From the desk of Jody Bailey Newman, Chief Friend:
San Antonio, I used to be in like with you…..
For over the past 10 years, SATX has been where I’ve lived. I always liked San Antonio. I met the love of my life here. We found Southtown here. Our two rambunctious children were born here. San Antonio is where my husband received the greatest second chance of his life. I have lived, laughed and cried here. I became a strong, empowering female entrepreneur right here. I’ve always liked San Antonio.
And then…. I became Fiesta Cornyation’s Queen Anchovy I. What a completely different view point to see the city I’ve liked. I was floored when they asked. My husband as King Anchovy seemed to make all the sense in the world. He is fair, always persevered and was the face or some might say “the beard” of our operation. Ray Chavez wanted me too. I didn’t understand why? But he did and I’m so glad he did. Ray succeeded in giving me the greatest view point of the best of San Antonio. As Queen Anchovy I, I asked many of our friends and business colleagues to join me in fundraising for San Antonio’s AIDS related charities. So overwhelmed by the response, I am getting teary eyed just thinking of it. Tim Campion of GLI was my first call, followed by lawyer Andy Tiwari of Tiwari and Bell. I was two for two! William Germany of Bayne Snell and Brian Salmon of Baby Vison said yes too. John Barrera a member of our Royal Court, asked his broker Kuper Sothebys and they said yes. Then John matched the donation. We were off to an amazing start. So many friends, I cannot mention you all but, you’re huge to me. Being Queen Anchovy I allowed me to see all the generosity that surrounds me. Fiesta Cornyation forced me to pick up my head from work and see my world, San Antonio. “We are honored you asked us” said Katie Reynolds of Silver Eagle Distributing. I still get chills when I think about that phone call. I called Rey Chavez right away, he giggled.
3 fundraisers followed. I was amazed. So many supported the cause by participating, having fun and donating their dollars. And then there was the hours of skit practice many weeks before Fiesta began. Elaine Wolf wrote our skit and Agosto Cuellar was designing both were volunteers. The Royal Court was a true list of characters: Jake Dady, Andrew Goodman, Lara Fisher, John Barrera, Polo Gutierrez, Bob Rodriguez, Hugh Dashbach, Allison Dudley and Mike Looney. All these folks volunteered countless hours to prepare. Fiesta began and it was Anchovy appearance time. Steve and I attended over 30 Fiesta events. All the while, we prepared for the big shows, all 6 of them.
At the Fiesta events, we met so many San Antonians. I was amazed at the excitement and wonder of fiesta-goers. It was fun. Our community is so vibrant and diverse, during Fiesta there is something for everyone. I smiled with so many, took pictures and learned so much. We toured San Antonio AIDS Foundation. It was humbling and uplifting at the same time. The staff and patients hugged and kissed us like we we’re royalty, even though we were invented. The SAAF staff are true angels walking this earth. We wanted to do right by them. We wanted to give them money. They are such trustworthy stewards of SAAF donations.
During the 3 days of Fiesta Cornyation, I met the hundreds of volunteers. All in costume, I might add. Some I knew, Chad Carey as the dancing, thong wearing HEB bag. But, many I didn’t. I was instantly enthralled with Cher. I loved her, it was love at first lip-synch “It’s a womans’ world” and Cher belted it out. I love you Tony. I laughed so hard I cried. Dennis Rodman and “The Big Bang” ruined my caked on make-up all three shows. Dancing with Boy Scouts made my crown famously “krunk” every single show. Yeah, I said krunk. Thursday night brought a drum line dance between the two shows that was worthy of my New Orleans roots. I danced, sang, chatted and jello shot-ted with dozens of the loyal Fiesta Cornyation volunteers. I hugged Ray Chavez and smiled at Elaine Wolf so many times in that 72 hours, I can’t even count. I kissed my Royal Court and held hands with King Anchovy. The audience waived, shouted and clapped with us. What a ball, how amazing you all are. Your joy was my joy. My view of it all was amazing. I remember so many details of those 3 days, I am laughing just writing this.
We raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause. Fiesta Cornyation’s Board handed out the checks at The Friendly Spot. The smiles were from ear to ear. Beat AIDS, SAAF and the Rehm Scholarship Participants deserve our support. In that moment, I realized that I don’t just like San Antonio, I love San Antonio. The generosity, the humor, the people, fiesta and Ray Chavez. I love San Antonio, its my home!