Sabrina Curran crowned Lunar Rendezvous queen

July 25th, 2018

New Lunar Rendezvous Queen Sabrina Curran is escorted on a stroll around the San Luis Convention Center Ballroom by King Gene Hollier after being crowded during the 2018 Coronation Ball.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Sabrina Elizabeth Curran, a pretty brunette senior at Clear Lake High School, is the new queen of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival. She was crowned by last year’s queen, Serina Weathers, during the festival finale, the Coronation Ball, at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston.

She is the daughter of Georgette and Chris Curran of Clear Lake and was sponsored by Christopher Curran Investments, Wells Fargo Advisors.

Skylar Jane Slattery, a senior at Clear Springs High and the daughter of Angela and Patrick Slattery was named queen alternate. She was sponsored by Dunn Heat Exchangers, Inc.

The new captain is John Wesley Dorman III, who goes by the name, Trey. He is the son of Catherine and Wes Dorman and is also a Clear Lake High senior. Robinette & Company Caterers was his sponsor.

After she was crowned, Festival King Gene Hollier took her on a stroll around the ballroom, which was decorated in deep tones of purple, blue, gold and teal, as they crowd roared its approval and then they danced the first dance.

The coronation came after all the princesses, lieutenants and members of the Little Court and their escorts had been introduced by emcee, former astronaut and retired Col. Bill McArthur Jr., who has often served as emcee for the annual event.

Afterwards, the crowd danced to the music of Password.

Ball Chairman Michelle Holland and Co-Chairman Debby Reichert selected an Arabian Nights theme for the event, which is now in its 53rd year.

Movers & Shakers: Dinah Parker Matthews

November 1st, 2017

Name: Dinah Parker Matthews

Occupation: Community volunteer, 2017 and 2018 Lunar Rendezvous Festival general chairman

Hometown: I grew up in Clear Lake City and attended Clear Creek ISD schools

Current home: Although I have lived in College Station, Austin, Houston (Memorial area), Dallas and Friendswood I am very happy to be settled again in Clear Lake

Family: Husband, Joe; daughters, Holly (23), Natalie (21)

My favorite writer is: Daniel Silva or John La Carre

Someone I’d like to meet: Bill and Melinda Gates – I am inspired by their philanthropic work

If I could switch places with someone for just one day, I’d choose: Kate Middleton

My favorite performers are: Musician Bruno Mars and actress Diane Keaton

I like to spend my leisure time: Reading spy or suspense novels

If I could travel any place, I’d go to: The Amalfi Coast

My favorite meal is: Chili Rellenos and margaritas

As a youngster, I wanted to grow up to be: An executive at an advertising agency

You’ll never catch me: Loving weather below 50 degrees

The thing that bugs me the most is: When others pass along an opinion or rumor as though it is fact

My favorite movie is: The Spy That Came in From the Cold

Few people know: I learned how to speed read in the 5th grade at Whitcomb Elementary

Clear Lake Chatter

September 4th, 2017

The Lunar Rendezvous’ 2018 Royal Court stands for a photo at the Coronation Ball in Galveston. They are, center, King William McArthur and Queen Serina Weathers, with Capt. Ian Schaider, right, and Queen Alternate Katherine Nifong.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Serina Weathers crowned Lunar Rendezvous queen

A PRETTY Clear Horizons Early College High School rising senior, Serina Marie Weathers, was crowned the 2018 queen of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival at this year’s Coronation Ball July 29 at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston.

A former Little Lady in Waiting, she is the daughter of Brett and Kimberley Weathers of Clear Lake and was sponsored by Sandy Carney of The Clotheshorse Boutique in League City.

After all the princesses, lieutenants, little ladies and page were introduced by the emcee, astronaut Shane Kimbrough, she was crowned by the 2017 queen, Madelyn Claire Emilia Chidester, and then danced the first dance with Festival King Bill McArthur, who just retired from NASA’s Astronaut Corps.

