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Best of Fort Bend 2016


best-of

2016 Best of Fort Bend

Annual recognition of Fort Bend County’s champions of
community, shopping, dining and more!

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SLCAF PRESS

BEST CULTURAL ARTS GALASUGAR LAND CULTURAL ARTS FOUNDATION 2016 GALA

Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation and Classic Chevrolet held the 2016 Founders Ball at Safari Texas in January. The theme BIG WIGS ensured a night of entertainment, with Inspiration Stage providing a Broadway-inspired musical performance. SLCAF uses the proceeds to fund improvements to the Sugar Land Auditor­ium and the arts in Sugar Land.

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fort bend boys choir galal event

BEST SOUNDS OF HOLLYWOODFORT BEND BOYS CHOIR

On Feb. 6, the award-winning Tour Choir of the Fort Bend Boys Choir filled Safari Texas with a Hollywood musical themed gala, the proceeds of which support the choir’s music programs. Festivities included a delicious buffet meal and auctions that included sporting event packages, weekend trips, handmade items and more.

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6th annual sugar land home & garden show

BEST HOME & GARDEN SHOWSUGAR LAND HOME & GARDEN SHOW

This two-day January event is always a must for homeowners interested in modifying their homes, indoors and out. Experts provided the right product or guidance about appliances, sunrooms, countertops, technology, gardening, color consultations and numerous other topics.

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Simone Manuel and Steven López on the steps of City Hall.

Simone Manuel and Steven López on the steps of City Hall.

BEST WELCOME HOMESIMONE MANUEL AND STEVEN LÓPEZ

Olympians Simone Manuel and Steven López were welcomed home in August by hundreds of people in Sugar Land Town Square. The two athletes competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Manuel, 20, garnered worldwide fame when she won gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle and the 4 x 100 meter medley, and silver in the 50 meter freestyle and the 4×100 meter freestyle relay.

López is a two-time gold medal winner and competed in his fifth Olympics in Rio at age 37. He is also the winner of five world championships and holds the distinction of being the most decorated athlete in taekwondo history.

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tfj2397

BEST RAW JUICETEXAS FRESH JUICE

Fans say, “The best Raw juice in Texas! My favorite is the almond milk and the health shots.” and “All of the juices tasted great and helped me recover from a cold. Had a soccer game next morning after my juice cleanse and I felt so light and full of energy. Can’t wait for my next order. Good job, Texas Fresh Juice.”

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The Color Guard at the Boots & Badges gala.

The Color Guard at the Boots & Badges gala.

BEST FIRST RESPONDER FUNDRAISERBOOT AND BADGES GALA

Attendees of this annual event sponsored by Behind the Badge Charities and title sponsor Motorola enjoyed dinner catered by Safari Texas, music, dancing and fabulous live and silent auctions at the George Ranch Historical Park on Feb. 13. Proceeds aid Fort Bend County first responders with grants to individual public safety officers who suffer injury, serious illness or emergencies that traditional insurance or other assistance do not cover. Behind the Badge also provides academic scholarships to children and dependents of qualified public safety officers, dedicated in memory of first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty. More than $300,000 has been awarded through financial aid and scholarship programs.

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(L-R): Shereen Sampson, Claire Rogers, Merritt Peele, Jessica Avery, Rose Nurre and Dottie Allen.

(L-R): Shereen Sampson, Claire Rogers, Merritt Peele, Jessica Avery, Rose Nurre and Dottie Allen.

BEST 1930S SPEAKEASY VIBELONE STAR STOMP

The Fort Bend County Museum Association brought its theme, “Texas’ Most Wanted,” to life at its annual Lone Star Stomp with a speakeasy vibe that reflected the wilder aspects of the times, including that Bonnie and Clyde are tied to Fort Bend County: they were at the Eagle Café in Rosenberg a few months before they were killed in 1934. The theme was a play on words to remind Texas residents that they are WANTED to support the biggest fundraiser for the Association. Roland and Judy Adamson served as honorary chairs; they completely support the Museum Association’s mission to educate our children about Fort Bend County’s rich history and the significant role it played in Texas history.

