Society

Houston’s Most Fabulous Hats, Selfies and Air Kisses Reign at Beloved Unforgettable Hats in the Park Affair

Boosting Hermann Park With a Major Assist From the Astros Foundation

BY // 04.16.24
photography Jenny Antill

Ah, Hermann Park Conservancy’s divine “Hats in the Park” luncheon. Who could deny the absolute fabulousness of the colorful tableau of chapeaux of every imaginable design bobbing in the spring breezes? The 2024 edition of the beloved fundraiser was true to tradition, as stunning as ever.

Hats in the Park Chairs Isabel David, Rishma Mohamed, Julie Longoria Chen IMG_0264 (Photo by Jenny Antill)
Hats in the Park chairs Isabel David, Rishma Mohamed, Julie Longoria Chen. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

Champagne glasses in hand, the throng of 480 shared awkward air kisses (those pesky hat brims!) and selfies as the City Kitchen staff scurried around, pre-setting the luncheon tables under the traditionally massive tent. The bubbly-infused reception for the Hermann Park Conservancy fundraiser began at the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion where the view led across the dancing fountains to the McGovern Centennial Gardens, where the grand party tent awaited.

Kristy Bradshaw, Kelley Lubanko, Phoebe Tudor IMG_0651 (Photo by Jenny Antill)
Kristy Bradshaw, Kelley Lubanko, Phoebe Tudor at the Hats in the Park luncheon. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

As always, it was a special day for park patron Susie Criner, who with Ann Short, conceived of the beloved Hats in the Park fundraiser which is now in its 16th year. Taking bows as luncheon chairs were Julie Longoria Chen, Isabel David and Rishma Mohamed who stewarded the affair to $490,000 in proceeds.

Phyllis Williams, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Lauren Randle IMG_0376 (Photo by Jenny Antill)
Phyllis Williams, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Lauren Randle at the Hats in the Park luncheon. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

The event honored Paula Harris, the Houston Astros Foundation executive director and senior vice president of community affairs. As is tradition with this luncheon, conservancy director Doreen Stoller presented Harris with a young tree, a sycamore to be planted at Hermann Park’s Lott Hall.

Through her roles with the Astros, Harris has made a significant impact on the Conservancy’s mission, especially with the Commons, which received a $1.5 million donation from the Astros Foundation.

“It’s not just Minute Maid Park that we believe in,” Harris told the throng. “We believe in all the parks. And our gift here to the Hermann Park Conservancy means a lot to the Houston Astros.”

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Catherine Matthews, Elizabeth Abraham Colombowala IMG_0980 (Photo by Jenny Antill)
Catherine Matthews, Elizabeth Abraham Colombowala at the Hats in the Park luncheon. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

In anticipation of a successful 2025 luncheon, the conservancy revealed next year’s luncheon chairs — Brooke Bentley Gunst, Holly Radom, and Carolyn Sabat — and honorees — Brittany Sakowitz Kushner and Katie Arnoldy.

Holly Alvis IMG_0528 (Photo by Jenny Antill)
Holly Alvis at the Hats in the Park luncheon. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

PC Seen: Conservancy board chair Kristy Bradshaw, Cece and Mac Fowler, Phoebe Tudor, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Shawn Stephens, Allie Fields, Sanford Criner, Lauren Randle, Sandy Godfrey, Demetra Jones, Ting Bresnehan, Elizabeth Abraham Colombowala, Allie Fields, Leigh Smith, Kelley Lubanko, Jennifer Allison, Lindley Arnoldy, Phyllis Williams, Fady Armanious, Kim Tutcher, Stephanie Tsuru, and Paula DesRoches.

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