Her escort was Lt. Daniel Patrick Monks, son of Pat Monks and his wife, former festival Chairman Annette Dwyer.

Queen Alternate is Katherine Josefine Nifong, daughter of Craig and Wendy Nifong and a senior at Clear Creek High School. Katie was sponsored by her grandparents, Richard and Helga Rietz and escorted by Lt. John Raymond Mahon, son of Kelly Mahon and John Mahon.

Troy Harless and his daughter, Princess Tory Harless, enjoy themselves at the Lunar Rendezvous Ball.

This year’s captain is Ian Schaider, son of Paul and Elaine Schaider and a rising senior at Lutheran South Academy. He was escorted by Princess Madeleine Barlow, daughter of Mark and Eileen Barlow and was sponsored by Charlie Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer and Son.

Festival Chairman Dinah Matthews and Vice Chairman Tisa Foster helped Ball Chairmen Debbie Reichert and Laurie Vaughn welcome the black-tie crowd that included Festival Board of Directors Chairman Mike Landolt and his wife, Ann, a past festival chairman; and Advisory Board Chairman Jill Reason.

Plus a number of former kings — Judge Louie Ditta and his wife, Renee; former astronaut Jerry Ross, with his wife, Karen; Jerry Foyt and his wife, Kate; Jerry Clause and his wife, Peggy, a former chairman; and Tom Wong and his wife, Gloria, also a past festival chairman. Other former festival chairman in the mix included Wendy Shaw, who came with Greg Broderick, Karen McCorkle and Kellie McCorkle Byrd with husband, Joe.

Glancing around, you might have also spotted Julie and Tim Rainey, Todd and Suzanne Zerecheck, Dave and Carol Bergman Reynolds, Krista Williamson, Kathy Dooley, Jennifer and Richard Simmons, Linda Byrd, Elizabeth Byrd Olin, Wendy Drapela, Ange Mertens, Lisa and Eric Tanzberger and Lizzie Nifong, a former queen alternate who was there to see her sister introduced as the 2018 queen alternate.

Fashion Show Co-Chairmen Janis Blizzard, right, and her daughter, Savannah McMahon await the arriving crowd at the popular event.

Fashion Show a fun time for all

THE LUNAR Rendezvous Fashion Show is always one of the biggest events of the summer, so Co-Chairmen Janis Blizzard and her daughter, Savannah McMahon, wanted to make it a memorable one, picking “Fly Me to the Moon” as the theme and inking Lenny Matuszewski Jr. as the producer.

Besides seeing friends one hasn’t seen all summer, it’s always fun to see all the princesses, lieutenants, little ladies and the little page come down the runway with their proud moms – among them Kate Foyt and Linda DeMasie, both with daughters named Lauren; Renee Ditta with her third princess daughter, Macey; Ellen Chuoke with daughter, Annie; Debbie Kropp with daughter Jamie; Julie Rainey and daughter Kayla; Wendy Shaw and daughter Sophia; and Krista Williamson with twins Marie and Marlie — all with ties to Lunar Rendezvous.

Also adding pizzazz to the show were the dancers from the Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre, who always brighten up our events.

We also might mention the many who worked behind the scenes with Festival Chairman Dinah Matthews and Vice Chairman Tisa Foster to make the festival a success. Folks like Treasurer Cyndi Frohling, Publicity Chairman Justine Powell, Auction Chairmen Lucy Cavillo, Paula Black and Misty Killebrew, Raffle Chairman Wendy Drapela, Program Chairman Elizabeth McCarty, Sponsorship Chairman Cindy Sebald and Kickoff Chairmen Ronda Cook and Judy Talley.

Plus, the ladies who put in so many hours working with the princesses and lieutenants – Jill Smitherman and Belinda Schuerich; and the cuties in the little court – Laura Mackay and Amanda Mark, making sure they all knew their places, what to wear and when to show up.

Now….it’s on to next year!

