Thirty eight large sheet cakes, 3,000 servings of custard, over 3,200 hot dogs and countless bubbles were all a part of the fun on Saturday night at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
In honor of the museum’s fiftieth anniversary, residents of the 109 and Fort Worth were invited to a fun-filled, free celebration called 50 Fest. Outside on the plaza, guests were treated to food, drinks and the toe-tapping music of two Austin-based bands.
As news of the event spread, crowds gathered outside the museum grounds an hour before the planned 5:30 p.m. opening. Museum officials saw the crowd was sufficiently large enough to warrant starting the party off early at 5 and opened the gates.
Hot dogs, chips anniversary cake and Curly’s Frozen Custard were offered to guests. In addition to refreshments, there were hula-hoops and bubbles for more outdoor fun. Photo booths were inside and guests posed for a souvenir of the celebration.
The Marshall Ford Swing Band kicked off the celebration. The quartet played upbeat western swing, guitar stylings and vocals. They were followed by the award-winning Del Castillo, a six-man band combining eclectic Latin rock, flamenco and blues with both Spanish and English vocals.
Ruth Carter Stevenson, the guiding force behind the development of the Amon Carter, sat at the entrance of the museum eating cake and custard just like anyone else.
Inside the museum, visitors voted on their favorite Amon Carter–themed confection designed by four local pastry chefs. The winning cake was a miniature replica of the museum, submitted by Jamie Holder of Crème De La Crème Cake Company. She and two co-workers spent 88 to 100 hours creating a cake-sized version of the museum. There were even hand-painted little replicas of some of the museum’s more popular art work on the winning cake.
The extended gallery hours for 50 Fest (until 9 p.m.) allowed families plenty of time to visit all their favorite Amon Carter artworks. Special art-exploration guides were created for adults and children to use while inside the galleries, and docents were stationed throughout the entire museum with big red “ASK ME” buttons.
Of special note were three watercolor drawings by Georgia O’Keeffe in the museum’s “The Allure of Paper” Exhibition. These drawings are so sensitive to light that once the exhibit is over they will be sealed in a vault and will be unavailable for viewing for ten to fifteen years.
Andrew Walker, the Amon Carter Museum director, could not have been happier seeing the large crowd of families. The exact attendance numbers for the night are not known at this point, Walker said. But, entrance numbers passed the 2,000 mark around 7 p.m. Attendance overall has increased for the museum this year by about 15 percent.
“For an institution like the Amon Carter that has been a vibrant part of Fort Worth culture for five decades, throwing a party for the whole town seems a fitting tribute during our 50th year,” Walker said. “I am looking forward to the next 50 years as we become not only Fort Worth’s art museum but one of America’s greatest.”
If you missed the party, don’t worry. The Amon Carter is celebrating its 50th Anniversary throughout 2011 with outstanding exhibitions and public programs and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays thru Saturdays, Thursdays until 8 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is always free.