Valley Pinor Noir
Freemark Abbey – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Murphy Goode Liar’s Dice – Sonoma Zinfandel
Stonestreet 5th Ridge – Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cambria – Santa Maria Syrah
Alexander Valley Merlot
BV Beaurouge Red Blend
Sterling – Caneros Pinot Noir
Etude Lyric Pinot Noir
Mer Soleil Silver – Santa Lucia Chardonnay
Belle Glos Meoimi – Sonoma Pinot Noir
Caymus Special Select – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Lucas & Lewellen – Santa Barbara Pinot Noir
Paul Hobbs Crossbarn – Sonoma Chardonnay
Carmel Road – Monterey Pinot Gris
Matanzas Creek – Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc
Hartford Court – Russian River Chardonnay
Arrowood Russian River Viognier
Louis Martini – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Joseph Carr – Russian River Chardonnay
Girard Petite Syrah
Willowcrest Pinot Gris
Belle Glos Clark & Telephone – St. Barb. Pinot Noir
Caymus – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon


March 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Experience the colors, sounds, and tastes of Japan, at Japan Fest! Taking place on Saturday, April 13th and Sunday, April 14th 2013 at the Reflection Pool in Hermann Park, this event offers free admission for all visitors and fun for the whole family!

Don’t miss the engaging sounds of Japanese Taiko Drummers, vibrant kimonos, graceful dancers, and Ikebana floral arrangements. Come see the very popular Anime Costume Contest, showcasing incredible costumes and characters, and the first-ever Kawaii Fashion Show, featuring modern Japanese style. Make sure you come hungry, since the festival hosts a wide variety of rich Japanese cuisine.

The Japan Festival was first created in 1993, and this year marks its 20th anniversary! Every year Houstonians look forward to this dynamic Hermann Park favorite! It is one of the most highly-attended cultural festivals in Houston. Last year over 28,000 patrons strolled through during the 2-day festival!

In honor of its 20th anniversary, this year’s theme is “Arigato, Houston!” The theme expresses gratitude to the Houston community because “Arigato” means “thank you” in Japanese, and the festival would not be able to continue and be free to the public without the generous interest and support from Houstonians. This year, Houston also celebrates the 41st anniversary of its sister city relationship with Chiba City, Japan. Throughout the years, Houstonians have been very generous in their support for the Japan-Relief Fund for Tsunami Victims, and local Japanese cultural organizations and businesses, so this year’s Japan Fest would like to “Thank you, Houston!”

The festival hours are 10AM to 7PM Saturday, April 13th and 10AM to 5PM Sunday, April 14th.
The annual Japan Fest is presented by the Japan-America Society of Houston, and is supported by the following community organizations:  The Consulate-General of Japan in Houston; Japan Business Association of Houston; Japanese Association of Greater Houston; Japanese American Citizens League Houston Chapter; Houston Parks and Recreation Department; & Hermann Park Conservatory.

To learn how you can participate, volunteer, sponsor Japan Fest or learn more about it, please visit

 Experience the colors, sounds, and tastes of Japan, at Japan Fest!

Shell Eco-marathon Americas, Houston

March 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

 Shell Eco-marathon Americas

Kid Friendly, Free
 April 5 – April 7

Time: The student challenge officially kicks off at 9 am on Friday, April 5, during the opening Ceremony at Discovery Green Park. All of the activities and displays will be open Friday through Sunday.

Location: George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green

Description: Shell Eco-marathon Americas – a global program that challenges teams of high school and college students to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles – is back in Houston for the fourth straight year.
New to Shell Eco-marathon Americas this year is an interactive learning experience that provides visitors who are interested in engineering and technology a unique opportunity to engage with energy solutions through hands-on displays and activities. In addition to the vehicle challenge, this year’s event will include:
·        A “Mobility Footprint Zone” that includes a kinetic dance floor and gives visitors the opportunity to race toy cars that are powered by salt water.
·        Formula1 Car Display – Come out to Discovery Green and see the Shell Formula1 car!
·        Yellow Brick Road Tour – Take your family on this self-guided tour through Shell Eco-marathon Americas while learning about the past, present and future of energy and what we can do to help address the world’s growing energy demand.
·        mPowering Action Mobile Recording Studio – Debuted at the 2013 Grammy’s, the mPowering mobile recording studio will be making a stop in Houston to allow Shell Eco-marathon Americas visitors the opportunity to record songs or messages about their energy solutions for the future.


