Culture / Cars

$8 Million Home, 100-year-old Cognac, Roaring Ferraris and a Mermaid Make for Unforgettable Houston Night

This Ferrari Festival Kickoff is More Than a Tease

BY // 11.27.19
photography Courtesy Brightcatch Media

Let’s face it. It’s just so damn cool to own a Ferrari. Just ask the high-cylinder clique that recently rolled into Al Ross’ latest luxury home. The 10,900 square foot mansion on Memorial Drive with a mix of Miami and Los Angeles vibes was an ideal setting for the annual Ferrari Festival kickoff. The ample parking court was filled with the ridiculously shiny, growling Italian works of automotive art.

Hosted by Ferrari of Houston and Ferrari of The Woodlands, the swank party was prelude to this Sunday’s Ferrari Festival in River Oaks District. This free-to-the-public confab will feature dozens of Ferraris in all of the brand’s racy and racing incarnations.

Leading the pack will be jeweler Franco Valobra, who founded the festival a dozen years ago, and has since placed it in the hands of Ferrari of Houston and Risi Competizione. But he is still very much on the scene. With the 2019 event, the festival continues its mission of supporting Texas Children’s Cancer Hospital.

Ferrari Festival Kick-off
The Al Ross luxury home, setting for the Ferrari Festival kickoff, featured a mermaid in blazing Ferrari red sequins. (Photo by Chris Bachman)

Valobra was one of the many Ferrari owners who roared into the fab dwelling last week to pick up their registration materials, grab their festival caps, polo shirts and license frames and pick up a copy of the collector’s festival magazine. And then there was the tasting of 100-year-old Louis XIII cognac ($3,500 a bottle), compliments of Rémy Martin.

Touring the beautifully crafted and furnished home, interior design by Ben Johnston, was part of the entertainment. But none could have been more intriguing than the sleek auto showroom (please, do not call it a garage) where two dazzling specimen of Italy’s finest automobiles were on display. Would you prefer the blue Portofino on the right or the red GTC4 Lusso on the left?

Captivating in addition to the magnificent cars was the mermaid, costumed in Ferrari-red sequins, who was perched on the side of the swimming pool. (If you had arrived early enough, you would have seen her being carried from her dressing room to poolside because, as we know, mermaids cannot walk.)

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PC Seen: Tony Nevotti, Ferrari of Houston general manager; Ferrari of The Woodlands store manager Paul Frame; “car girl” Diane Caplan; luxury home builder Al Ross; sales agents with Compass Nadia Ross and DeeDee Guggenheim Howes; designer Benjamin Johnston; artist Cara Moves; architectural designer J.D. Bartell; Tina Tosian, Sonic Ali, and Ballard Infante.

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