Deck the Paws Parade at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

Deck the Paws Parade at the San Antonio Botanical Garden this Saturday December 5, 2020. Photo: San Antonio Botanical Garden.

Looking for something to do with your dogs this weekend? This Saturday, December 5 from 9a.m. to 12p.m. at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, (555 Funston Place) guests can enjoy the garden’s 38 acres of holiday blooms with their four-legged friends.  So, dress up your fur family in the best holiday attire and join the Deck the Paws Parade as winners from each category will receive a prize.  The event will feature dog vendors and food and drinks will be available for purchase for the humans accompanying the dogs.  Doggy dress up contest categories: Best Costume Overall, Best Dog/Owner, Best Puppy in Costume (for dogs 1 and under) and Best Duo Costume (for dogs with a matching theme). (San Antonio Botanical Garden, 2020)

The parade begins at 10a.m. by Mays Family Display Garden and goes around Greehey Lawn.  Doggy Dress Up Contest begins at 10:45a.m. at Greehey Lawn.  Cost: Included with Garden admission + $5 per leashed dog. Members enjoy free admission + $5 per leashed dog. Tickets are available online.

Dog guidelines: All dogs on-site must be current with appropriate shots and registrations. Dogs in heat or aggressive animals may be removed from the Garden at the discretion of management, no refunds.  No dogs will be allowed in the Garden after 12p.m. and all dogs must always be on a leash.  All dogs must remain on pathways. No dogs will be allowed at The Zachary Foundation Culinary Garden, Family Adventure Garden or Children’s Vegetable Garden.


Hopscotch gets ready for the holidays

Hopscotch lounge. Photo: Hopscotch, used with permission.

Hopscotch, the uniquely curated immersive art experience that opened earlier this year in downtown San Antonio, is preparing for the holidays with decorations, giveaways, new festive cocktails, a holiday brunch and more. From November 27, 2020 through January 3, 2021, guests are invited to make Hopscotch a part of their holiday festivities this season. (Hopscotch, 2020)

Hopscotch Holidays will feature unique trees, including a white 12-foot tree, four seven-foot rainbow trees and two seven-foot zebra trees. There will also be plenty of holiday photo opportunities throughout the space.

The gallery’s food and beverage program is getting into the holiday spirit with festive cocktails that guests can sip as they stroll through the installations. Hopscotch’s seasonal cocktails that will be available from December 4th through January 3, 2021 include: Velveteen Rabbit (Hot) – Mexican Hot Chocolate – Hot Chocolate, Cinnamon and Jalapeno Infused Espolon Tequila; Mistletoe Marg – Desert Door Sotol, Lime Juice and Agave with a Floater of Pom and a Pomegranate or Cranberry Garnish; Sweater Vest – Chai and Orange Infused Treaty Oak Old Fashioned Cocktail and Año Nuevo – Deep Eddy Vodka, Simple Syrup and Prosecco with Cranberry Garnish.

Hopscotch will also host its second 2020 Hangover Brunch on Sunday, December 13. Guests are invited to say goodbye to the present year and usher in 2021 with specials from Smack’s Chicken Shack and music from vinyl DJ Aaron Peña. Hopscotch is closing out 2020 in the giving spirit and will offer 21 days of giveaways on its Instagram starting December 4, 2020 and ending January 1, 2021. The 21 items will be announced daily, and winners will be selected starting December 11, 2020. 

Guests who want to do some holiday shopping can pick up a unique item at the gift shop and support local artists by purchasing items like one-of-a-kind Justin Parr glasses, Amada Miller sculptures and earrings, books and prints from Eva Marengo and Matt Tumlinson. Shoppers can also purchase a custom postcard from Gary Sweeney to send to friends and family this year. Proceeds from the sale of each postcard will benefit the San Antonio Food Bank. Hopscotch also has a range of other gifts and merchandise available for purchase, including gift cards to experience the gallery. Shoppers can visit the gift shop without purchasing admission into Hopscotch.