March 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

The worst job in the state must be head of the Texas Democratic Party. Some poor soul has that job, and it speaks volumes that almost no one knows who he or she is, where that person lives, works, votes and plays Lotto. But let us say that you got the slot. (Your politics aside, the position pays well and you need the money.)
Your first task is to determine whatever happened to the Texas Democratic Party, which controlled the Lone Star State longer than the PRI ran Mexico or the Communist Party governed the Soviet Union. How did the mighty, monopolistic Texas Democrats fall so low, with prospects akin to purveyors of Esperanto and the metric system? How did the party of Sam Rayburn, Lyndon B. Johnson, Lloyd Bentsen and an overwhelming number of Texas voters become the underdogs, fighting for a place at the table and dismally settling for scraps?
To change that situation, as head of the Texas Dems (we’ll shorten the Texas Democratic Party) you’ve got to figure out how to win votes while dealing with immigration, guns, abortion, UT refusing to play A&M and voter DNA. Are Latinos the key? How can you ever get them to vote? If Perry runs for President, can we afford his bodyguards? Who is Gilberto Hinojosa? I know we’re doing away with Saturday mail delivery, but why isn’t Travis’s letter from the Alamo on exhibit all the time? Can’t we open our beaches to everyone but members of the Texas Supreme Court?
Next, let’s look at the political battleground, strewn with the corpses of Dem candidates. The ballots are more like the Tomb of the Unknown Lambs to Slaughter. Name one. How Republican is Texas? In 1976, Jimmy Carter became the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Texas. Mitt Romney won the state by 17 percentage points, a 2-point improvement from John McCain’s 2008 effort. The GOP now holds 3,192 elected posts across Texas, up from about 2,400 four years ago. Texas Republicans own both of our U.S. Senate seats and twice as many U.S. House seats as the Dems – 24 to 12. Republicans hold every single elected state-wide office, and it’s been that way since – get this – 1993. In the Legislature, the GOP holds 95 House seats, leaving the Dems with 55. Across the Rotunda in the Texas Senate, it’s 19 elephants and 12 donkeys.
The odd thing is the Texas Republican Party is quite vulnerable, currently controlled by nothing but a small, vocal and well-heeled extremist group that has hijacked the party from those Republicans who want a decent and thoughtful political organization to support. Look who they have in their ranks: Rick Perry, our governor for life. He opposes gub-ment interference in our lives, like a law against texting while driving through elementary school zones, pollution controls and rapid-fire guns designed for the military. But he supports the state controlling women’s reproductive systems and how gays can live their lives. Some would call that hypocritical. I call it smart politics.
Our newest U.S. senator, Republican Ted Cruz, has taken only a couple to weeks to alienate his 99 colleagues, and he will be there for six more years, making sure Texas is ignored. This is the party that labeled Kay Bailey Hutchison and David Dewhurst “too liberal.” It’s the party of U.S. Rep David Stockman who suggested that the Clinton Administration staged the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco to convince Congress that it should ban assault weapons. All of this and more led the left-wing Daily Kos to observe, “At some point we’re going to have to consider Texas a failed state.”
Can’t the Dems beat them? No, because the Texas donkey is led by a bunch of incompetent nobodies. Will Rogers must have been thinking of Texas when he made his oft-quoted observation, “I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.” Can you imagine LBJ letting a sleaze like Tom DeLay come down from Washington – he wasn’t even a state lawmaker – and gerrymander Texas like a pizza cut with a chainsaw? Everyone knows Sam Rayburn was speaker of the U.S. House but don’t know that first he was speaker of the Texas House. Mister Sam would have tolerated the current House members’ shenanigans about one nanosecond.
How often have we heard, from every Texas politician from John Connally to Phil Gramm to Rick Perry, “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.”? The Lone Star State was once, shall we say, non-Republican. If money is the mother’s milk of politics, Texas is a wet nurse. Candidates from both parties and from all over America come here to raise money to be spent on campaigns in Oregon or Ohio. Texas is the ATM for the elephant and the donkey. But almost no funds are sent here from out of state because Texas is so red it has scarlet corpuscles.
The Dems hope all of this will change with yet another stab at winning, or at least gaining respectability. Battleground Texas is coming to a moribund precinct near you. It is the latest effort to turn Texas into a blue state. Apparently having given up on local talent, some of President Obama’s top former staffers are arriving “to focus on grassroots mobilization that will make Texas a state that counts in local, state and national elections.” Good luck.
Here is my final analysis, which you will find irrefutable: The Texas Republican Party didn’t skillfully hijack Texas with Karl Rove leading the way. Rather, the Texas Dems, totally clueless, became guided by total incompetents. As for the rest of us, take your pick: tone-deaf GOPers who spend more time on abortions than on education, with priorities far removed from those of most Texans, or Larry, Moe and Curly wondering why they keep losing. Oh, who is Gilberto Hinojosa? He’s head of the Texas Democratic Party. Party on, Gilbo.

