Cherie Flores received oodles of wonderful gifts for her birthday but none more lasting and more meaningful to the community than the $5 million that her husband, oilman Jim Flores, gave to the Hermann Park Conservancy in her honor. In return, the Centennial Gardens Pavilion will bear her name.
Announcement of that pretty package was made Thursday night at the conservancy's annual al fresco benefit, "An Evening in the Park," with the 500 guests offering up generous applause. The Flores weren't there to bask in the appreciation as he is chairing the All American Wildcatters annual bash in Las Vegas this weekend.
Hermann Park Centennial campaign chairs Phoebe Tudor and Sanford Criner made the announcement of the gift that placed the campaign within shouting distance of its $30 million goal for the Centennial Gardens project, groundbreaking for which is set for the fall.
The evening's theme, "Havana, A Night in White Linen," inspired all manner of white attire from gents in linen suits to ladies in garden party whites. Setting the fashion pace were chairs Heidi and Marcus Smith and Melissa and Michael Mithoff and honorary chairs Shafik Rifaat and this writer. As is rain-or-shine tradition, the party began with cocktails beside the Jones Reflection Pool, continued with dinner in a party tent overlooking McGovern Lake and closed with dancing to DJ spins in the Molly Ann Smith Plaza.
Adding to the Havana magic of the night was the open-air cigar lounge provided by Hector Villarreal, owner of Lucho, where the hand-rolled, Cuban-style cigars are available. A Fare Extraordinaire put a flavorful spin on the Cuban theme with dinner and the dessert bar that followed on the plaza.
The weather was perfect for outdoor partying, a happy circumstance for Hermann Park Conservancy director Doreen Stoller and board chair Ann Kennedy, both of whom have seen this fundraiser take place during downpours.
Stepping out in a white night mood were guests including Laurie and Reed Morian, Dorothy and Mickey Ables, Andrea White, Lora and Dr. John Clemmons, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Kim and Dan Tutcher, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Karen and Mike Mayell, Anita and Gerald Smith, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Isabel and Danny David, Ann and Don Short and Winell and Doug Herron.