Hopscotch offers three-hour complimentary parking in the Travis Park Plaza Garage, making it an ideal starting point for guests to visit downtown San Antonio this holiday season. The Christmas tree in Travis Park is located directly across the street from Hopscotch and the San Antonio River Walk is only a few blocks away.

During the era of COVID-19, Hopscotch will be taking precautions to make sure the experience is safe for both staff and guests—including state of the art automated air decontamination systems, limited touch points, mandatory masks and temperature checks for guests and employees, HEPA HVAC filters, professional deep cleans, hand sanitizer stations throughout, limited venue hours and strict capacity limits. 

Hopscotch brings together artists in collaborative environments to create distinctive shared experiences. Co-founded by entrepreneurs Nicole Jensen and Hunter Inman, Hopscotch provides distinct experiences through the curation of local-centric, immersive, and experiential art. Hopscotch creates platforms for local, national and international artists to experiment with a wide spectrum of mediums and technology. Hopscotch’s aim is to elicit a sense of joy and wonder in the curated spaces, where guests may explore beyond their day to day reality. Hopscotch strongly believes in cultivating lasting relationships and a synergy with artists and the local communities they are in.

“It goes without saying that this has been a difficult year for most, so we wanted to offer an opportunity to bring joy to our guests and show our appreciation for our fans who have helped make Hopscotch a success. There is so much to see and do in Downtown San Antonio during the holiday season, and we are happy to add to that experience in our own safe way.” – Nicole Jensen, Hopscotch co-founder.


Garrison Brothers to release Hye Rye on National Repeal Day

Garrison Brothers’ first rye whiskey, Hye Rye. Photo: Garrison Brothers Distillery, used with permission.

Garrison Brothers Distillery recently announced the release of Hye Rye, the company’s first-ever rye whiskey. This limited-run, experimental expression is a 98-proof rye whiskey that pays homage to rye whiskey’s deep roots in American distilling history. (Garrison Brothers Distillery, 2020)

Hye Rye will be available exclusively at Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas, for $99.99 beginning December 5 —the 87th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in America and founder Dan Garrison’s birthday. Garrison Brothers will celebrate the release of Hye Rye with a drive-thru sealed bottle sales day at their distillery in Hye, Texas, on December 5. Gates open at 8a.m. and singer-songwriter Scooter Pearce will play her own blend of outlaw Americana and country-western music beginning at 11a.m. Purchase limit is two bottles per person. 

Rye, known as the “flavor grain,” yields spicy and savory notes that are unique amongst Garrison Brothers’ portfolio of ultra-premium, Texas-born bourbon whiskies. Where bourbons tend to be sweeter and smokier with hints of caramel, rye whiskey is spicier, with notes of pepper, grass, and grain. It has been distilled in America since the late 1700s.

For Garrison Brothers, the production of Hye Rye dates to 2012 when Master Distiller Donnis Todd sourced several hundred bags of organic rye from Justin Crownover’s Lonestar Family Farms in Sunray, Texas. His goal was to create a sweet mash bill of 52% South Texas corn and 37% organic rye. Todd aged the test barrels for two years, tasting them at six-month intervals to assess flavor development. Although he was initially pleased with the progress of Hye Rye’s aging, Todd wanted a more robust flavor profile, so he decided to mature the bourbon for five additional years. In the summer of 2015, Todd and his production team strategically placed fourteen barrels in rickhouses throughout the ranch to allow the flavors to evolve.

 “It’s an honor to create Garrison Brother’s first-ever rye whiskey. Although the quantity is limited, we are excited to hear what fans think of this experimental release.” – Master Distiller Donnis Todd

Garrison Brothers Distillery is a small farm and ranch located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country that authentically produces straight bourbon whiskey. Garrison Brothers introduced the first bourbon whiskey legally made in Texas in 2010 and is one of the first distilleries in America outside of Kentucky to produce authentic, handmade bourbon whiskey—and only bourbon whiskey. The business was founded in 2006. Garrison Brothers is a proud and active member of the communities of Blanco, Fredericksburg, Hye, Johnson City, and Stonewall. The distillery and its barrel barns are open to the public for tours in Hye, Texas.

