Houston will soon see an abundance of red fezzes, mini-cars, live music, and family fun; as it gears up to receive approximately 12,000 visitors from around the world to celebrate the 141st annual Imperial Session of Shriners International.
The Imperial Session is an annual business meeting and celebration of the international fraternity comprised of nearly 200 temples (chapters) around the world. The Imperial Session will run from July 5 through July 9, with events mainly taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The most well-known event of the Session, which is open to the public, is the Shriners Parade, during which downtown Houston will be filled with mini-cars, clowns, bands and more. The Session is estimated to bring in nearly $10.9 million in revenue for local businesses, according to the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. The city is proud to host the Imperial Session for the first time in Shriners International history.
As a highlight during the Session, Houston resident Jerry Gantt is expected to be named the organization’s newest Imperial Potentate, or executive leader, for the 2015-16 term. Gantt became a member of Arabia Shriners in Houston in 1980 and served as the temple’s Potentate (president) in 2002. His wife Lisa will become the First Lady of the organization and will announce her fundraising program benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children, the official philanthropy of Shriners International.
“Both Dale Stauss, current Imperial Potentate, and I are excited to welcome Shriners, their families and community members to take part in the annual Imperial Session festivities”, Gantt said. “It is extremely rewarding to be part of the rich legacy that the Shriners have cultivated in Houston and beyond through our fraternity and hospitals.”
Deemed “The World’s Greatest Philanthropy,” Shriners Hospitals for Children is a nonprofit system of 22 locations treating children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Members of the fraternity volunteer and support the philanthropy to ensure the children are able to get the treatment they need.
There are Shriners Hospitals for Children locations in both Houston and Galveston. In 2014 alone, more than 3,300 children from Texas received care from these hospitals.
“On behalf of Shriners Hospitals for Children, Houston and Galveston, we are excited and look forward to being part of Imperial Session,” said Cathy Moniaci, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston administrator. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase to the community the wonderful care facilities and overall fantastic pediatric resource our health care system is.”
As part of the activities, Shriners Hospitals for Children will reveal two new national patient ambassadors for 2015-16, with the premiere of a video documentary of their heartwarming and encouraging real life experiences. The Imperial Session will begin with a Walk for LOVE at Discovery Green, an installation ceremony for the Imperial Potentate-Elect and a variety of fun competitions and gatherings. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.imperial2015.com or follow us on social media www.facebook.com/ShrinersInternational.
About Shriners International
Shriners International, a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, founded Shriners Hospitals for Children as its official philanthropy in 1922. The organization, which began as one hospital, is now a world-renowned health care system with 22 facilities in three countries. The fraternity, which has nearly 200 chapters in seven countries and thousands of clubs around the world, continues to operate and support this unique health care system. Go to shrinersinternational.org to learn more.
About Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children changes lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. For more information, please visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.