Three days before Mardi Gras, the good times were rolling at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. The second annual Krewe de Kidds masquerade ball, benefiting Kidd's Kids, was in full Fat Tuesday mode by sundown Saturday.
Hundreds of guests gathered at the Uptown hotel March 2 to support the Dallas-based organization that grants wishes and creates memories for families of children with life-altering and life-threatening conditions. Started by beloved late DJ Kidd Kraddick, the Kidd's Kids mantle has been taken up by his daughter, Caroline Kraddick. In addition to having a successful singing career, she holds the title of CEO and Chief Happiness Officer for the organization.
Krewe de Kidds specifically benefits Kidd's Kids Teen Trip, a chance for deserving teens and their families to go to Walt Disney World — an initiative Caroline launched after her dad's unexpected death in 2013. Afton Gordeuk and Brenda Fox were the event co-chairs.
When they arrived, patrons — donning required masquerade masks — mixed and mingled at a cocktail reception and got the first chance to peruse fabulous silent auction items. Among them: jewelry, retail and entertainment packages, art, gift cards, and even blowout appointments from Toni&Guy (one of the night's sponsors).
When the ballroom doors opened, guests streamed into a room that had been made Mardi Gras-fabulous. One particularly genius decorating touch? Colorful balloons, strung together to look like Mardi Gras beads, draped over the stage backdrop.
Guests sat down to a multicourse dinner of New Orleans-inspired cuisine, while the servers expertly kept the wine poured and the bars around the room continued to mix cocktails.
Caroline Kraddick, the host for the evening, welcomed everyone from the stage and introduced the event's honorary co-chairs, Erica and Jay McGraw. Jay's father, TV's "Dr. Phil" McGraw, and Kidd Kraddick had been very close friends, he said, adding, "Erica and I are so honored to return to Dallas to support Caroline in carrying on the legacy of her dad."
In the most touching moment of the night, the Teen Trip ambassador family, the Rodriguez family, shared their story and announced through happy tears that son Michael had recently been declared cancer free.
Kidd Kraddick's former morning show colleagues from 106.1 KISS-FM — Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, Jenna Owens, and "Big Al" Mack — took the stage to introduce the most coveted live auction item of the night, a chance for four people to go as special guests on the Kidd's Kids Trip in November 2019. Bidding was competitive, but it yielded an impressive $8,000. Trips to Napa and Nashville went for big bucks, too.
Any great Mardi Gras parade has a krewe, and this event was no exception. Local celebrities who helped spread the word and raise funds ahead of the night were introduced as "Caroline's Krewe:" Jenny Anchondo, Buddy and Grayson DiFonzo, Steve Kemble, Garrett Lemmons, Isaac Padilla, Madison Patrylick, Amy Vanderoef, and Alison Volk. Lemmons, who had helped raise the most money, was (literally) crowed the King of the Krewe and had the honor of leading a First Line-style dance line while the band played "When the Saints Go Marching In."
And with that, the after-dinner party began. Caroline Kraddick took the stage first for a special performance that included an impressive rendition of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Then the dance floor filled and the band Random Axis kept the party moving and grooving.
There was one last treat the end the night on — baskets of fresh, hot, New Orleans-style beignets, covered in powdered sugar, were brought to the tables for a final sweet bite.
Spotted in the crowd, having a great time throughout the night, were Clintin Hines, Candace Hines, Chad Collom, Kelly Kemp, Logan May, Daniel Veale, Nellie Dunn, Jennifer Carlson, Jodie Hoffman, Peter Hoffman, Ericka Garza, Craig Coffy, Clay Dover, Kinsey Chavez, Mike Kotzot, Liz Dauwe, Philip Dauwe, Hannah Faris, Taylor Edridge, Katie Brewer, Mike Fiorentino, Nichole Fiorentino, Kala Arevalo, Jose Arevalo, Christopher Rensink, Aileen Rensink, Carolyn Marks, Christine Ashmore, Kim Horner, and Ali Daubert.