Pearl announces holiday programming and curated gift boxes

Pearl’s December programming includes virtual Chanukah and Posada celebrations. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

This season, Pearl is thrilled to continue offering festive programming with a socially distant twist. The windows along Pearl Parkway will feature vibrant color-blocked holiday scenes and shoppers can stroll through the stores with extended hours or order uniquely curated holiday gift boxes to be picked up from Pearl Farmers Market Curbside. Traditional celebrations like Posada and Chanukah will feature virtual components to ensure a safe and memorable holiday season, and the Holiday Gift Market will allow shoppers to avoid crowded stores. (Pearl, 2020)

Holiday Gifting 4 Good – November 13 – December 10 – Pearl partners with United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County on their Holiday Gifting 4 Good fundraising program. Holiday shoppers can purchase specially curated gift packages from Pearl and other community partners online, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale supporting the nonprofit. Pearl’s package includes tasty treats and fun, food-themed products from Pearl’s restaurants and retailers, including Cured, Feliz Modern POP, Local Coffee Founders, Niche, The Tiny Finch, and Wildflower Caramel Co., all inside a custom Pearl tote. Proceeds from each purchase benefit these local businesses and United Way’s community programs.

Pearl Farmers Market Holiday Gift Boxes Order November 27 – December 15 for pick up or December 18 for shipping. Pearl Farmers Market Curbside debuts a variety of curated boxes filled with holiday gifts from regional producers and family farms that are perfect for gifting. Holiday shoppers can pre-order their products packaged in a beautiful, hand-printed Pearl gift box starting on November 27. Orders can be placed online.

Holiday Window ProgramNovember 25 – January 8 – Pearl’s inaugural holiday window program will debut on Wednesday, November 25 to transform Pearl Parkway into a festive holiday destination. Conceived by Ginger Diaz of Feliz Modern POP, the initiative is a collaboration with Pearl’s creative retailers to celebrate the holidays. As part of the window program, Pearl is partnering with Wide Awake Creative for a virtual Holiday Donation Station at the corner of Pearl Parkway and Avenue A benefiting SAY Si, the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund, and the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good Campaign.

Farmers Market: Holiday Edition Saturdays and Sundays, November 28 – December 20 – Starting Saturday, November 28, Pearl Farmers Market will welcome local artists and makers to participate in the weekend farmers market for the holiday season. Holiday shoppers can avoid overcrowded stores and support local artists each Saturday from 9a.m. to 1p.m. and each Sunday from 10a.m. to 2p.m. With over 16 local additional artisan vendors, shoppers are sure to find a unique gift for everyone on their list. 

Holiday StrollThursday, December 10 from 5p.m. to 8p.m. – Pearl is hosting a festive holiday shopping event on December 10 with extended retail hours, live music and restaurant specials. Shoppers can enjoy the holiday window displays on Pearl Parkway while listening to music from Los Callejeros de San Anto until 8p.m. 

Chanukah Menorah installed with lighting beginning on Thursday, December 10 – Pearl honors its sixth annual Chanukah Menorah lighting on Thursday, December 10 in partnership with Young & Jewish San Antonio. A special digital message from Rabbi Eli Block will be released on all Pearl social platforms to safely commemorate the start of Chanukah. While there will not be an on-site celebration, the Menorah will be lit and available to visit on the property. 

PosadaWednesday, December 16 – Traditionally, Posada has been a significant community gathering celebration where participants travel across Pearl property with a final celebration in Pearl Park. This year, Pearl will honor Posada with a special message from Father David Garcia filmed at the doors of Mission Concepcion. The video will be shared across Pearl social media platforms on December16. 