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2016 Underwriters star in Bollywood Nights: (front row seated, l-r): Gala Co-Chair Jamie Fairchild, Carol Voelkel-United Healthcare, Mike Siwierka-Perdue Brandon Field Collins & Mott, LLP and Vijay Bhuchar;  (back row): Lina Sabouni-AUTOARCH Architects, Gala Co-Chair Terri Wang, Ray Aguilar-Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, Ron Holleyhead-Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Jaqueline Preston-Kelsey–Seybold Clinic, Austin Roncancio-Fresh Air LP, Ron Bailey-PBK Architects, Inc. and Sonal Bhuchar.

2016 Underwriters star in Bollywood Nights: (front row seated, l-r): Gala Co-Chair Jamie Fairchild, Carol Voelkel-United Healthcare, Mike Siwierka-Perdue Brandon Field Collins & Mott, LLP and Vijay Bhuchar;  (back row): Lina Sabouni-AUTOARCH Architects, Gala Co-Chair Terri Wang, Ray Aguilar-Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land, Ron Holleyhead-Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Jaqueline Preston-Kelsey–Seybold Clinic, Austin Roncancio-Fresh Air LP, Ron Bailey-PBK Architects, Inc. and Sonal Bhuchar.

BEST OF BOLLYWOODBOLLYWOOD NIGHTS GALA

This Fort Bend Education Foun­dation’s sylized event took attendees dressed in beautiful and bejeweled saris on a fantastic journey of attending the Bollywood Filmfare Award. Dancing, dining and a silent and live auction were part of the March event with international flair in support of education.

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Volunteers ensure Fort Bend Cares Road Trip Through the Wild Wild West comes off without a hitch.

Volunteers ensure Fort Bend Cares Road Trip Through the Wild Wild West comes off without a hitch.

BEST ROAD TRIP FUNDRAISERROAD TRIP THROUGH THE WEST

Fort Bend Cares’ annual Road Trip through the Wild Wild West was successful once again. Melissa Wilson emceed the Feb. 6 event, with a live auction, great entertainment and a trick roping performance. The charitable foundation has raised nearly $1.4 million over the last 11 years to support nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged children and youth in our area.

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Youth inPhilanthropy students display their collaborative paintings, each representative of a different manifestation of autism.

Youth inPhilanthropy students display their collaborative paintings, each representative of a different manifestation of autism.

BEST AUTISM LUNCHEONHOPE FOR THREE AUTISM ADVOCATES LUNCHEON IN FEBRUARY

“Pasta-bilities and Ausome Art” was the annual Hope for Three Autism Advocates luncheon in February. The event lets the community learn about autism and how to help Hope For Three with its mission of supporting children and raising funds and awareness. The art auction featured paintings created by high school students participating in the George Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy program.

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Sugarland-WINE

BEST TIMES FOR WINE AND FOOD CONNOISSEURSSUGAR LAND WINE & FOOD AFFAIR

More than 2,600 bottles of wine were poured, tasted and paired at this culinary event that is now attracting more than 10,000 lovers of food and wine annually. The five days of notable events had top chefs sharing secrets, sommeliers getting uncorked and all manner of foodies indulging in fantastic fare, sensational spirits and some of the finest wines around. Signature events included the VIP Kickoff Dinner, On the Rocks Bartenders Challenge, wine and spirit seminars, the Grand Tasting, Sip & Stroll at Imperial and the Bistro Brunch in the Sugar Land Town Square. Proceeds support a permanent scholarship endowment for students entering the hospitality industry at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

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FB Junior Service League_Final_WEB

BEST DAY AT THE DERBY – FBJSL SPRING FLING

With the Kentucky Derby shown live, the Fort Bend Junior Service League’s fundraiser included a wine and bourbon pull, a live auction, a raffle and a chance to pick the winner of the Derby. In its 15 years, the volunteer organization has raised over $3.4 million for local Fort Bend nonprofits. This year, it will use some of the funds to improve its infrastructure. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the FBJSL Community Assistance Fund, which provides multiple smaller grants to local charitable organizations.