Dinah Matthews to chair Lunar Rendezvous Festival

November 1st, 2016

mBy Mary Alys Cherry

Dinah Parker Matthews, who has deep roots in the Clear Lake area, has been named general chairman of the 52nd annual Lunar Rendezvous Festival and is already hard at work planning next summer’s extravaganza.

The festival not only offers an array of athletic and social events for the enjoyment of the community, its proceeds provide several dozen college scholarships for Bay Area students, and funds to help support Bay Area Museum and local arts organizations. Over the years, its donations have totaled more than $500,000.

A list of this year’s scholarship winners and donations will be announced during the holidays, Dinah said, adding that she was proud to lead such an historical event after growing up here and working on the festival for the past 10 years.

Her family moved to Clear Lake in 1965, when her father started work as an aerospace engineer at NASA and her mother was a fourth grade school teacher in Clear Creek ISD. She graduated from Clear Lake High and went on to earn a BBA in Marketing at Texas A&M University.

“I was so fortunate to watch history unfold around me while growing up in this area during the 60s and 70s when the space program was in its infancy. I chose to raise my family here because our roots are deep, and I wanted my children to experience the unique, awe-inspiring aspects of this community.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to add to the body of work that has been done by the Lunar Rendezvous Festival to provide scholarships and to preserve the rich history of the Clear Lake area, which is close to my heart.”

She has volunteered to work on the festival for the past 10 years, serving as auction chairman in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016; fashion show chairman in 2007; cultural arts evening chairman in 2008; wrap-up party chairman in 2009; and raffle chairman in 2011. She has also been an active volunteer with the Clear Creek Education Foundation — serving on its board for two terms and as chairman or co-chairman of its annual fashion show for eight years.

Dinah is married to Joe Matthews, who recently retired after 40 years as an oil and gas executive and now spends his time fishing and volunteering with Sailing Angels and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

They have two daughters, Holly, who recently graduated from the University of Texas with  B.S. in Biology, and Natalie, a UT-Austin sophomore studying corporate communications. Earlier, both also graduated from Clear Lake High.

Mayor Proclaims Lunar Rendezvous Festival Day in Houston

July 13th, 2015

Houston Mayor Annise Parker holds up the proclamation as she stops for a photo with, from left, Councilman Michael Kubosh, Terri Dieste, Festival Capt. Jack Mullen and Queen Alternate Demerle Monks, District E Councilman Dave Martin, Festival Queen Allison Powell, Jill Williams, Michael Landolt, Kippy Caraway, Gloria Wong, Mary Ann Shallberg and Annette Dwyer.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker holds up the proclamation as she stops for a photo with, from left, Councilman Michael Kubosh, Terri Dieste, Festival Capt. Jack Mullen and Queen Alternate Demerle Monks, District E Councilman Dave Martin, Festival Queen Allison Powell, Jill Williams, Michael Landolt, Kippy Caraway, Gloria Wong, Mary Ann Shallberg and Annette Dwyer.

Proclamation recognizes 50 years of contributions to the Bay Area

Houston Mayor Annise Parker officially declared July 7 as Lunar Rendezvous Festival 50th Anniversary Day in Houston, kicking off a busy month of events for the much-loved festival.

The proclamation, presented by Houston City Council members Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin, recognized the long-running festival for its continued contributions to the Clear Lake area.

The Lunar Rendezvous Festival originated following the opening of the Johnson Space Center, offering cultural amenities to aerospace families moving to the area and saluting man’s achievements in space, including the history-making 1965 rendezvous of Gemini VI and Gemini VII in space.

In the past 10 years alone, the Lunar Rendezvous Festival, a non-profit organization, has given back more than $1.5 million to the Bay Area Houston community. This year, $100,000 in college scholarships has already been awarded to deserving students, and another $80,000 will be awarded to local non-profits, with a focus on education, children’s causes, and cultural arts. Lunar Rendezvous Festival also founded the Bay Area Museum, which it continues to maintain.

