Parade of Playhouses

One of the playhouses on display at NorthPark Mall at the Parade of Playhouses last year, benefitting Dallas CASA.

Here at CandysDirt, we write about all kinds of houses. Today, we want to tell you about a few very special houses that help abused and neglected kids, some of the most vulnerable members of our human family.

Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses, which features imaginative and creative playhouses on display in NorthPark Center, will be open daily during mall hours July 15 to 31. The playhouses are created and donated to Dallas CASA by local designers, architects, and builders. They are available to win by raffle at the end of the event. All proceeds from raffle benefit abused and neglected children served by Dallas CASA.

“The playhouses represent our hope for abused and neglected children in Dallas,” said Kathleen M. LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president. “Some children dream of having their very own fantasy playhouses, but abused children dream of having safe and lasting homes. We want all children to grow up in loving and permanent homes. Sadly, two out of five abused children in protective care in Dallas County do not have CASA volunteer advocates. We look forward to the day when we have enough volunteers for each child to have an advocate.”


One of the playhouses on display at NorthPark Mall at the Parade of Playhouses, benefitting Dallas CASA. Photo: XXX

One of the playhouses last summer in the Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark Center. Photos: Kristina Bowman

We write about a lot of houses here at CandysDirt, the places where we make our memories, build our families, and have fun.

Today, we’re looking at some very special houses that directly benefit vulnerable children in foster care.

The 20th anniversary Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark Center is an enjoyable, family-friendly event held every summer. It benefits Dallas CASA, an organization of community volunteers trained and appointed to advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children in foster care locally.

Generous corporations, organizations, and individuals will design, build, and donate extraordinary children’s playhouses to raise funds so Dallas CASA can provide more volunteer advocates to help abused children have safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.

This 20th-anniversary of Parade of Playhouses is a reminder that all children deserve to be protected and loved,” said Kersten Rettig, Director of Development for Dallas CASA. “While some children dream of having their very own fantasy playhouse, others dream of having a safe, stable home filled by those they love and who love them—this event really helps all of those dreams come true.”


Lakewood RE/MAX realtors collected 45 bicycles for Wilkinson Center. Photo courtesy of Ken Lampton.

As part of a holiday philanthropy project, two Lakewood RE/MAX agents organized a drive this month to collect children’s bicycles for The Wilkinson Center.

Barbara Reeves and Lee Dirickson, realtors at RE/MAX DFW Associates, collected 45 bicycles, helmets, and bike locks from other Lakewood RE/MAX agents and their business associates, and a Wilkinson representative picked them up last week.

“We are so grateful for the large donation of bikes and helmets from RE/MAX DFW Associates,” said Melanie Myers, President of The Wilkinson Center, which is a leading poverty rescue and prevention agency for the working poor, serving over 14,000 people annually, mainly in East and Southeast Dallas. “This donation will bring joy to the families served by Wilkinson Center and reflects the true spirit of the holidays.”

The Wilkinson Center will distribute the donated bicycles to qualified low-income families so their children can have a brighter Christmas.

“I’ve lived in this area and been in the real estate business for 40 years, and have known about the Wilkinson Center for years,” said Reeves. “I think everybody remembers their first bike and how you learned to ride it, that little stroke of independence and you turned around and mom or dad wasn’t holding on and you were just flying on your own.”

The Lakewood office of RE/MAX DFW Associates serves Lakewood, the M Streets, Lake Highlands, and other East Dallas neighborhoods.



As I think I’ve made clear, I am tired of talk that luxury is dead. This happens, you see, every single time we have an economic downturn. Luxury items get blamed for the shenanigans of the few who screwed it up for all of us, as they sail on down to South America, chanting, let them drink Bud. Then we have to go on and hide all out purchases in plain brown bags just like we did when we were first married. I say luxury is very much alive, it’s just a whole lot quieter.

Well, now I have proof that this is economic cyclical BS. I have been writing a story — a print story, mind you — on the Crescent’s 25th birthday. (Happy Birthday, Dallas Crescent!) If any of you lived in Dallas in 1986, and I did, you may recall the bash to end all bashes to celebrate the Crescent’s grand opening. It was totally over the top, as you might expect. But in reading Marilyn Schwartz’s column from that night, I just had to laugh. Read it for a good chuckle at how, back then, we were putting luxury on hold, re-wearing dresses, and people were finally going to SCALE BACK for once and for all. Really.

If you cannot get in, here are a few plumb quotes:

“The party in Giant was something that Texans had never seen before. The Friday night party in Dallas was something we may never see again. This well could mark the end of an era — the last of the really big Texas parties.”

Give me a break. I was on straight Lane the other day and they were taking down a platform and sound system for a two year old’s birthday party.

“For some time now, major corporations have been notifying charity ball committees that they can no longer underwrite lavish charity events. Some balll committees are even talking about re-using last year’s decorations with a new coat of paint.”

That was called recycling. Dresses, too: some women at the party even confessed their frocks were not brand new.

And finally, the icing:

“It’s not that social observers think that Texas will never again host a party where a roller-skating extravaganza will entertain at one end while an intimate trio plays Cole Porter at another. But they won’t be doing it for 3,700 guests anymore. People are just scaling down.”

Really? Scaling down, as in houses, really? This was in 1986!

“At the party in the movie Giant, they were talking about the noveau riche. At the party at the new Crescent, they were talking about the noveau poor.”