“Pearl during the holidays is always a special time. In addition to honoring some of our most cherished annual traditions like Chanukah and Posada, we are thrilled to debut our inaugural holiday window program along Pearl Parkway and the launch of our curated holiday boxes through Farmers Market Curbside.” –  Pearl Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Fauerso.

The Classic Theatre presents A Christmas Carol movie

The Geffen Playhouse production of A Christmas Carol. Photo: Chris Whitaker, used with permission.

The Classic Theatre and producer Hunter Arnold unofficially kicked off the holiday season early by announcing that a special filmed version of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic A Christmas Carol, starring one of the finest stage actors of our time – Tony Award® winner Jefferson Mays, will be released worldwide on Saturday, November 28. This streaming video event will benefit The Classic Theatre as well as other community, amateur, regional theaters across the country which have been devastated by the pandemic. Directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and Arden, and conceived by Arden and Tony Award nominee Dane Laffrey, the filmed version is based on the wildly acclaimed 2018 production which made its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse. The Classic Theatre San Antonio is a partner through a joint project between Arnold’s TBD Pictures, La Jolla Playhouse, and On The Stage.  Tickets for A Christmas Carol are now available to purchase online. (The Classic Theatre, 2020)

Experience A Christmas Carol unlike any other – past, present or future. The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge comes to thrilling new life as Jefferson Mays plays over 50 roles in a virtuosic, master class of a performance that must be seen to be believed. This theatrical achievement comes from the haunting vision of one of Broadway’s most imaginative directors, Michael Arden. Staged exclusively for this film and captured live with breathtaking clarity, this must-watch streaming event conjures the powerful spirits of Christmas and brings all the magic of live theatre home for the holidays.

A Christmas Carol was filmed at New York’s United Palace, chosen to preserve the power of the theatrical storytelling Mays and Arden have created. When it played the Geffen Playhouse in 2018, A Christmas Carol and was called “a stunning adaptation” by Jordan Riefe of The Hollywood Reporter, and “a tour-de-force performance” by Jefferson Mays. A Christmas Carol is produced by Hunter Arnold with George Bamber, Kayla Greenspan, Carl Daikeler, Roberto Quiroz Mata, and Tom Kirdahy serving as Executive Producers for the film. 

“Due to COVID-19, the country’s theaters have lost over 80% of their income, a number that is devastating to our community. These theaters, the work they produce, and the artists and workers they support are a fundamental part of our society. We must fight for their survival.” – Hunter Arnold

Garrison Brothers Distillery crowns best bartenders in Texas

Five San Antonio bartenders win title at this year’s Bourbon Brawl. Photo: Marshall Tidrick, used with permission.

Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas, announced this week that a team of five bartenders from San Antonio has won its 2020 Bourbon Brawl contest, a statewide bartender competition that ended last Thursday evening. Originally an in-person event, Bourbon Brawl 2020 was adapted to a COVID-safe format through a partnership with Sourced: Craft Cocktails. Sourced packaged and delivered kits of all five team’s cocktails to guests, which allowed them to participate in the final round by tuning-in, tasting each cocktail and casting their vote for the best. (Garrison Brothers Distillery, 2020)

Twenty-five bartenders, five each from Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston, were chosen to compete in the final round of the virtual competition. The San Antonio team is taking home a grand prize of $12,500 as well as the title of Bourbon Brawl 2020 Champions. The $12,500 prize is from a 501(c)3 public charity called Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, founded by the Garrison Family and their staff in 2018. The money will be split evenly between the five bartenders. San Antonio team members include Trinh Quan Huy-Philip, Gladys Estrada, Cruz Gutierrez, Michelle Stephenson, and Johnny Yumol.

