Mother Nature and Klyde Warren Park’s President Kit Sawers must have cut some kind of deal. After a number of event washouts in the previous months, the cantankerous old weather witch had allowed a break in stormy threats for Park And Palate’s Dinner in the Park presented by Republic National Distributing Company on Saturday, October 5. Only the night before, the Dallas Arts District had experienced a wind-and-rain situation that dampened a local fundraiser. And things also were looking wet for the area on Sunday, due to the arrival of the season’s first cold front.
On Saturday, however, the Klyde Warren grounds were simply ideal, with the buildings of downtown Dallas and Uptown serving as backdrops. Little did the Dinner in the Park guests know that, in the days ahead, a big announcement would be made about the park’s Part II that would include an enclosed venue for events in non-user-friendly weather.
But on this night, there was no need for such a structure. Although it was a bit warmish, with temperatures in the upper 80s, Kit’s crew had provided ample warning to dress light — and even included a fan with the handsome programs.
While Sewell patriarch Carl Sewell Jr. was MIA, the rest of his family was on hand to serve as the event’s honorary co-chairs. Matriarch Peggy Sewell was pretty in orange, and grateful that she had no speaking obligations. But still she was thrilled to talk about her role as a grandmother — “It’s so much fun to babysit them at the house!” she said — and about the upcoming birth of Carl IV due around Christmas, thanks to Josie and Carl III.
As Park & Palate Co-Chairs Brooke Hortenstine and Missy Wyszynski and Underwriting Co-Chairs Piper and Mike Wyatt greeted one and all in front of the sponsorship board and on stage, the guests on the grounds soon grew to more than 900. Among them: Laura Wilson, Nancy Dedman, Diane and Hal Brierley, Margot Perot, Kathryn and Craig Hall, Micki and Mike Rawlings, Michael Lee, Rachel Riley, Mitch Mosley, Doniphan Moore, Carol and Daniel Podolsky, Roger Horchow, Regen and Jeff Fearon, Elizabeth and Alex Laurenzi, Kim Noltemy, Terra Waldrum Najork, Elizabeth Tripplehorn, Chuck Steelman, and Lynn McBee.
Chat of the evening included news that the new TACA president/executive director would be announced in the days ahead. … Tim Adair of the downtown Neiman Marcus store was looking forward to the holidays, because the seasonal buffet there is always a major draw. … James Huffines was attending but without wife Patty Huffines, who was golfing in North Carolina with about two dozen gal pals. … Katherine Harper was excited about the upcoming release of “Sister Aimee,” a movie she co-produced about the mysterious 1920s disappearance of Los Angeles mega-evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. … Sheila Grant recalled with a smile how she and hubby Jody Grant had spearheaded Klyde Warren Park years ago, when “everybody thought we were sniffing the wrong glue.”
While Kit was thrilled about the weather, she said the real highlight of the evening would be Tony Award-winner Stephanie J. Block, who would entertain later in the evening. The idea had originated with Sheila Grant, who had long envisioned hosting a “Broadway in the Park”-type concert. It was a wonderful idea and took months of planning. Unfortunately, by the time Stephanie took the stage, a great number of the guests already were deep in table conversation and not as attentive to the performance as they might have been.
The dinner itself, which was created by Host Chef Kent Rathbun of Imoto, was wonderful, too. It included a starter of Heirloom Tomatoes and Paula’s Burrata, and then a main course of Grilled Tenderloin Filet Bourguignon. It was the dessert, though, that was a conversation piece in itself. When servers placed a six-pack carton on each table containing sealed jars, some wondered whether the carton was a favor “to go.” Only after a while did it become apparent that, nope, the jars actually contained the evening’s dessert: Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake with a Pomegranate Glaze.
For looks of the night, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.