Abilene Scene is turning 10! April marks ten years since the magazine launched.
In 2012, an idea began brewing on the 20th floor of the Enterprise Building. What if there was a beautiful magazine, published quarterly, that celebrated all the amazing people, activities, events, and the spirit of Abilene? To answer this question, a natural partnership formed between Zachry Publications and the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. Abilene Scene was born in April, 2012.
The next 10 years brought ups and downs, challenges and changes, beauty and growth. Abilene changed a lot in those years, too.
Businesses opened and closed. Downtown sprung to life with a vibrant food and shopping scene. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature expanded, the Storybook sculptures blossomed, and the city was named the “Storybook Capital of America” in 2018. Beloved Abilene leaders retired and new leaders stepped up to take their place.
To celebrate Scene’s birthday, we wanted to take some time to look back on our favorite moments. The Abilene Scene staff has chosen some favorite issues, stories and cover photos to reminisce on, so join us for reflection on the history of our magazine and our city.
The first issue featured the Calf Festival. We celebrated Dr. Seuss, featured the first “Party Pics,” (now called 2012 “Scene Lately), from Dancing with the Abilene Stars, and showcased a state-of-the-art closet remodel.
Cooper Graduates and People Magazine
“My favorite story is the story of Jess Cagle, a Cooper High School grad, who at the time of the story was editor of People magazine and Entertainment Weekly. My daughter, Whitney Little, was living in New York and working at People magazine at the time. She interviewed Jess and wrote the story for Scene. And not only is Jess a Cooper grad, but Whitney is a Cooper grad too. And our home is not far from where Jess’s home was when he lived in Abilene.”
– Maxanne Little, Account Executive
Around the World Cuisine
“In 2015 we did a story about restaurants in Abilene with cuisine from different places around the world. I learned about so many new places from that story, and I loved that it highlighted the wide variety Abilene has to offer.”
– Christi Stark, Art Director
This story featured restaurants that are still fan favorites in Abilene like Krua Thai, Niko’s Gyros & Subs, and El Pugarcito de America.
2015 Bridal Special Issue
“My favorite event was the Boutique Bridal Show that we created, sold, and produced. It was beautiful, classy, elevated. Brides came from all over Abilene and the surrounding area to book florists, photographers, cakes, etc. We published the special bridal issue of Scene alongside the show, which was also a beautiful magazine. This show/magazine combo had been a dream of mine long before Abilene Scene existed. To see it born was a real gift.”
– Becky Frost, Publisher
Bennie Wylie, Strength in Action
Our staff loved this action cover, featuring the iconic strength coach, Bennie Wylie. At the time, Wylie was training at Action Zone in north Abilene, but years before he had
been a strength coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He was also the winner of Season 1 of the NBC show, Strong.
“Growing a Storybook Garden: The Donors Who Made it Possible.”
“The Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden is a significant enhancement to Abilene’s cultural district. Families can enjoy the garden all year long and have their photo taken with Wilbur and Charlotte and The Three Little Pigs and other beloved storybook characters. It’s proximity to the new hotel will allow visitors a fun and nostalgic experience as it features a variety of storybook characters both old and new. The garden has become a major tourist attraction for downtown Abilene, and we can’t thank our donors enough for investing in our city.”
– Lynn Barnett, Executive Director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council
More Than Pets: Service Dogs and their People
“I wrote this story when I was still a freelance writer. I didn’t get to choose it and I probably wouldn’t have picked it since at the time, I didn’t like dogs at all. To me, dogs seemed useless and impractical. But I wrote the story anyway, and as I interviewed people with service dogs, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I discovered how smart dogs are, how they could be trained to behave well in public, and how they could help their owners in incredible ways – from stabilizing a human who is unsteady on their feet, to sensing a seizure before it happens. Today I have my own dog and I love training him. So, you could say this was a life-changing story for me.”
– Haley Laurence, Editor
Rising to the Occasion
A summary of the last 10 years wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Covid-19 pandemic and how our city rose to the occasion to make life go on during a hard time. In this issue, businesses, Dyess Air Force Base, healthcare workers, and schools were highlighted for the creative ways they served our community.
“Since I started as editor, the March/April issue of 2021 has been my favorite issue. I love the mouth-watering cover that metaphorically whets your appetite for what’s inside. I also enjoyed the “How to Spring Up Your Fall Style” fashion piece which marked the beginning of our partnerships with local boutiques to create practical, but local, fashion inspiration.”
-Haley Laurence, Editor
Whether you’ve been an avid reader for the last 10 years, or you just picked up this issue, we’re glad you’re here! We can’t wait to see what stories, events, and photos the future holds for Abilene Scene.