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childrens-book-week

BEST WAY TO WELCOME NEWBORNS CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK

To start every child born in hospitals in the county on a road to life-long learning, Fort Bend County Libraries continued its tradition in celebration of Children’s Book Week by giving a special baby book bag that included a book and a special certificate. The library system is committed to providing library services for county residents throughout their lives, beginning at birth.

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bowls-3

BEST SIMPLE MEALEMPTY BOWLS

Community members gathered in April for the annual Fort Bend Empty Bowls at Safari Texas Ranch, which raised over $104,000 for East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry programs. Guests were served a simple bowl of soup and bread, donated by 11 local area restaurants, to remember those in our community who often do not have enough to eat. Funds raised from Empty Bowls go to benefit the Ministry’s food pantry and financial assistance program.

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Teen Board members, (back row, l-r): Will Haase, Dylan Alexander, Naveen Jain; (front row): Gregory Freeman, Richard Freeman, Rachel Vanderzyl, Sydney Bynes, Rachel Wang, Audrey Vanderzyl, Jason Rodriguez, Blake Jameson and Kristen Li.

Teen Board members, (back row, l-r): Will Haase, Dylan Alexander, Naveen Jain; (front row): Gregory Freeman, Richard Freeman, Rachel Vanderzyl, Sydney Bynes, Rachel Wang, Audrey Vanderzyl, Jason Rodriguez, Blake Jameson and Kristen Li.

BEST HOMAGE TO A YOUNG BOYGRANT-A-STARR FOUNDATION FAMILY FUN RUN

Grant Starr was a boy when he lost his life to an undefined virus. In memory of his life, 500+ participants came out on a chilly April morning to pack the racecourse. Checks in the amount of $25,000 were presented to both Texas Children’s Hospital and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. One hundred percent of funds raised support projects dedicated to the development of rapid diagnostic testing.

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(L-R): ECSL President Kevin Barker, Jan Poscovsky, auction committee member, and Rod White, spaghetti dinner chairman.

(L-R): ECSL President Kevin Barker, Jan Poscovsky, auction committee member, and Rod White, spaghetti dinner chairman.

BEST PASTA OVERLOADEXCHANGE CLUB SPAGHETTI COOK-OFF

Once again the Exchange Club of Sugar Land’s family friendly carb-fest pitted law enforcement agencies and fire departments against each other to win the spaghetti sauce cook-off trophy. A live auction offered trips, dinners, a hunting adventure and more. Each year more than $100,000 is raised for local nonprofit groups, including Child Advocates of Fort Bend, Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Texana Center for Autistic Children, Fort Bend Council on Substance Abuse, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, Crime Stoppers, YMCA, DePelchin, Literacy Council of Fort Bend and The ESCAPE Family Resource Center.

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A sample of vendors making their Sugar Plum Market debut this year include (top row): Follow Your Arrow Boutique and Pinkies Up; (bottom row): Nested Sanctuary, Burlebo, and Dirt & Glitter Boutique.

A sample of vendors making their Sugar Plum Market debut this year include (top row): Follow Your Arrow Boutique and Pinkies Up; (bottom row): Nested Sanctuary, Burlebo, and Dirt & Glitter Boutique.

THE BEST IN SHOPPINGSUGAR PLUM MARKET

The Sugar Plum Market has raised over $1.9 million for numerous Fort Bend County nonprofit organizations since 2001. Previous grants have contributed to educational programs, food pan­tries, assistance for women and children, literacy programs and other needs. The 16th annual market in November, presented by the Fort Bend Junior Service League and Memorial Hermann, focused its “Making Spirits Bright” theme on the organizations that have benefited from these grants through the years. One of those nonprofits is The Arc of Fort Bend, which among other things, boasts the largest Special Olympics program in the area. Funds from prior Sugar Plum Market events have afforded many athletes the opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics and other area tournaments.