In February 2020, contestants submitted a cocktail recipe to Garrison Brothers. A panel of drinks experts judged each cocktail blind and chose 75 bartenders to proceed to the next round. Each of the 75 bartenders’ venues featured their cocktail for two weeks, while the Garrison Brothers team visited each location to judge the cocktail along with the service. After that, they selected 25 mixologists to compete in the semi-finals, five from each major Texas city.

The five semi-finalists from each city collaborated to create one cocktail that represents their hometown. For San Antonio, it was the Alamo City cocktail that carried them to victory. This delightful combination of fresh watermelon juice, hand-squeezed lime juice, rosemary simple syrup, and Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon spoke to the rich history and vibrant culture of the city. Each city’s semi-finalists were then invited to Austin for the Finals event on November 19, where only select Garrison Brothers staff were in attendance.

In further efforts to keep Bourbon Brawl 2020 COVID-safe, Garrison Brothers partnered with Sourced Craft Cocktails, a cocktail curation and delivery service, to create custom cocktail kits available for purchase and delivery in each major city. Those who purchased a cocktail kit were able to follow along with every cocktail made in the final competition, then cast their vote for the winner. 

Garrison Brothers Distillery is a small farm and ranch located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country that authentically produces straight bourbon whiskey. Garrison Brothers introduced the first bourbon whiskey legally made in Texas in 2010 and is one the first distilleries in America outside of Kentucky to produce authentic, handmade bourbon whiskey. The distillery and its barrel barns are open to the public for tours in Hye, Texas

Funds of Good Bourbon for a Good Cause are distributed to charitable organizations in Blanco and Gillespie counties of Texas and to charitable organizations that serve current and former American military personnel nationwide. The types of charitable causes that are supported include, but are not limited to organizations that help current or former American military veterans and their families and organizations dedicated to conserving and preserving nature, wildlife, green spaces, or historical landmarks and historical sites. To date, the nonprofit organization has raised and contributed close to $500,000.

New release: ‘Ready Player Two’ by Ernest Cline

‘Ready Player Two’ by Ernest Cline is now available everywhere books are sold. Photo: amazon

Ernest Cline is an internationally best-selling science fiction novelist, screenwriter, and poet. He is the author of the novels “Ready Player One” and “Armada” and co-screenwriter of the film adaptation of “Ready Player One,” directed by Steven Spielberg. His books have been published in over fifty countries and have spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list. His new novel, “Ready Player Two,” the highly anticipated sequel to the worldwide bestseller “Ready Player One,” is out today, Tuesday, November 24, 2020. It takes readers on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through Ernest Cline’s beloved virtual universe, and jolts them thrillingly into the future once again.

In “Ready Player Two,” days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest—a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Whataburger holiday inflatables and gifts

Whataburger holiday yard ornaments. Photo: Whataburger, used with permission.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and for anyone already shopping for good deals, Whataburger has new holiday items and the ‘Whataweek of Deals’. (Whataburger, 2020)

Whataburger is bringing some big holiday cheer this year, with the Table Tent Inflatable and yard ornaments created by Houston-based company, Holiball, who will be featured on Shark Tank on December 4. These festive decorations are perfect for letting neighbors know the answer to the age-old question: “What’s your favorite burger place?” 

Some of the new holiday gifts include a new holiday sweater, nutcracker and Snowbaby, just to name a few.

Whataburger’s Whataweek of Deals includes:
• Monday, November 23 – 20% off Snowbaby and free shipping sitewide with code “20SNOWBABY”​
• Wednesday, November 25 – 20% off all apparel and free shipping sitewide with code “20APPAREL”​
• Friday, November 27 – Holiball yard ornaments available and buy more, save more with code “HOLIBALL”  (buy 2, get $10 off; buy 3, get $15 off; buy 4, get $20 off)
• Monday, November 30 – Table Tent Inflatables available with $10 off and free shipping sitewide​

Whataburger has been making burgers since 1950 when Harman Dobson opened a humble hamburger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He wanted customers to take one bite and say, “What a burger” so he named his stand on Ayers St “Whataburger.” Whataburger now has over 800 locations across the country and continues to deliver fresh, made to order meals every day with superior customer service.  Community support includes charitable giving and volunteerism to nonprofit organizations that focus on children’s charities, cancer research, hunger assistance, disaster relief and military support.

