Natives of southern Californian Soraya and Scott McClelland had hoped for a California vibe when they chaired Saturday night's Discovery Green "Gala on the Green." Mother Nature obliged with a perfect evening for the black-tie coterie that arrived via the Brown Foundation Promenade where massive oak trees were hung with crystal chandeliers and uplighted in swaths of emerald green.
There was plenty of green on this night as the gala, held in a party tent on the edge of the 12-acre downtown park, grossed $1.2 million, proceeds supporting the free programming that draws one million visitors to the park each year.
The spring-like evening was just right for mingling on the tree-shrouded walkway and on the newly-built deck at the Jones Lawn. The Houston Encore Strings provided lilting tunes and the wait staff from Tony's circulated with trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres while Mr. H-E-B and Soraya welcomed the 460 guests.
Once inside the party tent, the chatty throng was reluctant to be seated as Tricia and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Super Bowl Host Committee chair Ric Campo and wife Mo, luxury apartment developer Marvy Finger and wife Elaine and the like appeared to be having too much fun to be seated.
The evening was short on program and long on fun as KPRC Channel 2 news anchor Dominique Sachse emceed and Discovery Green board chair Anne Duncan introduced past Gala on the Green chairs who were present. Taking bows for their previous fundraising efforts were Franci Crane, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and Bobbie and John Nau. Duncan also recognized Nancy and Rich Kinder, the forces behind the public/private partnership that made Discovery Green possible. After that, it was dancing long into the night to the sounds of Simply Irresistible.
Savoring the California-style weather were Discovery Green executive director Barry Mandel, Susan McEldoon and Nick Smeloff, Sharon Adams, Saundria Chase-Grey and Jerome Grey, Katy Caldwell, Gilbert Herrera, Zane and Brady Carruth, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Meredith Cullen, Lori Krohn and Phillip Sarofim, Donna and Tony Vallone, receiving kudos for the delicious dinner.