Gala benefiting the Tyler Rose Museum celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Texas Rose Festival

As the new year began, preparations began for Tyler’s historic Texas Rose Festival.

The longstanding tradition turns 90 and the community gathered at Willow Brook Country Club on Thursday night to celebrate the anniversary at the annual Winter Gala gala.

Texas Rose Festival President Ron Schönbrun said the gala serves as a special occasion for the community to support the Tyler Rose Museum, which preserves the history of Tyler and Smith County’s involvement in the rose industry.

“We live in a large community and the Tyler Rose Museum showcases our city with people from all over the country coming every year to see the beauty of Tyler and his friendly people and our connection to roses,” Schönbrun said.

He added that people are always in awe of Tyler after they visit during the rose festival season.

“I’m proud when people admire Tyler,” he said. “The Tyler Rose Museum and the Texas Rose Festival exist and thrive because of and thanks to you (donors and supporters). These are two extremely important organizations in our community. It’s part of who we are and we should all celebrate our beautiful and legendary identities while continuing to support them.”

In addition, the gala concert is a time to celebrate the court and all those who put in the effort to make the festival happen every year. Details for this year’s festival were announced on Thursday evening, including the queen, court and theme.

Laura Elaine Bryan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Arnold Bryan, will be the queen of the festival.

“To be chosen as the 2023 Rose Queen is a huge honor… I am thrilled to represent the Texas Rose Festival and the city of Tyler,” said Bryan. “I will do my best to make both of them very proud.”

Conley Jeanette Patricia Cavender, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Courtney Cavender, was announced as the festival’s princess.

Other court members announced Thursday night include:


  • Miss Lauren Nicole Bell, daughter of Mr and Mrs Brian Joseph Bell
  • Miss Mary Ella Burlison, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Scott Alan Burlison
  • Miss Macy Brian Drury, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Ransome Drury
  • Miss Sarah Elizabeth Frederick, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Wayne Frederick
  • Miss Grace Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Russell Gordon.
  • Miss Charlotte Lynn Hackney, daughter of Mr and Mrs Joel Marshall Hackney.
  • Miss Katherine Sue Jordan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Scott Jordan.
  • Miss Sarah Karen Jordan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Scott Jordan.
  • Miss Celeste Isabella Lay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Todd Alan Lay
  • Miss Millie Ann Martin, daughter of Mr and Mrs Michael William Martin Jr.
  • Miss Emma Elise Schuermann, daughter of Mrs Rebecca Meads and Mr Niles Laborde.
  • Miss Olivia Louise Patterson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Greg Patterson.
  • Miss Molly Ann Sherrell, daughter of Mr and Mrs Jonathan H. Sherrell
  • Miss Katherine Carroll Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory L. Smith.
  • Miss Emily Caitlin Wilson, daughter of the Hon and Mrs Robert H. Wilson

Queen’s Servants

  • Miss Raleigh Louise Brookshire, daughter of Miss Caroline Meads Brookshire and Mr. Trent D. Brookshire.
  • Miss Caitlin Clark Hampe, daughter of Mr and Mrs Clark Carl Hampe, Jr.
  • Miss Nell Frances Jackson, daughter of Mr and Mrs Benjamin Stanford Jackson.
  • Master Charles Loggins McCain Son of Mr and Mrs Charles Clay McCain
  • Miss Lillian Frances Stoltz, daughter of Mr and Mrs Michael Douglas Stoltz.
  • Miss Mary Margaret Stoltz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Douglas Stoltz.
  • Master Mark Clayton Uzzell, Jr. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Clayton Uzzell, Sr.
  • Miss Mary Caroline Ann Willis, daughter of Dr. Sherilyn Willis and Mr. Patrick D. Willis.
  • Master Jack Reynolds Waldert Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Moroni Waldert, Jr.

This year’s theme is “The History of Cinema”. The logo for the festival’s 90th anniversary, which was unveiled at the gala, is a rose red rose with film strips representing camera lens shaped petals, along with a green stem and a pale gold crown on the rose.

“Films can make us laugh, cry, think and dream. They can reflect the world around you or take you to places completely unrelated to this world,” said Bill Evans, vice president of the Texas Rose Festival – Coronation. “There’s nothing better than movies that have drama, glamour, and amazing costumes.”

The elaborate costumes for the queen, princess and ladies-in-waiting will be inspired by this theme. Other elements of the October festival, including ceremonial events such as the Queen’s Coronation, Queen’s Tea, Rose Presentation, and Rose Parade, will also be centered around this theme.

Evans encouraged guests to come to the 90th festival, set for October 19-22, because “we’re ready for our big shot.”

A rose festival has been held since 1933 to showcase the community and the importance of the rose industry to Tyler.

Tyler is called the “Rose Capital of the World” due to the large number of roses grown in the area. The Tyler Rose Garden is the largest municipal rose garden in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Seven companies in the Tyler area process and distribute several million roses each year, and about 75% of all roses in the country are processed in Tyler.

Patrick Willis, board member of the Tyler Rose Museum, said the festival has a rich history with countless volunteers and supporters helping to make it possible. Among them is Betsy Marsh Ellis, who has been named honorary chairman of the festival this year.

According to Willis, Ellis has been a gracious supporter and volunteer for the Tyler Rose Festival and Museum for many years in various roles. She is also actively involved in society as a whole.

After the announcements, guests enjoyed dinner, networking and live music from The Tuxedo Cats.

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