On a Perfect Spring Night, Hermann Park Fans Gather for Dinner Under the Stars

Brigitte Kalai and Hallie Vanderhider

IT'S HARD TO beat a mild breezy night in the park as a backdrop for a springtime dinner party. And that’s just what the Herman Park Conservancy and its beautiful chairs Brigitte Kalai and Hallie Vanderhider offered up that the annual “Evening in the Park” gala, on the tented lawn of the Molly Ann Smith Plaza near the Reflection Pool.


“Coming off the heels of the McWilliams Dog Park and the Commons groundbreakings, this year’s gala was cause for celebration,” enthused a rep for the event’s organizer. In all, some 500 guests made their arrivals in the shadow of the Sam Houston Monument and took the long way around to the party, along a winding road through the grounds, aboard the famous Hermann Park Railroad — a favorite of Houston children for decades. Some $700,000 was raised for managing and improving the 108-year-old park.

The dinner was “an elegant and chic affair, with vibrant floral arrangements and opulent chandeliers, which radiated on the tent canopy,” added the rep.

A meal of pan-seared salmon was served, amid remarks by guests of honor Kim and Dan Tutcher, who fell in love with Hermann Park after moving to Houston 35 years ago, and Conservancy board chair Kristy Bradshaw. thanks to near-daily dog walks in the area. Kim joined the Conservancy’s board of directors in 2004, and got further involved with the Park by co-chairing Hats in the Park in 2013with Ellie Francisco, then co-chairing Evening in the Park in 2016 with current Conservancy board chair Kristy Bradshaw.

Roslyn Bazzelle and Derrick Mitchel

DJ Kalkutta

Danny and Isabel David, John and Kristen Berger

Mark and Duyen Nguyen, Debbie Festari, Richard Hester

Kristy and Chris Bradshaw

Susan and Sanford Criner

Jo and Jim Furr

Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin

Rose Ann and Michael Heckman

Ellie and Michael Francisco and Bobbie Nau

Kenneth Allen and Delaina Curry-Allen

Dan and Kim Tutcher

Sallie and George Alcorn

Patricia Sturion and Héctor Villarreal

Carla Valencia, Michael Mandola and Divya Brown

Van Ngo and David Ruiz

“We know that with new immersive and inclusive play spaces, restored natural habitats, and a place of respite for our healthcare workers and community, the Commons will be a place for everyone to call their own,” Bradshaw said.

After dinner, guests enjoyed a lavish dessert buffet with the likes of mango crepes and mini ice cream cones — and dancing under the stars to the stylings of New York City-based DJ Kalkutta.

Boldface names in the crowd included Fady Armanious, Bill Baldwin, John and Kristen Berger, Susan and Sanford Criner, Rose Cullen, Isabel and Danny David, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Jo and Jim Furr, Joanna and Brad Marks, Bobbie Nau, Van Ngo, David Ruiz, Mark and Duyen Nguyen, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Doreen Stoller, Daniel Piette, Patricia Sturion, Alicia Smith and Andrew McCain.

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