"The weather is always interesting for this event," noted Mayor Annise Parker as she surveyed the Hermann Park Conservancy's "Hats in the Park" luncheon crowd. With temps in the 30s, rain falling and wind blowing, it was hardly the spring-like day that chair Laurie Morian and honorary chair Lynn Wyatt had hoped for.
Despite Mother Nature's fickle mood, the tent was packed with a sellout crowd of 380 — half dressed in spring frocks and billowing chapeaux, others wrapped in fur and sporting everything from ski caps to Pucci felt fedoras. This whacky juxtaposition of seasonal looks made for a mind-boggling, yet very entertaining, tableau.
As Hermann Park Conservancy president Ann Kennedy quipped,"Does everybody have her dress picked out for next year's luncheon? Yes, it's in the closet."
The luncheon marked the first in a series of events celebrating the park's centennial and honored Cherie Flores. You might remember that it was her husband, Jim Flores, whose birthday gift last year was $5 million for the Centennial Gardens Pavilion. The honoree was so supportive of the luncheon that she purchased enough seats to make up one long table for two dozen best friends. Among them were Patricia Griffith, Vesta Frommer, Jana Arnoldy, Renee Lewis, Aliyya Stude, Robin Wombell, Sara Dodd and Mary Tere Perusquia.
The tent, erected next to the historic clubhouse in Hermann Park, was dressed in floral splendor as party designer Todd Fiscus launched his Todd Events Houston office by decorating for the luncheon. Swaths of fabric floating overhead, chandeliers, topiaries, beautiful flowers and his signature floral wall (fabulous oversized-paper flowers) serving as backdrop for the podium.
Conservancy executive director Doreen Stoller reports, "The event was a record breaker with $289,861 raised specifically for the luncheon along with a portion of $731,750 in special centennial underwriter packages which included a luncheon table."
The lunch bunch included Phoebe Tudor, Susie and Sanford Criner, Ceron, Laura McWilliams, Celina Brener, Alice Burguieres, Stanton Welch, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Isabel David, Valerie Dieterich, C.C. Conner and Estela Cockrell, who will chair the 2015 "Hats in the Park" luncheon with Denise Monteleone.