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Inspiration Stage performs while the audience members light up their cell phones in appreciation.

Inspiration Stage performs while the audience members light up their cell phones in appreciation.

BEST PLACE TO WIG OUTSLCAF BIG WIGS EVENT

The Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation’s gala on Jan. 23 honored Don and the late Merle Smithers for their years of service. Guests at the event were encouraged to wear wigs, and they were entertained with musical performances by SLCAF’s tenant, Inspiration Stage, which performed songs from the musicals Hairspray and Hair. A live auction raised a record $80,000 for SLCAF programming.

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(Front row, l-r): Dana Clement, 2015-2016 FBJSL president; Terri Stuart, Rosenberg Railroad Museum; Caroline Bordelon, Hope for Three; and Laura Taylor, 2015-2016 president-elect; (middle row): Lucia Street, ACHIEVE Fort Bend; Diana Clark, Rosenberg-Richmond Helping Hands; and Sherwin Sun, Habitat for Humanity; (back row): Mike McCordic, TW Davis YMCA and Matt Salazar, TW Davis YMCA.

(Front row, l-r): Dana Clement, 2015-2016 FBJSL president; Terri Stuart, Rosenberg Railroad Museum; Caroline Bordelon, Hope for Three; and Laura Taylor, 2015-2016 president-elect; (middle row): Lucia Street, ACHIEVE Fort Bend; Diana Clark, Rosenberg-Richmond Helping Hands; and Sherwin Sun, Habitat for Humanity; (back row): Mike McCordic, TW Davis YMCA and Matt Salazar, TW Davis YMCA.

BEST AWARDS TO FORT BEND AGENCIESFBJSL COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE FUND

The Fort Bend Junior Service League Community Assistance Fund allows it to extend financial support to local community organizations. In 2016, it awarded seven CAF grants to deserving agencies for a total of $34,000: ACHIEVE Fort Bend, Habitat for Humanity, Rosenberg-Richmond Helping Hands, Hope for Three, Rosenberg Railroad Museum, Parks Youth Ranch and TW Davis YMCA.

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Artwork by Alice Zhong, “Western Boot.”

Artwork by Alice Zhong, “Western Boot.”

MOST ARTISTIC MONTHFBISD YOUTH ART MONTH IN MARCH

Fort Bend ISD recognized talented student artists in March by providing students with various opportunities to showcase their artwork, including at area museums and businesses, as part of the “Art-Around-Town” project. FBISD student artists Kara Moats, Kylie Pham and Alice Zhong had their artwork featured on District employee birthday cards sent from Super­intendent Dr. Charles Dupre.

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BEST BIKE RIDE THAT BENEFITS LITERACYBIKE THE BEND FOR LITERACY

This Literacy Council of Fort Bend County ride took place Jan. 10 with scenic distances of 20, 35 or 62 miles. Many bikers took the opportunity to prepare for the BP MS150; some just enjoyed the scenery and spending time getting some exercise, all the while making a difference by working to end illiteracy in Fort Bend County.

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Members of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra. Photo-COLEMAN LOCKE

Members of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra. Photo-COLEMAN LOCKE

BEST VIENNESE BALLFBSO FIRST PERFORMANCE OF 2016

On Feb. 21, The Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra created an afternoon of culture and romance designed to transport the audience to Vienna during one of its most glamorous time periods. Music director Dominique Røyem created a program showcasing the finest of the classic German composers, while including a few modern American favorites.

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briargate elementary students receive bikes

BEST FUN GIFT FOR STUDENT LEADERSACADEMY GIFT TO BRIARGATE ELEMENTARY STUDENTS

Thirty students at Briargate Elementary School deservingly received bicycles for their outstanding character and leadership skills from a local Academy store. Each year, Academy reaches out to elementary schools and donates bikes to deserving students.

