Wick’s Dish

Written by Wicker Van Orsdel

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ur early spring was a tough act to follow, but luckily, summer hasn’t disappointed! I hope you’ve been out there taking advantage of the opportunities for conviviality and hoopla that abound this time of year. Here are a few “Wick’s Dish Awards” for some activities and recent events that I consider outstanding.

1. Best Place to Wear a Red Dress: Des Moines Metro Opera’s gem of a Ruby Ball. The Scottish Rite Consistory was a glorious backdrop for an operatic jewel of an evening orchestrated by Karol Nickell and Michael Egel. In celebration of the opera company’s 40th season and in tribute to founder Robert Larsen, arias flowed like wine.

2. Best Venue for an Event: World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. I have had the pleasure of attending several functions at this beautifully restored treasure, most recently the Life in Flowers Patron Party to benefit the new Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Several in the flower-loving community competed to create the best (or worst) arrangement. Joan Burke and Larry Kirsner offered many tips and much encouragement, but clearly, I had no flower power—the men routed the ladies! Taking home top honors were Phoukham Baccam, Mike Simonson and Toby Joseph. (I did get to sing “Happy Birthday” to John Ruan III and use my best flower joke: What do you call a country where the people drive only pink cars? A pink carnation!)

3. Best Event to Volunteer: Principal Charity Classic at Glen Oaks Country Club. Even if you aren’t a golfer, you would love the fun and energy of being one of more than 1,200 volunteers all along the course, plus you get to wear those cool purple shirts. An invitation from Julie Stewart for the Prairie Meadows skybox provides you with a much-coveted location on the 18th green, and it’s the best place to be during the champion rounds and trophy presentations.

4. Best Place to Unwind at Week’s End: Gray’s Lake. What a great way to celebrate TGIF!  Fridays, grab your buddies and your lounge chair and head to the pavilion at the south end of Gray’s Lake for the UnWINEd event. Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing in a bucolic setting while listening to music from the likes of Brian Congdon, Brad Seidenfeld and the Sonny Humbucker Band? With wine from Jasper Winery, plus Madhouse beer, great food and free live music, what’s not to love?

5. Best Place to See Chic Power at Work: Smart Talk Series with “An Evening with Marie Osmond.” I couldn’t believe the confluence of ladies—of every size, shape and age—swarming into the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. My friend Inge Sears and I enjoyed Marie’s fascinating, inspiring and engaging life stories. I had no idea she had such a magnetic presence. I will definitely get tickets for the entire series next year.

As of this issue’s press deadline, I am looking forward to many exciting events on our horizon, such as Blank Park Zoo’s African Safari Gala, Zoobilation, Sept. 12 (sounds like a great opportunity for my favorite animal print). Come learn what a “chukkar” is Aug. 25 at Variety—The Children’s Charity’s elegant outdoor event, Polo on the Green, and have a roaring good time at the Salisbury House & Gardens Gatsby Gala Sept 7.  So turn off the electronics, head outdoors and update your Facebook status to: “Too busy being out and about to post!”

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