San Antonio Magazine announces new leadership

Kathie Anderson is San Antonio Magazine’s new publisher. Photo: San Antonio Magazine, used with permission.

San Antonio Magazine (SAM), the 15-year-old city and lifestyle monthly, announces Kathie Anderson as publisher and Kathleen Petty as editor-in-chief. Rebecca Fontenot Cord, former publisher and editor-in-chief remains involved as editorial director of the magazine’s parent company, Open Sky Media. (San Antonio Magazine, 2020)

Kathie Anderson and her family recently returned to San Antonio after living in Tampa, Florida, for four years. While in Florida, Kathie worked in media and as a Realtor. Before moving to Tampa, she resided in San Antonio, where she worked at KENS-5 before joining San Antonio Magazine as associate publisher. Both outlets gave her the opportunity to assist businesses, clients and organizations in elevating their impact within the market via media exposure. Her expertise and passion are customizing marketing approaches utilizing multiple channels, such as digital, print and events. She also keeps keen watch on ever-changing market trends and quickly adapts strategy to optimize results.  

Kathleen Petty joined the San Antonio Magazine staff as associate editor in 2012, progressing through department ranks to executive editor. She seeks out stories and reports on everything from arts and culture to major city issues. She also manages freelance writers and has contributed to the direction and execution of each issue. Prior to moving to San Antonio, Petty worked as a general assignment reporter and then as a government writer for the Midland Reporter-Telegram. She also has freelanced for publications in Texas and Colorado. Petty earned a news-editorial journalism degree from Texas Christian University’s Schieffer College of Communication. She is originally from Colorado but has called Texas home since 2004.

San Antonio Magazine examines a city at the intersection of old and new, celebrating its dynamic culture, rich heritage and collaborative spirit of a community building toward the future. Since it began publishing in 2005, San Antonio Magazine has been connecting readers with the best of the city and inspiring locals to engage with the city in new ways. It is part of Open Sky Media, which also publishes Austin Monthly, Austin Home and Texas Music.

Sweet Paris Crêperie and Café launches Holiday for Hunger

The Grinch crêpe at Sweet Paris. Photo: Sweet Paris, Used with permission.

Sweet Paris Crêperie and Café, located on Main Street at The Shops at La Cantera – 15900 La Cantera Parkway, across from Grimaldi’s and two doors down from Sur la Table, is launching Holiday for Hunger.  A portion of proceeds from two holiday crêpes, the Turkey Cran Brie and The Grinch, will benefit the San Antonio Food Bank and Culinaria. (Sweet Paris, 2020)

The Turkey Cran crêpe features roasted turkey, brie cheese, bacon, spinach and fresh cranberry sauce, garnished with walnuts and dried cranberries for $10.95; and The Grinch crêpe is a savory combination of sweet cream cheese, strawberries, red and green M&M’s, and dulce de leche in a grinchy green batter for $9.95. A portion of proceeds from these crepes sold from November 27 through December 23 will benefit the San Antonio Food Bank and Culinaria. To participate, guests must say “Holiday for Hunger” when ordering.  Sweet Paris business hours are 11a.m. to 8p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6p.m., Sunday.

The San Antonio Food Bank fights hunger and feeds hope in 16-counties and serves 58,000 individuals a week in one of the largest service areas in Texas. Sweet Paris shares the belief that no child should go to bed hungry and regularly aids the San Antonio Food Bank’s Kid’s Café and Backpack programs and believes that without awareness of a problem, people cannot take action to remedy it.

Culinaria promotes San Antonio as a premier food and wine destination. The organization supports local dining establishments through its Emergency Relief Fund and scholarships through its Endowment fund with the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.