Culture / Newsy

Houston’s Growing List of Coronavirus Cancellations — James Beard Award Winning Chef’s Beloved Fundraiser, River Oaks Tennis Tourney and Many More

The Nonprofit World is on Hold

BY // 03.12.20

While nonprofits across Houston are pondering what to do about events scheduled through the end of the month, one major food event has been canceled due to the coronavirus threat. Chef Chris Shepherd announced this morning that his Southern Smoke Spring fundraiser, scheduled for March 28, has been called off.

“This was a heartbreaking decision for us to make,” Shepherd said in a statement, “as we know food and beverage employees will need the support of Southern Smoke more than ever in the coming weeks and months.”

Indeed, cancellation of Shepherd’s two-tiered, spring counterpart to his fall Southern Smoke barbecue fundraising fête, will mean a loss of at least that night’s wages to the cooks, wait staff, valet parkers and others that have been working for months to make the night a successful reality for their industry.

“Our hope, as always, is to be ready to support those in the industry in crisis who are unable to work due to illness, natural disasters or other catastrophic events that render them unable to earn a living,” Shepherd stated.  Houston’s robust culinary community soldiers on, and we hope that you will continue to patronize local bars and restaurants.”

He adds that full or partial refunds and more information are available at

PaperCity has also announced the postponement of Texas Design Week, which had been scheduled for March 23 to March 30.

“We have postponed Texas Design Week Houston and PaperCity Design Awards until May due to coronavirus concerns,” PaperCity editor-in-chief Holly Moore says. “New dates will be announced soon. The PaperCity Design Awards continues to accept entries until April 20.”

The major ladies charitable luncheons of spring are falling victim to the virus as well. The Houston Chronicle Best Dressed Luncheon and Neiman Marcus Fashion Presentation benefiting the March of Dimes, scheduled for March 25, is postponed with rescheduling in May or early June, new date to be determined. Hermann Park Conservancy’s Hats in the Park luncheon that had been scheduled for March 26 is cancelled. The outdoor event will not be rescheduled due to Houston’s late spring and summer heat. However, the conservancy’s Evening in the Park is still on schedule for April 24.

With cancellation of the entire River Oaks Country Club’s Men’s Clay Court Championship, the popular Tennis Tournament luncheon and Tootsies fashion show, which is not until April 8 show, is still on, tentatively.

The Bayou City Arts Festival, scheduled for March 27 to March 29 at Memorial Park, has also been postponed. Houston’s Tour de France bike ride, scheduled for this Sunday, has been canceled. The Japan Festival, which wasn’t scheduled to take place until May 2 and 3 in Hermann Park, also already has been postponed.

Houston Children’s Charity has, following the example set by others according to executive director Laura Ward,  canceled its Mach 27 gala, meaning the loss of an expected $2 million in revenue.

Levy Park has suspended all programming through March 31. The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival, planned for April 4 and 5, is also a no go.

The Alley Theatre has cancelled all events through March 31 with events after that date scheduled to go on as planned (for now). Houston Ballet has postponed its performances through March 22. The Houston Symphony is cancelling all remaining concerts for the month of March.

Thursday night, Cirque du Soleil announced cancellation of performances of its show ALEGRIA until April 12.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership has cancelled all activities through April 1. That includes pontoon boat tours, volunteer event, Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern tours, Tai Chi Tuesdays and walking  tours.

Of course, the shuttering of the entire Houston Rodeo started this rolling wave of cancellations in many respects.

While other nonprofits are still considering a course of action, you can expect to see many more cancellations and postponements. Stay tuned.

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