What a fabulous day in Hermann Park and what a fabulous day for Hermann Park. The annual Hats in the Park luncheon earned a record $360,000 for park coffers on a day that saw a record turnout of close to 400 women and a sprinkling of men, all in striking hats.
The tableau of divine chapeaux on Tuesday was unmatched as Hermann Park patrons stepped out in the finest millinery on a day that began cloudy and muggy and ended in sunshine and cool breezes. The fountains of the fledgling McGovern Centennial Gardens danced in the changing winds as Kathrine McGovern accepted kudos and a standing ovation as honoree for her long-time support of the much-beloved city park. The luncheon took place in a vast tent on the Celebration Lawn.
While luncheon chairs Estela Cockrell and Denise Monteleone welcomed guests and Hermann Park Conservancy board chair Danny David delivered the park update, it was Mayor Annise Parker who clearly stole the show.
"I will acknowledge that I haven't always gotten into the spirit of the luncheon (seldom wearing a hat). And I've been teased," she said, adding that on this her last time to attend the luncheon as Houston mayor, "I'm going to do it all at once." And indeed she did in a a hat with a brim so broad that the mayor joked that it could double as an umbrella.
Her remarks on the park had a hint of nostaglia as she described it as "truly magnificent, an asset to the city . . . a jewel that has been cut and polished and faceted in a way that none of us could have imagined when the conservancy came together."
But as Danny David noted in his remarks, the work is not exactly done. There are plans on the drawing board for the renovation of the Historic Club House into a unique event space, improvements in the Japanese Garden in time for that spots 25th anniversary and naming opportunities still exist in the Centennial Campaign.
Following the luncheon, it was champagne toasts in the Cherie Flories Garden Pavilion all around with special acknowledgement to Centennial Campaign chairs Phoebe Tudor and Sanford Criner and former conservancy board chair Ann Kennedy. Hats were also off to Doreen Stoller, conservancy executive director who has stewarded the years-long project.
Among the well-heeled throng were luncheon honorary chair Cherie Flores, David Cockrell, Diane Lokey Farb, Isabel David, Randa Weiner, Susie Criner, Dancie Ware, Carolyn Robertson, Kim Tutcher, Mark Sullivan, Rebecca Jusbasche, Ceron and Todd Fiscus, Jana Arnoldy, Jo Lynn Falgout, Gracie Cavnar, Cathy Cleary, Kristen Nix and Rachel Volz, whose A Fare Extraordinaire provided the delish lunch.