Each year the Olmsted Parks Conservancy hosts a spectacular gala at one of its six major parks. Last year The Olmsted Gala was held at Front Park. The signature event is designed to raise needed money for the park system, but it’s also designed to showcase, on a rotational basis, each park so as to highlight each landscape’s inherent significance. The last time that The Gala was held at South Park was six years ago, which means that it’s time, once again, for the park to host the event. For many who live in other parts of the city, South Park brings to mind the glorious Botanical Gardens. While we are all familiar with the advancements at the gardens, there are also impressive Olmsted initiatives underway that may not be on the general public’s radar.
Did you know that South Park was designed as an arboretum (tree museum)? Plants and trees from all over the world were once planted en masse – all total 2300 different types of trees, shrubs and plant life could be found in the 155 acre park. In recent history the number of trees was significantly diminished to under 1000 trees. Incredibly, there are still more than 200 species of trees remaining. In 2006 M&T Bank funded a study that has since allowed The Olmsted Conservancy to come up with a plan to reforest the arboretum. Prior to The Gala, M&T Bank will conduct a ceremonial planting, which will signify a stepped up effort to repopulate the number of trees from the hundreds to the thousands.
Did you know that South Park has its own Ring Road? This summer the road is being repaved – that project is almost completed. At the same time there has been an effort underway to rid the park of a number of invasive species, including buckthorn, Japanese knotweed and mugwort. South Park also has a golf course, with a small clubhouse. While there are plenty of recreational amenities, it’s the natural beauty that continues to impress people to this day. One walk around the park offers visitors a perspective that cannot be seen from the window of a car. From the architectural grandeur of the Botanical Gardens to the calming serenity of the lake, South Park is certainly worth a visit beyond attending The Gala.
Frederick Law Olmsted
2012 Gala: One Golden Evening (flair of the 1920’s and 1930’s)
Friday, July 13 @ 6pm-11pm
$175 for an individual ticket | $1500 for a table of eight | RSVP by July 6, 2012
To receive an invitation or to make a reservation, click here.
Sponsored by M&T Bank
Presentation of the 2012 Frederick law Olmsted Award to David Colligan
Valet parking, cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres, live auction, croquet, bocce and vintage car rides available. Open bar, seated gourmet dinner, dancing, fireworks and vintage attire welcome.
Music: Sounds of Buffalo Swing Band.
Lead photo: Stan Jennings | South Park Lake photo: Olmsted Parks | Front Park gala fireworks photo: Joe Cascio