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Freya is “pawsitively” proud to be Spokesdog for Fort Bend Cares Doggone Fun Run. (Photo - Robbin Mallett)

Freya is “pawsitively” proud to be Spokesdog for Fort Bend Cares Doggone Fun Run. (Photo – Robbin Mallett)

BEST SPOKESDOGDOGGONE FUN RUN

Fort Bend Cares and its event sponsors had another successful fun run in April, raising funds to support nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged children in Fort Bend County and this year for Fort Bend Pets Alive. Event Spokesdog, Freya, was adopted from Sugar Land Animal Services in 2013 by Sarah and Russell Black. At first fearful, Freya is now a social butterfly.

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Members of the Kempner High School basketball team volunteered at the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry.

Members of the Kempner High School basketball team volunteered at the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry.

BEST THANKSGIVING GIFT BY A STUDENT BASKETBALL TEAMKEMPNER BASKETBALL TEAM

The Kempner High School Cougars basketball team spent time during their Thanksgiving holiday helping the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry feed families during its annual Thanksgiving food drive. The Kempner team helped provide Thanksgiving meals to more than 300 families this year.

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(L-R): Kelli Metzenthin, Executive Director, Literacy Council of Fort Bend County; Helen Bow; Congressman Pete Olson and Nancy Olson; and Gena Horak.

(L-R): Kelli Metzenthin, Executive Director, Literacy Council of Fort Bend County; Helen Bow; Congressman Pete Olson and Nancy Olson; and Gena Horak.

BEST LITERARY PARTYREADING BETWEEN THE WINES

Could raising money for literacy be any more fun? Live music, wine, food tastes from local chefs and restaurants, auction items, a cash raffle, plus New York Times best-selling author, Mary Karr, were the highlights of Reading between the Wines held at Safari Texas Ranch on April 1.

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BEST FBCA FUNDRAISERCRUISIN’ THROUGH THE ‘60S, BE SWANKY BE THERE

Fort Bend Christian Academy’s dinner, dance, and costume party in February gave its 300 guests – families, friends, and supporters ­­– an evening of dancing to the great music tunes of the decade and a fabulous dinner. More than $180,000 was raised through online, silent and live auctions.

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child-advocates

BEST HOME TOUR25TH ANNUAL CASA HOME TOUR

This annual event in December gives guests an opportunity to see inside area homes that are beautifully decorated for Christmas and to support Child Advocates of Fort Bend. New for this 25th anniversary tour were homes in Telfair and Belknap. Proceeds from the Christmas Home Tour help Child Advocates of Fort Bend advocate for the needs of abused and neglected children in this community. Through its two programs, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), the agency touches the lives of more than 400 young victims each month.

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CAFB staffers with CEO Ruthanne Mefford (back row, second from far right) preview their attire for the 2016 Superhero Ball.

CAFB staffers with CEO Ruthanne Mefford (back row, second from far right) preview their attire for the 2016 Superhero Ball.

BEST SUPERHERO BALLCHILD ADVOCATES OF FORT BEND GALA

The ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square was filled with action heroes and those in suits and ball gowns for this supernatural, super fun evening that celebrated 25 years of making a difference. Funds raised go to CAFB’s belief that every child deserves a safe and healthy childhood and its mission to help children and families affected by child abuse.

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Architectural rendering of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center at Imperial Market.

Architectural rendering of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center at Imperial Market.

BEST MUSEUM OPENINGFORT BEND CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY CENTER

A nearly decade-long dream came to life with the May opening of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, a special project of the Children’s Museum of Houston. Housed at Imperial Market, its mission is to provide innovative child-centered learning for children from birth to 12 years. The museum raised more than $4 million from individuals, foundations and corporations in Fort Bend County.


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