750 turn out, wear their best toppers for annual Party in the Park

FRANKLIN PARK — 750 guests attended the 16th anniversary Party in the Park Luncheon to benefit the city’s Justine Mee Liff Fund, which was held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in a tent in White Stadium at Franklin Park, the crowning jewel of the Emerald Necklace and the largest park in the system at more than 500 acres.

Attendees included: Party in the Park founder Wendy Shattuck; event chairs Holly Safford, Danielle Frissell, Catherine Creighton, Catheline van den Branden, and Kathleen Taradash McIntyre; Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of Emerald Necklace Conservancy; Commissioner Leo Roy, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Benjamin Taylor, chairman of the Board of Emerald Necklace Conservancy; and, the fashionable Yolanda Cellucci, fashion designer Jason Wu, radio personality Sue Brady, TV newswoman Janet Wu, Adriana Hassan, Molly Dunne, Ashley Bernon, Nicky Lewenson, Dawn Silvia Oates, Jonathan Soroff, Elisha Daniels, Lynn Dale, Marsha Brown, Irina Aguirre, Esmeralda Swartz, Julie Hume Gordon, Erica Corsano, and Lisa Pierpont.

Commissioner Chris Cook, Boston Parks & Recreation Department and Chief of Energy, Environment and Open Space was in attendance. However, Mayor Marty Walsh, the event’s official host, is in Washington, D.C., with Governor Charlie Baker and was unable to attend the luncheon.

Known as the “must attend fundraiser,” the Party in the Park is one of the few occasions in Boston when most attendees wear hats. Money raised from the luncheon supports the Justine Mee Liff Fund for the Emerald Necklace, which was established to honor the legacy of Boston’s former Parks Commissioner, Justine Mee Liff, who died in 2002. Her vision, leadership, and dedication have encouraged continual restoration and enhancement of the historic Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace parks. The Party in the Park reflects how Justine brought people together to support and restore the parks.

The luncheon also included the presentation of the Liff Spirit Award, given this year to Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation for her successes in moving forward public-private partnerships in Philadelphia and embodying the spirit of the former Boston Parks & Recreation commissioner.

Party in the Park raises funds for special restoration projects within the park system throughout Boston and Brookline. Since 2003, the Liff Fund has raised $10.3 million to support the Emerald Necklace’s renewal initiatives, including major capital improvements such as the restoration of the Kelleher Rose Garden and Fountain; the Olmsted Tree Society’s urban forest management work, tree care, new planting and soil work; and new water fountain/bottle fillers, pathways and footbridges, signage and park furniture.

All photos by Bill Brett

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