Over the years, the festival has grown from a number of events taking place over a 10-day period to a series of events that now stretch over five or six months.

The festival typically includes a golf tournament, a tennis tournament, a 5-K run, a non-denominational Sunset Service, a dining night, a boat parade, a family fun night, a fashion show and a ball, along with a few other events, which are all open to the public. Thousands of volunteers have contributed to the success of the organization since 1965.

From the beginning, an important part of the festival is recognizing the community’s future leaders. Each year, local high school juniors are selected to participate in the festival based on their academic achievements and volunteer activities.

During the festival, these outstanding young men and women organize community service projects, take part in festival events, and are presented to the community at a Coronation Ball.

The proclamation was presented to Jill Williams, chairman of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival’s Advisory Board, and Michael Landolt, chairman of the festival’s Board of Directors. Also present for the proclamation were Advisory Board members Annette Dwyer and Teri Dieste; Mary Ann Shallberg, Gloria Wong and Kippy Caraway, who serve on the Board of Directors; Lunar Rendezvous Festival 2014-2015 Royals, Queen Allison Powell, Queen Alternate Demerle Monks and Captain Jack Mullen; and festival volunteers Justine Powell and Sara Mullen.

The festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout 2015. For more information about Lunar Rendezvous and upcoming events, go to www.lunarrendezvous.org

Royal Court to be presented at ball

July 1st, 2015

Dining Event Chairman Tisa Foster and Co-Chairman Tracy Clause plan to say “Cheers to 50 Years” at the buffet dinner at Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar Sunday, July 12.

Dining Event Chairman Tisa Foster and Co-Chairman Tracy Clause plan to say “Cheers to 50 Years” at the buffet dinner at Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar Sunday, July 12.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The biggest and most anticipated event of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival is always the Coronation Ball, which will be held Saturday, July 25, starting at 5 p.m. at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston.

Not only is a new queen crowned, a queen alternate is also introduced, and fathers and mothers get to step into the spotlight with their young princesses and lieutenants, little ladies in waiting and pages – an evening all will remember the rest of their lives. Elizabeth Olin is chairman of the 50th annual Coronation Ball with Katie Jones as co-chairman.

Court Co-Chairmen Melanie Lovuola and Kathie Panneton, who, incidentally, are not only long-time festival volunteers but also mothers of former festival queens, are looking forward to the vote by the royals, when one of the young women will be crowned 2016 queen, another queen alternate, and one of the young men will be elevated to the rank of captain. And, the youngsters will charm the audience.

Members of this year’s court and their parents are:

Sophie Marie Baillargeon, Gwen and Jacques Baillargeon; Amy Barnes, Karen and John Barnes; Grace Ann Binger, Carrie and John Binger; Bailey Mariue Breaux, Jeanne and Brent Breaux; Meaghan Elizabeth Bryan, Bernadette and John Bryan; Brooke Loren Camet, Sherry Camet and Michael Camet; Sabrina Alyse Carver, Jacqueline and James Carver; Madeline Elisa Castillo, Megan and Joseph Castillo; Alexis Christiansen, Pam and Toby Christiansen; Samantha Lee Cilento, Susan and Richard Cilento; Morgan Cook, Ronda and Randy Cook, Sadie Alise Crumbley, Karen and Russell Crumley; Briana Diaz, Toni and Frank Diaz;

Madison Ditta, Renee and Louis Ditta; Grace Elizabeth Ehmling, Kari and Lee Ehmling; Kelly Franklin, Tami and Scott Franklin; Halasi Frohling, Cyndi and Kyle Frohling; Caylin Jean Gibson, Angela and William Gibson; Jade Allison Graham, Leslie and Jerry Graham; Annie Hall, Leslie Hall and Jack Hall; Elizabeth Esther Hart, Sue and Jim Hart; Jessica Carol Hembree, Laurie and Mike Hembree; Jessica Lynn Hoff, Kimberly and Danny Hoff; Lillian Kristine Hromadka, Gina Rico and Paul Hromadka; Claire Elizabeth Hughes, Holly and Vance Hughes; Nicole Anne Kayser, Dawn and John Kayser;

Michelle Holland, left, and Debby Reichert are co-chairing the big 50th anniversary Lunar Rendezvous Fashion Show Tuesday, July 21 at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston.