Ashby writes in at

The 2nd Annual Route 49 Biker Rally

March 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

The 2nd Annual Route 49 Biker Rally will be held March 22-24, 2013 at Diamond Don RV Park in Jefferson, TX. Everyone is welcome. Last year was their inaugural event and was a huge success. They had over 650 bikers at this event. Riders came from as far away as Alabama and included participants from the surrounding three-state area. This year, the event will kick off on Friday Evening with a Meet & Greet BBQ hosted by James Novey and Diamond Don for all Pre-Registered Weekend and VIP Guests. The Kick-Off Band this year is The Chris Leblanc Band from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Chris has traveled the world and has a huge following.

A portion of the proceeds from the Rally will benefit Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. The Center in Dallas, TX is ranked nationally in ten pediatric specialties. The Rally donation will support the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas Cardiac Care Unit for children born with heart defects. There will be many ways for attendees to make contributions during this event to make a difference in the lives of needy children.

On Saturday, they will a Poker Run, Bike Show & Biker Games for registered bikers. You won’t want to miss their first CASINO Night that will benefit Children’s Medical Center. You don’t have to be a biker to join in this fun! The Carter Blood Care Organization will also be at the rally to help the local hospitals and area blood banks. Plan to give….and give……

Announcing “The Voice of Route 49 Rally” – Yes, there will be a talent contest planned for Saturday morning at 11:00 AM – 1:00PM – Karaoke or talent that will be judged…..they will be looking for the most talented person or group at the rally…be sure to get involved….you never know where this will lead…

On Saturday, entertainment will be provided by East Texas Garage Band, 84db Band, Chris Leblanc Band, and Doctor Doctor. There is a large beer garden with vendors and entertainment all in one location. Get out of the sun under a 30 x 100 tent and listen to the bands. There will be Reserved Seating for VIB registered guests. On Sunday Morning, Steve Wise, Christ Ministries, will lead a Church Service and the Christian Motorcycle Association will conduct the Blessing of the Bikes.

Route 49 has invested in a shuttle bus that will be used during the rally for transportation to and from locations in Jefferson for those that would like to park and ride. Also featured will be a raffle drawing for a 2001 Harley Davidson 883 Sportster® Motorcycle that will be given away at 2:00 on Saturday at the main stage. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Check out the web site for pricing, schedule, location and more at:


