Society / Featured Parties

River Oaks Drive-Through Birthday Party Draws Alex Bregman, Jeff Bagwell and More For a Very Special Bday Girl

There is No Party Like a Drive-By Parade Party

BY // 04.23.20

As far as Sheridan Williams knew, her late-April birthday celebration in the time of COVID-19 was set to be a Zoom cocktail party with friends, as had been arranged by BFF Laura Sweeney (yes, the top residential real estate diva of Compass). Out of the loop on the virtual bash, Williams’ daughter, interior designer Kristen Nix, and Williams’ husband, John Eddie Williams (yes, the John Eddie Williams of tobacco lawyer and Baylor football fame), were making their own plans.

The timing of the two celebrations collided, and something had to give. Goodbye, Zoom (Sweeney claimed her Zoomer was down). Hello, birthday surprise — a birthday drive-by.

This is one of the clever party ideas burning up social media in this season of social distancing. More than four dozen guests received Paperlesspost invitations to join the parade of well-wishers, which came as a surprise to the birthday girl. About half made the drive-by, while others who were out of town sent their greetings via text and email.

The plan was for pals to drive through the front gate, wave at Sheridan, and, receive birthday cupcakes as you exited.

Hoots, hollers, cheers, and honking horns resounded through the front drive as guests holding signs, streaming balloons, and offering good wishes consumed far more than the mere half-hour allotted for the drive-through. Sheridan sat on a gilded armchair flanked by a massive heart-shaped balloon ensemble receiving guests in photo-perfect splendor.

Anne and Dr. Jim Muntz — medical team physician for the Houston Rockets and Houston Astros, and team internal medicine physician for the Houston Texans — arrived with the top down on their convertible and shimmied two bright pink umbrellas as they did a mini second-line parade around the drive.

Soraya and Mr. H-E-B Scott McClelland pulled in to offer salutations through the car windows, as did beauty entrepreneur and powerhouse investor  Janet Gurwitch with beau Ron Franklin, a partner with McGuire Woods. Rachel and Jeff Bagwell pulled through for a few minutes of cheerful chatter from a distance. Laura Sweeney and daughter, Juliette were among those passing through as did designer Randy Powers.

This scribe and my husband, architect and professor Shafik Rifaat, had loaded up a shopping bag with scores of fresh gardenias and tossed them Mardi Gras style from the back of his VW beetle convertible as we maneuvered the drive.

Later to arrive was Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and his fiancé, Reagan Howard with a “Happy Birthday Sheridan” sign on the side of their vehicle. You might recall that the Williamses were generous six-figure donors to Bregman’s fundraising campaign for the Houston Food Bank. He quipped with the handful of guests that he had already surpassed his original $1 million goal and was now working toward $2 million and beyond.

The family enjoyed  margaritas from Club No Minors and taste treats from El Patio, the Tex-Mex fare and margaritas were sent over by Cynthia and Bucky Allshouse, family law attorney, who were unable to make the drive-through.

After all was said and done, Sheridan declared it one of her best birthdays ever.

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