I had a tough decision to make for September 18: start teaching my fall tablescaping classes or participate in the Kansas City American Royal’s Tablescapes Preview Party organized by the BOTARs (Belles of the American Royal). The tablescape event is a relatively new addition to the many activities associated with the annual 8-week American Royal, a Kansas City staple since 1899 that revolves around livestock, agriculture, and Kansas City world-famous barbecue. (Don’t let that description fool you…there’s a WHOLE LOTTA ritzy stuff goin’ on over those 8 weeks, including an Arabian Horse Show, the UPHA National Championship, a Wine Competition/Tasting/Auction, and a very swanky fundraising ball.) The preview party precedes the luncheon held the following day.
Anyhooooooooo, teaching won…sort of. I opted to create a country western/cowboy-themed tablescape right here in honor of the 113-year American Royal tradition as a part of the teaching experience. (Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)
I wanted to include as many natural and rustic elements as possible, so I chose to leave part of the wood table exposed beneath the layered denim and red bandanna table linens. Because the events of the American Royal are both “shabby” and “chic”, the bandanna fabric is allowed to stylishly puddle to the floor.
Each place setting starts with a natural grapevine wreath as a charger. A plain white round Corelle plate is the anchor piece of the dishes, followed by a Pier 1 navy blue square salad plate set on the diagonal, and topped off with a home-on-the-range-type brick red casserole from Home Goods. The Hampton Silversmith “Patriot – Mirror” flatware is given a rustic look with a simple bit of twine tied around it. The menus, printed on “Wanted poster paper” from Hobby Lobby, were created on my home computer.
Plain ol’ Mason jars serve as drinking glasses for the sarsaparilla on the menu. The place cards are created from menu paper remnants. I punched holes in each side, slipped a length of twine through the paper and then through holes in the horseshoes (TSC), tying them off in the back.
I had a lot of fun creating the centerpiece! Miniature hay bales act as risers. Super cool resin boots from Hobby Lobby serve as vases for roses dotted with blackbeard wheat. That’s where shabby meets chic once again. The boots are embellished with authentic spurs from Tractor Supply Company (TSC). Other centerpiece elements include rustic cast iron stars, a miniature “lasso”, and a few six-shooters.
“Well, where were the napkins?” you ask. Right there on the chairs tied around the straw cowboy hat favors!
The buffet behind the dining table is all ready for lots of western-style grub like Kansas City’s famous barbecue slathered in sauce. (I’m partial to smoky sweet taste Fiorella’s Jack Stack sauce, but debating that with folks around here will get you nowhere! :-)) Elements of hay bales, horse shoes, and twine are carried over to the buffet area. Food markers are created using more scraps of the “Wanted poster paper” used for the menus and place cards. A larger set of resin boots from Hobby Lobby filled with blackbeard wheat are placed on each end. Last, but never least, is “Cecil” who is one of our four personal butlers. 🙂 Cecil wanted to get in on the fun, so he added a bolo tie and black cowboy hat to his usually prim & proper uniform.
Extra cowboy hats are displayed on the sconce shelves.
My famous wooden horse has another chance to join the party! I am so grateful to my young friend, Chelsea Hudson from Pittsburg, KS, who so graciously lent her childhood saddle, a horse bit, a lasso (and other items that my citified self can’t identify! :-)) to me. These accessories successfully turned my horse (that I have used for Derby, carousel, R.A. Long Historical Society, and “looking a gift horse in the mouth” tablescaping) into a real rough and rowdy character!
My husband came home with a surprise for me: Texas longhorn cattle horns all polished up and wrapped in leather! Wow! These were on display in his late father’s home for a long time, and Ramon remembered they had been stored away. To soften the very masculine look of these massive horns, I added a raised bale of straw flanked by (faux) roses in tree bark-covered vases.
Those of you who have visited in the past are probably familiar with Geoffrey, our majordomo. Geoffrey never, ever misses a chance to play dress up, so he donned his dopey cowpoke hat and bandanna.
Some people call Kansas City a “cow town” like that’s a bad thing. Whatever! Have you seen the price of beef, leather and dairy products? Sounds like a gold mine to me! And that’s what the American Royal is all about: all the good things that constitute farming, agriculture, livestock, cowboy (and cowgirl!) fun, world-famous barbecue, posh events (why else would I wear a screamin’ red gown like this one?!!?) and, of course, the beef industry right here in good ol’ Kansas City, Mo.!
Maybe next year I can postpone classes until after the tablescape event at the American Royal! 🙂
Other posts on this site with a horse theme:
“Kentucky Derby Buffet”
“Derby Day Dining”
“Run for the Roses” (scroll down the page to the end)
I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!“, The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m sure there are tons of fabulous tables you would just love to see out there!!!