Houston is in full swing again! Literally! The Astros are in the World Series and giving the whole city something to be thankful for, giving us hope. Once again the whole city is pulling together just like we did during Harvey. The rebuilding is still continuing, and the city is coming out of the bubble of disaster in which we have been living and having fun once again. Fun with loving hearts.

Last week, La Marque held its annual Bayou Fest at Highland Bayou Park. Mayor Bobby Hocking said, “We couldn’t see having a huge festival and have 20,000 people partying and not be doing something for Hurricane Harvey survivors.

One organization that you couldn’t miss if you were anywhere in Galveston County immediately after Hurricane Harvey was Lighthouse Charities. Team members fed people in shelters and at the distribution center; they fed first responders and they fed displaced families. So I called them and asked if they’d like to be the benefactors of Bayou Fest.

The Bayou Fest has been going on several years before Mayor Hocking was elected in 2011 but when he came on the scene he decided to ramp up the festival. “Coming from a musician’s background, I wanted to bring in big musicians.” Hocking said. “We brought in a lot of barbecue teams by raising the prize money to $10,000. We started with five cookers and 12 spots. This year we had 105 cooks and we started off the music with Pee Wee Bowen, and then had a great show with Mark Chesnutt and then Kevin Fowler really brought the house down.”

With corporate sponsors, the festival was able to raise about $62,000. And, during the Kevin Fowler show, Scott Gordon, president of Lighthouse Charities, got a call from Mercury One, which is an organization started by Glenn Beck. In its mission statement, it says that Mercury One isn’t an ordinary organization.

“Mercury One stands to restore the human spirit” and, among other things, “to provide aid to those in crisis through faith, courage, through hope and love through charity.” During the phone call, Mercury One committed to matching any money raised during the Bayou Fest! So the donation to Lighthouse Charities will be over $120,000.

Lighthouse Charities’ next big venture will be to serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast to Hurricane Harvey victims, most of whom are displaced in hotels without kitchen facilities.

Another great thing that happened during the festival was a little side venture by Kevin Fowler. Mayor Hocking said: “He arrived and asked if he could borrow a truck for a little while and disappeared. It was discovered later that he had gone to Dickinson to bless a flooded family with $10,000. No press, no fanfare, just a really good guy!”

I know he didn’t ask for any press or fanfare, but I think Kevin Fowler fans would be happy to hear of his good heart!

Also last week, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo NASA/Clear Creek/Friendswood Metro Go Texan Committee put on a “Ghost and Goblins Who Cook” event. The Halloween-themed costume party was at the Johnny Arolfo Civic Center.

Event Coordinator David Gambino did a great job this year with the theme and getting the event organized with the help of his cohort Sunnie Byerly and all of the committee. He stated committee members outdid themselves, “especially with all of the ghostly decorations and Sunnie Byerly was invaluable at organizing all of the chefs.”

He also said: “Michele Walker, Ronda Cook, Elena Richards, Becky and Neil Arunyan and many others did a great job transforming the room into a haunted venue. Guests were treated with some amazing food, did a little dancing and raised some money for scholarships because that’s what it’s all about.” One of the most fun things at the event was ghosts and goblins and witches seated among the partygoers at their tables adding to the spooky night.

Also at the old courthouse in Galveston a ‘20s themed gala took place. It was it was a sneak peek at the upcoming Galveston County Museum scheduled to open in January. Partygoers dressed in gorgeous fringe and fur were treated to a tour of the exhibits showcasing the rich history of Galveston County, from the Karankawa Indians to the pirate era.

The gorgeous new museum is the replacement for a facility that was destroyed in Hurricane Ike and has yet to reopened. Jennifer Wyckoff, director and curator of the museum, said the new home of the museum was made possible by Galveston County Judge Mark Henry. And we were honored to have him here celebrating with us. “The night featured beautiful singer Kelly Williams who is so talented and so much fun to watch. Many people actually attended both of the dress-up events. The giveaway was the big group of people attending the HLSR event in ‘20s costumes.

A Listers were Gene Hollier, Emmeline Dodd, 2017 Miss Kemah Stephanie Ludwig, District Attorney Jack Roady, Former County Judge Ray Holbrook, Kemah City Councilwomen Teresa Evans and Robin Collins, WCID #12 board member Terri Gale, Carolyn Combs, Kemah KCDC board member Kelly Dawson, photographers Eddie Harper and Cheyenne Sprouts, Kelly and Paul Williams and Kelly’s parents, Paul and Sheila Speed.

Ange Mertens’ column, The A List, covers society and charity events in North Galveston County.

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