Michelle Holland, left, and Debby Reichert are co-chairing the big 50th anniversary Lunar Rendezvous Fashion Show Tuesday, July 21 at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston.

Kaitlyn Shane Kimbrough and Taylor Lindsay Kimbrough, Robbie and Shane Kimbrough; Barrett Baker Langford, Amy and Gregg Langford; Bonnie Joy LeBlanc, Joy and Andy LeBlanc; Kalin Elizabeth LaPlace, Malin Scott LePlace; Emma Kathleen Lynch, Jeanne and William Lynch; Kaleigh Marie Lyon, Elizabeth Lyon and Scott Lyon and Stacy Davis; Nicole Anne Matthys, Barbara and Glenn Matthys; Mariska Valerie Mes, Brenda and Rudolf Mes; Jessica Michelle Monnett, Terri and Todd Monnett; Jerssica (???) Rose Nifong, Wendy and Craig Nifong; Grace O’Heeron, Angela and Pete O’Heeron; Susi Olano, Sofia and Juan Olano; Helen Claudine O’Sullivan, Joan and Rick O’Sullivan; Rachel Marie Pfeifer, Lisa and John Pfeifer;

Savannah Paige Reason and Sydney Peyton Reason; Jill and Dan Reason; Caroline Catherine Reed, Rosemary Reed and Steven and Marylyn Reed; Mari-Tate Roush, Stephany and Kenneth Roush; Audrey Sebald, Cindy and Mark Sebald;  Louisa Smitherman, Marijane and Barry Smitherman; Emily Marie Stelly, Pamela and Mark Stelly;  Madelyn Grace St. Germain, Kelly and Donnie St. Germain; Kathryn Audrey Tanzberger, Elizabeth and Eric Tanzberger; Haleigh Nicole Tieken, Lori and J. Derek Tieken;

Sophia Louise Tolman, Lisa and Cyrus Tolman; Nicole Tran, Kim and Joseph Tran; Grace Adams Turley, Lu Ann and Wendal Turley; Ali Watson, Dede and Paul Watson; Jenna Morgan Westall, Domineque and Eric Westall; Rayne Lea Williams, Brook and Forest Williams; Mary Claire Williamson, Melissa and Peter Williamson; Samantha Lynn Willis, Vicky and Willie Willis; Claire Wilson, Suzie Wilson and Mark Wilson; and Cassidy Diana Wolfer, Andie and Eric Wolfer.

The 2015 lieutenants and their parents are:

Gregory Scott Bookover, Michelle and Michael Brookover; Joseph Patrick Chuoke, Ellen and Joe Chuoke; Joseph Michael Corrao, Brandie and Joe Corrao; Tanner Coulson, Mandi and Kevin Rouhselang; John Patrick Culbertson, Cynthia and David Culbertson; Collin Anthony Davis, Katherine and Tony Davis; Zachary Bennett DeVries, Amanda and Chris DeVries; Ben LeBlanc, Joy and Andy LeBlanc;

Paxton Leboe, Sheri and David Leboe; Jonathan Paul Peck, Thu Hong and Gregory Peck; Kyle J., Ruszkowski, Stacey and Kevin Ruszkowski; Zachary Edward Schneider, Paula and Trey Schneider; John Sinor and Michael Sinor, Jenny and Mark Frantz and Keith and Rae Sinor; Hayden Carlisle Smith, Melanie and Carlisle Smith; Andrew Lee Sterling, Delinda and Michael Sterling; Evan Michael Walker, Michele and James Walker; and Zachary Clemons Walker, Stephanie and Gordon Walker.