It’s been 27 years since Lindalyn Adams co-founded La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, but in all that time, the matriarch has yet to see any of her own walk across the stage.
That all changes this year, however, when she will watch granddaughter Kristen Adams take a turn as a duchess, escorted by her twin brother, Carlton.
And it didn’t happen a mo-ment too soon. Carlton and Kristen are the youngest of six, so they represent Lindalyn’s last chance to see a grandchild participate in La Fiesta. Adams doesn’t have any daughters, and the twins were her first grandchildren to show any interest.
“Two of my grandkids declined; it just wasn’t their thing, you know?” Adams said. “But the twins wanted to be in it, and that’s what thrills me. They really, really wanted to do it.”
For Carlton and Kristen, the decision to take part came easy.
“It’s cool to be able to represent our family, given the fact that no one else has been able to participate in it,” Carlton said. “It was the last opportunity.”
Being able to honor their grandmother’s accomplishments was one of the determining factors, the twins said.
“Our grandmother achieved a lot, and she’s done a lot with the community,” Kristin said. “We grew up knowing about her accomplishments and knowing a lot of kids who’ve participated in it, so we know how much it means.”
But don’t think that they were chosen because of their grandmother — the twins’ record speaks for itself.
Carlton is a Hunt Scholar studying business at SMU, and he was one of just five freshmen in the student senate. Kristen is studying communications at TCU, and she is working full-time through June before going to Zambia on a mission trip.
Carlton and Kristen were president and vice president of Highland Park’s Class of 2012, respectively, and, like their grandmother, enjoy being involved in the community.
“It’s nice to know that we weren’t just chosen because of her,” Carlton said. “You have to get invited, and [the board] looks at people who are involved in the community and are a certain type of kid. We look up to [Lindalyn] a lot in many ways, so it means a lot to be selected.”
Barbara Hitzelberger Wooten, who was involved with La Fiesta’s inception, also has two grandchildren — Katherine “Kay” Lomax Hitzelberger and John Christian Hitzelberger — participating this year. As with the Adamses, Kay and Christian will be Barbara’s first grandchildren in the event.
“It truly is an honor, and I’m really proud of them,” said the former University Park mayor. “La Fiesta has given such a huge amount to the community over the years.”
That amount totals more than $5.8 million that has gone directly back to Park Cities causes such as C.A.R.E./D.A.R.E., the Highland Park Literary Festival, and the University Park Public Library.
When La Fiesta was created, co-founder Pierce Allman said, no one realized it would grow into such an important event.
“After the first year, when we had it in Highland Park Village, everyone said, ‘Where is it going to be next year?’ And we said, ‘Ooh, hey — we might actually have something here!’ ”
That second edition of La Fiesta featured Lucy Reeves — daughter of co-founder Jennie Reeves — as a duchess; these days, she’s better known as DJ Lucy Wrubel.
Allman, who watched both of his daughters participate and has a granddaughter at Highland Park High School who he hopes will be considered in the future, is thrilled with La Fiesta’s community partnership.
“I’m fascinated to watch it continue to grow and flourish every year,” Allman said. “That’s the unique spirit of the Park Cities, and I salute that; it needs to be preserved.”
One thing is certain; La Fiesta is not just another deb ball.
So when the twins make their grand entrance on Saturday — in front of most of their large family — they’re excited to exemplify a tradition of family service.
“It’s more than just walking across a stage; it represents an achievement,” Kristen said. “It’s more than me in a dress; it’s a family ordeal, and an honor.”