A Gala at the Palace of Fine Arts: Party for the Parks 2015

A Gala at the Palace of Fine Arts: Party for the Parks 2015

I love a good gala! Sadly I’ve been going to fewer ever since the San Francisco Symphony disappointingly cancelled the biannual Black & White Ball (maybe it will come back someday).  So Rob and I jumped at the chance to combine work and pleasure on our anniversary at the Parks Alliance Party for the Parks gala.  His volunteer work with SF Urban Riders is funded under the Parks Alliance umbrella.

Party for the Parks 2015

Rob’s volunteer work with SF Urban Riders is funded under the Parks Alliance umbrella. A fantastic non-profit that supports green spaces and playgrounds all across the city. We dressed up for the cocktail-attire party: me in a vintage white lace shift with big chandelier earrings and even bigger false eyelashes, Rob in his nice wool Ted Baker suit. It was one of those perfect, uncharacteristically hot fall evenings when we arrived at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Palace of Fine ArtsAfter a long line for drinks – where we met a nice couple who run a playground equipment business – we went for the sustainable caviar tasting inside the hall. That’s a pinch of tingly sichuan button to the right on the bamboo spoon to roll on your tongue first.

sichuan flower and caviar
The sun set and the Palace of Fine Arts lit up dramatically with a cozy clear tent underneath. This gorgeous pergola was constructed as part of the 1915 World’s Fair, less than 10 years after the big 1906 earthquake decimated the city.

Party for the Parks tents at MarinaDinner was served inside the tent at a series of themed stations: steamed dumplings including one shaped like goldfish, sushi plates in endless combinations, sliders, a mashed potato bar with about 15 choices of toppings served in martini glasses and a fresh salad spread that I don’t think anyone looked at twice.

Sushi at Party for the Parks

A good DJ played a fun mix of all the latest pop songs while we ate and mingled. My secret to success at this kind of event – where you don’t know anyone! – is to pretend that you’re the host of the party. It makes it much easier to go up to someone and ask if they’re having a good time, if this is their first time attending, how their drink tastes, where they got their outfit. I made all kinds of new friends at the party. It was a nice mix of civic employees, fancy trust-fund people and lawyer/real estate types who’s kids use the soccer fields.

Party for the Parks TentWe had someone take our photo while we browsed the silent auction of photography taken in San Francisco natural areas and parks.

Party for the Parks photo

Despite having a very long day before this gala – including volunteer trail building with Sutro Stewards and manning the SF Urban Riders booth at Tour de Fat – we made it all the way to the end of the party.

Parks Alliance gala tent

The party photographer caught us out on the patio right before Rob and I decided to head home. Those dahlia centerpieces are so special – the Parks Alliance gets a special dispensation to cut the flowers from the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park just for the event. Not only the official flower of the city – that dahlia garden has been volunteer maintained since the 1920s. I  brought home a few stems and they lasted a full week in the dining room.

Dahlias from Golden Gate Park

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Website: EmilyStyle

I'm an adventurer and founder of a brand strategy studio. I'm so lucky to work abroad for a couple months each year. Weekly dinner parties and picking what to wear when I'm at home in San Francisco. I love a tough challenge, email [email protected] to reach me.

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. jen at 11:12 am

    OK, I just got the best social hint ever, to pretend you are the host of the party. I’m trying it out next week. Nice that you are a fit for vintage fancy clothing.

    • MrsEm Author at 2:06 pm

      It works like a dream! Good luck at your party next week, Jen.

  2. May at 3:37 pm

    Beautiful gala! You two are a stunning couple.

  3. Gregory Monroe at 9:25 am

    I have to agree, your trick for talking to strangers at social events sounds excellent. Having that frame of mind before hand should put me more at ease. By the way you both look fabulous!

    • MrsEm Author at 10:35 am

      Thanks Greg! With your friendly personality, I’m sure you never have issue mingling at parties!