Annual Hat Luncheon Recap
Written and Photographed By Kristen Weber
"This event is a feast for the eyes with all these fabulous hats. I thought mine was good but I underestimated what I was walking into,” said Courtney Bryant, this year’s emcee of the 28th annual Hat Luncheon held at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. The KMOV anchor said it was her first time at the event, but there were many repeat attendees among the more than 1,000 guests.
It was hats galore and fabulous weather for the sold-out luncheon, which is the largest event and fundraiser for Forest Park Forever. More than $450,000 was raised to support critical maintenance of Forest Park. Guests took a walk down the runway before the table of judges in anticipation of winning prizes for their elegant and extraordinary hats.
Bryant shared the stage with Mayor Lyda Krewson, Forest Park Forever Board Chair Larry Thomas, and Forest Park Forever President and Executive Director Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E. The nonprofit conservancy maintains Forest Park with the City of St. Louis; raises funds for and helps manage capital restoration projects; delivers experimental educational opportunities to teachers, students, and adults; and provides information and guides for the Park’s 13 million annual visitors.
“We love this event and it is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Hoffarth. “It truly exhibits the support Forest Park Forever receives and shows the importance to take care of our beautiful park.”