Donna LaMond, David & Mary Frances DuMay, Kimberly and John Carr Eads, and Sami Morrison (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
James and Emily Yardley, Lindley and Jason Arnoldy (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Rob and Kirsten Galtney (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Matt Cain and Laura Avila (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Danny and Lauren Droubi (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Sean and Felecia Fitzgerald (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Mark and Joni Fichter (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Kristi and Hugh Herman (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Jeff Samples and Donna LaMond (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Kelly Beth Hapgood (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Julie Longoria and Stephen Chen (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Ed and Denise Sobash (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
John and Cherie Lindley (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Philip and Susan Berry (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Donna LaMond, Judy Cheng, and Ilona Carson (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
Elizabeth Cook, Ilona Carson (Photo by Katy Anderson Photography)
West University Place is one of Houston’s most magical neighborhoods — a small town within the confines of a big city, where Little League rules and fabulous parks and the local ice cream shop (Tiny’s Milk and Cookies) are just a short walk away.
Those very parks — Colonial, Friends, Huffington, Jennie Elizabeth Hughes, Judson, Liberty Hill, West U Rec Center, Whitt Johnson and Wier, to be specific — were celebrated by some 600 black-tie-clad revelers at the 2020 Park Lovers’ Ball at Hilton Americas-Houston. A castle-themed backdrop and ethereal garden-inspired decor brought the Medieval Knight in the Park theme to life.
Guests posed for festive GIF-style pics in the Smilebooth and had their portraits made by two talented caricature artists before getting in convivial bidding wars with neighbors over coveted big board auction items like the Fathers & Flashlights VIP package and City of West U Colonial Park Pool VIP parking and silent auction items like Houston Astros tickets and a fajita party at Armandos. After all, it was for the parks, and the parks are for the children.
As green-space enthusiasts were seated for a multi-course dinner of Caprese salad, free-range chicken breast with rosemary dijon sauce and chocolate opera cake, family dentists Dr. Julie Longoria and Dr. Stephen Chen of West U Smiles sponsored a rousing game of heads or tails in which the winner won seats to next year’s gala.
Co-chairs Mary Frances and David DuMay and Kimberly and John Carr Eads presided over the evening, which honored IBC Bank, which was represented by its Houston president Jeff Samples. The total amount of funds raised for park’s coffers that evening was a record-breaking $490,000, with the live auction — which included vacations, an Argentinian dove hunt and two über-adorable puppies — responsible for an impressive $77,000 of that total.
One lucky raffle winner took home a handmade ring featuring a 17.02 carat gem-quality Madagascar morganite surrounded by pave-set diamonds in 18kt rose gold from Valobra Master Jewelers valued at $10,000.
Thanks to tunes by Infinite Groove, the dance floor was packed with neighbors and friends until midnight.
In the history of the volunteer-based nonprofit The Friends of West University Parks Fund, more than $7.5 million has been donated by generous contributors and residents.
PC Seen: Friends executive director Donna LaMond, Friends chair Sami Morrison; auction co-chairs Laura Avila and Elizabeth Rambin; underwriting co-chairs Lindley Arnoldy with husband Jason and Emily Yardley with husband James; Kirsten and Rob Galtney, Kelly Beth Hapgood, Anna Stewart, Laura Anne and Stephen Baumgartner, Lauren and Danny Droubi, Stephen Jacobson, Mark Prescott, Peyton and Alex Popp, Stephanie and Ryan Fleck, Judy Cheng, Joni and Mark Fichter, John and Cherie Lindley, Denise and Ed Sobash, Scarlett and Scott Hankey.