From left, Christy Wiegand, Charlene Petrelli, Meg Cheever, Kiya Tomlin, Emily Mack Jamison and Ramsey Lyons.
Artist and florist, Leon
Marilee Meyer with daughter, Brittany.
Gene Smith has been attending the hat lunches since the beginning.
From left, Tim McVay, Catherine Loevner and David Bush.
Charlie and Latasha Wilson Batch.
Will Tolliver and Taiji Nelson.
Dan Gilman with Deb Acklin.
Jessica O'Brien and Dana Fruzynski.
Scott Cunningham and Meg Cheever.
Fifth Avenue Strings Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Mollie Hanna Lang.
From left, Dan Taylor and Dan DelBianco.
Keri Harmicar, left, with Vivian Benter
Fred and Lana Neumeyer.
From lelft, Carole Kamin, Jackie Dixon and Christine Chopra.
Mary Anne Papale
From left, Mary McKinney, Kristi Wells and Laura Dawson.
By Natalie Bencivenga / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
People often ask me what it is like to be the SEEN editor. The PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy 2016 Spring Hat Luncheon is a whirlwind of a day, and the perfect opportunity to share what it’s like to cover this much-beloved event.
Saturday, 6:30 a.m.: Rise and shine! It’s going to be a busy day as I hurry to get ready and head down to Izzazu Salon, Spa & Serata, Downtown, for hair and make-up.
9:15 a.m.: Style editor Sara Bauknecht and I sit in hair and makeup at Izzazu’s, going over ideas for the special “Setting the SEEN” pink carpet webisode that will greet guests at the event. They will be able to walk our carpet, get photos and be interviewed by us for the show.
10:45 a.m.: We race over to Frick Park in Point Breeze where the luncheon will be and the weather gods have smiled on us! There isn’t a cloud in the sky as we greet event chairs Kiya Tomlin, Emily Mack Jamison, Ramsey Lyons, Charlene Petrelli and Christy Wiegand before taking our places in the tent and doing a sound test in preparation for starting the show.
11:17 a.m.: We interview Pittsburgh-based milliner Gina Mazzotta about the 12 (count ’em) 12 hats she worked on for today’s event. “It’s thrilling!” she said wearing her own cinnamon-colored veiled creation.
11:26 a.m.: Demeatria Boccella and Roseanne Wholey step up to be interviewed and talk about their DIY hats. Ms. Boccella’s has created hers from a corset and her daughter’s scrunchie.
11:40 a.m.: A sold-out crowd of 600 guests are mixing and mingling in the gorgeous weather, including Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy president and CEO Meg Cheever, Vivian Benter, Charlie and Latasha Wilson Batch, Fred and Lana Neumeyer, John and Donna Peterman, Mark Flaherty and Mary McKinney, Marc Giosi, Keri Harmicar, Vera Purcell, Gabriela Porges and Deb Caplan.
12:10 p.m.: The gong signals lunch, but people are still lined up waiting for their photo op…
12:26 p.m.: Sara and I sneak into the tent and take our seats, just in time to hear Ms. Cheever say, “In the past 20 years, the Parks Conservancy has raised more than $92 million and completed 14 major projects.”
1:20 p.m.: Event emcee Sally Wiggin from WTAE-TV asks the crowd to wave at her as she takes a “Selfie With Sally” before Guy Costa takes the stage to discuss how he feels about his 17th hat luncheon: “At the first one, I was one of five men at the whole event … now I’m one of five men just at my table!”
1:36 p.m.: The event chairs are invited on stage to receive honorary butterflies that will be named after them for a permanent wall display at the new Frick Environmental Center on Beechwood Boulevard. If you want a butterfly to be named in someone’s honor, go to: pittsburghparks.org
1:50 p.m.: The Duquesne Club serves a delightful lunch, including a chilled carrot and garam masala soup and the much-loved macaroons.
2:20 p.m.: The event comes to an end raising close to $510,000 for the city’s parks. Then the work begins for Sara and I to spend the next several hours editing the “Setting the SEEN Live From the Pink Carpet” show.
Save the date: Next year’s event will be on May 6, 2017 at Schenley Park.
#SEEN: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Councilman Dan Gilman, Elise Frick, Laura Dawson, Melanie Crockard, Carole Kamin, Jackie Dixon, Larry Leahy, Tom Paulin, Christine Haas, Dick Wilford, Catherine Loevner with daughter Dianna and Cher Kotovsky.
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