The calendar was full with Ak-Sar-Ben events preceding last Saturday’s coronation.
The Omaha Country Club was the setting Oct. 4 for the annual Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Scholarship Ball XWBC Coffee. “Harvest Fête Royale,” the theme for this year’s ball, set the tone as guests attempted to predict the future monarchs of Quivira.
Hosts for the gathering were the 2011 Women’s Ball Committee senior class: Jill Bydalek, Mary De Souza, Gina Greder, Mary Jo Langdon, Marietta Luellen and Kyle Robino. Current and former Women’s Ball Committee members gathered to share details of the upcoming Coronation and Scholarship Ball and attendees cast votes guessing the new monarchs. Also in attendance were two former Ak-Sar-Ben queens, Jean Bell and Kelli Draper, and mothers of past queens: Susan Cutler, Jan Falk, Barbara Fitzgerald, Michele Grewcock and Langdon.
On Oct. 11, following a morning rehearsal at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, the youngest members of the court and their parents attended a luncheon at the Happy Hollow Club. Guests were welcomed by a knight and princess in full costume. A trumpet sounded as the doors to the royal dining hall were opened, presenting tables covered in black, floor length cloths, and white napkins adorned with a princess crown and knight’s shield. The royal crowd enjoyed a presentation of gifts to each member of the court by Kathleen Pallesen, assistant page chairwoman. More than 130 people attended the luncheon.
The Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Scholarship Ball’s Regale was held Oct. 11 at the Durham Museum. The evening festivities included the introduction of the 2012 Ak-Sar-Ben princesses and escorts and recognition of the Court of Honor. Chairwomen for this event were Kathy Neary and Heidi Schneiderman.
Attendees included the 115th Ak-Sar-Ben royalty, Queen Katie Landen and parents Patty and C.L. Landen III, and King Deryl Hamann and his wife, Ramona. Also in attendance were past monarchs, governors, councillors, court of honor, princesses and escorts and their parents, and the 2012 Women’s Ball Committee.
Kelly Thedinger, Women’s Ball Committee chairwoman, and Steven S. Martin, Coronation Ball Committee chairman, recognized the 2012 Court of Honor: Ken Bird, Dr. Linda B. Ford, Paul C. Jessen (posthumously) and Joan Squires. Michele Phillips and John Lee formally introduced the princesses and escorts.
Also recognized at the Regale were the 2012 Omaha escorts chairmen Parker Reed Anderson, son of Stephanie Horeis and Rod Anderson, and Matthew Steven Hergenrader, son of Steven and Ann Hergenrader. Representing the heartland escorts were heartland escort chairmen Blake Thomas Albers, son of Jeffry and Ann Albers of Wisner, and Robert Jeffrey Schmid, son of Jeffrey and Amy Schmid of Papillion. The escort chairmen serve as ambassadors for the 2012 princesses and escorts.
The Durham Museum created the perfect ambience for this journey of the “Harvest Fête Royale” theme. Regal sapphire tablecloths shimmered beneath the silver rimmed china and place settings. Grand floral arrangements with jewel-toned roses and gems with beautiful hand-decorated masks reminiscent of many royal parties graced the old train lobby.
More than 400 guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a sit-down dinner. The meal began with a salad of mixed greens, walnut oil vinaigrette, candied walnuts, grapes, sliced pears and feta cheese. The main course consisted of roasted lemon herb chicken breast with a basil chiffonade, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted fresh vegetables. And a decadent dessert of chocolate banana bread pudding topped with sabayon sauce was served.
The Royal Court Luncheon was held on Oct. 12 at the CenturyLink Center for the Court participants on the final day of fittings and rehearsals.
Viv Ewing served as the royal court luncheon chairwoman, assisted by fellow Women’s Ball Committee members Julie Kenney, princess chairwoman; Julie Taylor, heartland princess chairwoman; Neary, escort chairwoman; and Schneiderman, heartland escort chairwoman.
Sheila Christ of She.la, Royal Court couturier, and Bill Spire, Mr. Tuxedo, along with the Women’s Ball Committee were the hosts of the luncheon featuring guest speaker Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott. Terry Kroeger, Coronation and Scholarship Ball Committee vice chairman, selected the speaker. The Ak-Sar-Ben Floor Committee, led by Jamie Walker and Brian Harr, attended the event.
Dressing the luncheon tables were metal crowns of various jewel tones with deep red and purple flowers created by Old Market Habitat.
Before returning to an afternoon of rehearsal in preparation for the CXVI Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Scholarship Ball, court members and guests enjoyed a delicious meal of field greens salad, shaved English roast beef with wild mushroom sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and apple bread pudding for dessert.
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Ted E. Bear Hollow’s Sixth Annual Comfort Food Classic on Oct. 7 grossed nearly $100,000 at the Ramada Plaza convention center.
The event featured six of the area’s most talented culinary artists. Chefs from O Dining, Le Voltaire, Cantina Laredo, Julio’s, Taxi’s Grille & Bar and Urban Wine Company were tasked with creating their unique rendition of this year’s comfort food: the enchilada. The winner of the evening, Julio’s Nick Katis, was chosen by a tally of the voting crowd. Katis took home $500 cash, the traveling trophy and bragging rights for a year.
Presenting sponsors and “Chief Teddy Bears” were Bob and Janice Batt.
“Children who experience death need a support system. Ted E. Bear Hollow is that support system. This is why Janice and I have decided to sponsor the Comfort Food Classic this year. We are fortunate to have a professional organization to guide grieving children, teens and their families” said Bob Batt.
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Operation School Bell (OSB) will be held through Sunday at the Westroads J.C. Penney store. OSB is the Assistance League of Omaha’s major philanthropic program and provides an opportunity for children in need in the greater metro area to receive new school clothing, shoes and a winter coat.
Organizers say the event will help 3,722 children from 194 schools, 10 districts, kindergarten through eighth grade.
The volunteer members of Assistance League work as school liaisons, schedulers, registrars, check-in/out staff, and shopping assistants.
Thanks to the proceeds of fundraisers such as ALO Christmas Caravan Tour of Homes, the ALO Classic Car Cruise, the ALO Thrift Shop, donations and grants, Operation School Bell has grown from serving fewer than 100 children in 1976 to clothing about 3,300 last year.