Media Contact: Sid Agent, 972-226-7205


March 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE OFFICE – Out goes my father’s century-old oaken roll-top and in comes a cheap gun-metal gray desk with Formica top and clanging steel drawers. I’ll put these sectional half-walls, replete with cute drawings by my youngsters, around three sides of the desk to partition off my cubicle from co-workers, whom I can rent. They will still bother me every six minutes with tales of their ex-spouses, deer hunts and the latest Aggie jokes.
I’ll need 12 phones all ringing at the same time nearly drowning the piped-in Muzak. The water cooler replaces the wet bar, obviously. Wonder if my new company has a Take Your Martini to Work Day? My kitchen can easily be turned into the office snack room with month-old leftovers in the refrigerator and cake from the Christmas party. The Microwave is much too clean. It needs baked-on chili and tuna melt. I should have a surly secretary who is only nice when Christmas bonuses are due.
You see, I work at home. Some 30 million Americans do, at least one day a week. But that may be ending because Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo, has sent out an order to all her 20-year-olds who don their jeans, T-shirts and Nikes when they want to, and go to their basement to turn out the latest black box. Her order is: “Come back to the office.”
The company sent out a memo to all those thousands of Yahoos, as they call themselves, who work at home all or part of the time, or have flexible hours. The message said they needed to start showing up at Yahooville bright and early Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. Mayer believes that face-to-face interaction among employ¬ees fosters a more collaborative culture. As the memo stated: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side by side.” If that work plan was good enough for Google, where Mayer worked before, it was good enough for her new employees.
Of course, working at the office is easy for her to say, and do. She took off only two weeks for the birth of her first child, then had a nursery built next to her office, at her own expense. That cost should not have been a financial burden. Mayer, 37 years old, makes $117 million during her five-year contract, and lives in the penthouse of San Francisco’s Four Seasons Hotel.
Her order changing lifestyles is not going over very well with some workers, especially the young ones. But the CEO has support, because studies have shown that people who work at home are signifi¬cantly more productive yet less innovative. For a cutting-edge operation like Yahoo, innovation is all important. Hopefully, the nerd clusters will generate the so-called “water-cooler” phenomenon — many good ideas are hatched during those break-time moments of casual conversation.
In taking on the workers who take off, Yahoo has entered a complicated situation whereby more and more American workers want to do it their way, when they wish. Today with e-mails and iPads, instant messaging, Skype, Facetime and other devices workers use to avoid actually working, communicating and innovating, the number of stay-at-home employees is exploding, right? Not exactly. Considering all the technological breakthroughs, the trend is moving rather slowly. According to the U.S. Census, from 1997 to 2010 the number of people who worked at least one day a week at home only increased by about 4.2 million, or from 7 percent to 9.5 percent. The most popular days at home for those who work both at home and onsite were Monday and Friday. On my own block, at least three husbands/fathers never leave for the office. They got laid off counting stay-at-homes for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nearly half of home-based workers are self-employed. The 2012 National Study of Employers found that some 63 percent of companies allow — though not necessarily encourage — some employees to work a portion of their time remotely. That’s up from 34 percent in 2005. However, a few companies have tried the work-at-home plan and shucked it because clients want to meet face to face with employees. Bank of America decided late last year to require employees in certain roles to come back to the office. Some jobs don’t lend themselves to staying at home. Fireman leaps to mind, and heart surgeon. Long-distance tree-trimming and calf-roping never caught on. Until recently, fighter pilots usually had to be on the scene, but drones have solved that problem. Do U.S. presidents work at home?
Something to consider: If you listen to Limbaugh or Hannity’s radio shows you hear these come-on ads aimed at the slow and gullible (their listeners) about working at home and doubling your income. It’s a rip-off. The exception is if you are working at other people’s homes while they are at work. First, check the closet floors for safes.
Then there is commuting, or lack thereof. I commute through the den, past the spa, the stables and the servants’ quarters – they work at my home. Non-commutering workers annually save between $1,600 and $6,800 and 15 days of time once used driving to work or taking public transportation. Yet researchers in Sweden found couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce. Long commuters are also more likely to become fat. In 2006, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Alan Krueger surveyed 900 Texan women, asking them how much they enjoyed a number of common activities. Commuting came in dead last. First? Having sex. Yee-HAW! On the other hand, maybe your spouse really doesn’t want you working at home. For better or worse, but not for lunch
So good luck Yahoos. Like you, I want to be both more productive and more innovative. But most of the water-cooler conversations at my company are about last night’s ballgame, the latest dirty joke and/or should we poison or strangle Marissa Mayer.

Ashby works at

Easter in the Gardens

March 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Moody Garden Logo 3/31/2013
 One Hope Boulevard Galveston, Texas 77554

Annual Easter Egg Hunts are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and children 12 years old and younger are invited to run around the Oleander Bowl filled with colorful eggs. Other activities include a variety of games for prizes. In addition to all of the fun and excitement outdoors, Easter Buffet feasts will be available at both the Garden Restaurant and the Moody Gardens Hotel on Easter Sunday. Beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting till 3 p.m., this event is free to the public.

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