It might have been the swan song for the annual "Don't Stop Believin'" holiday bash but there were no signs of subdued nostalgia at the 10th and final jingle bell rock. Close to 700 revelers, a few elves and Santas among them, crowded into Jackson's Watering Hole and the adjacent party tent to send this fundraiser off in style.
While DJ Senega provided the tunes that kept them dancing all night long, the entertainment took this party to grand finale levels. The Houston Texans Bull Pen Pep Band drum line made a noisy appearance while Transformer Optimus Prime, Superhero the Incredible Hulk, a fire twirler and the Don't Stop Believin' dancers kept the party scene rocking into the wee morning hours. And as is tradition, the infamous Santa Claz photo couch was available with Buddy the Elf making the scene.
While DJ Senega provided tunes that kept them dancing all night long, the entertainment took this party to grand finale levels.
While this was curtains for "Don't Stop Believin'," the group's annual "A Night in Havana" will continue as the group of 14 young professionals who organize the charitable fundraiser are opting to continue the summer bash. Each year, the gents gather to select a charity as beneficiary of the party night and for 2013, Young Texans Against Cancer will reap the proceeds. Since its founding, the event has raised more than $200,000 for charity. Not bad when considering that the funds are entirely voluntary donations.
Santa hats off to philanthropic gents that are part of this team — John Andell, David de Roode, James Easterling, Tony Essalih, James Gietz, Matt Harris, Jon Paul Hull, Cory Krueger, Anil Mahendra, John McAleer, Curtis Willeford, Lee Willeford, Dusty Wilkerson and James Zafereo.
As Andell said in his email the morning after the party, "I have to say that it feels pretty surreal to look back on 10 years of Don't Stop Believin' Christmas parties to realize that the last party has been thrown! All of us have all had so many memories, have had so much fun, and have made so many (eh em) 'questionable' decisions over the years all in the name of charity."
He added, "The summer Event 'A Night in Havana' will continue on . . . but for the Christmas event? To all a good night . . . but remember . . . Don't ever Stop Believin'."