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Olmsted Park’s Hat Luncheon

Author: Tara Mancini

Recently, the 2nd annual Spring Into Summer Luncheon was hosted by the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy. This event is one of the big fundraisers of the year. The funds from last year went to purchase new equipment including one of those huge lawn mowers that can cost as much as a car. With over 2 million visits each year and 1,600 public events … we Buffalonians keep the employees and volunteers hustling.

And to think, unlike a private club or theme park…there is no entrance fee. It’s easy to assume that our taxes pay for all the work that goes into the parks and parkways.

I can appreciate this, just when I was about to up-grade my kitchen from its 1974 aesthetics, my property taxes went up another $1000. The Conservancy receives $1.2 Million dollars a year to maintain the parks and parkways. This covers the cost of mowing the lawns, litter clean up and ensuring 15,000 tree are trimmed so that a branch doesn’t land on a passer by. (This actually happened in NYC’s Central Park.) But it is not enough to keep the rose garden in bloom, the graffiti off the bridges and buildings, over a thousand public events picked up after or the swings intact on the playgrounds.

One-third of the Conservancy’s $3.4 million annual budget has reliably come from their most loyal partner, the City of Buffalo. However, the Conservancy raises the remaining two-thirds from members, donors, foundations and special events.

And what a turn out it was! Hats and fascinators came in a multitude of colors, and smiles loomed large. The event was held inside our most beloved music hall. Then with a quick check in, guests were handed a raffle ticket and glass of champagne. Guests in lovely and fun toppers filled the hall.


While most Buffalonians know Kleinhans for their most excellent Philharmonic Orchestra, the building is situated on one of Olmsted’s designed circles, Symphony Circle. Being a Conservancy Cultural Partner they had the perfect location to hold an event. It was sold out.

Janis Dunworth and Christine Wiktor performed the duties of Co-Chair. These ladies with assistance from the Luncheon Committee and Conservancy staff, exceeded expectations. Which was no easy task with 200 guest, handmade center pieces, raffles to assemble, and caterers to coordinate with.

The entrees were set and ready for guest when they enter the Mary Seaton room. Guests caught up with each other while noshing on chicken over risotto topped with asparagus or roasted red pepper, eggplant and zucchini over greens. The luncheon was catered by Oliver’s.


Two awards went out. The Volunteer of The Year award went to the Kathleen Walter and Bill Harden who have done everything from digging and refilling to greeting guests at events. The William Dorsheimer Community Partner Award went out to Restore Our Community Coalition (ROCC) which is dedicated to revitalizing the neighborhoods along Humboldt Parkway.

With today’s busy lifestyles, taking a couple hours to catch up with colleagues and friends over lunch for good cause is always a must. Long time Buffalo residents were topped out and as lovely as ever. Many tables were packed with people new to Buffalo, and returning patriots. Buffalonians were not alone, people from the surrounding suburbs, as well as our sister city Rochester were also present. Whether long time resident, returning, newbie or visiting we thank you for making Buffalo a place to love and enjoy.

See you next year !







Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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