Rooftop party honors local benefactors
by Joycelyne Fadojutimi
Longview Arboretum and Nature Board (LANC) came up with a novel venue for a get-together to recognize its supporters–the organizers did not tell attendees the event’s location. Total secrecy was the watchword in the lead-up to the party as those who were invited were told simply to come to VeraBank in downtown Longview. Nobody who received an invitation even knew what to expect at the extravaganza, much less the location, and were expecting it to be outside the inner city. When they arrived at VeraBank, organizers issued each one a wrist band for alcohol, making the evening even more cryptic.
It was called a Pop-Up Party, and the guests were elevatored to the roof, where they found white leather couches, tables decked out in the manner of high-class Paris, France restaurants and an ambience that was second-to-none. It was a truly, elegant classy event in the wilds of Deep East Texas. Think of an evening spent at the second or third floors of Tours d’Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France – not quite but somewhat for east Texas. The fact remains that Longview has never experienced anything like this Pop-Up Party.
Kimberly Fish described the Pop-Up Party as a novel means of increasing awareness of and support for the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center. This first-time get-together brought in more than $110,000 to finance Phase One of the Arboretum’s master plan while simultaneously entertaining 300 guests who “popped up” in this unlikely venue. This 2019 Pop-Up Party was on the top (fourth) floor of the privately-owned parking garage at the intersection of Green and Tyler streets. VeraBank provided the location to the event planners and improved the property for future use.
Those invited were blessed by perfect spring weather and delighted by jazz musicians from Chicago. The main musical attraction was Marqueal Jordan, whose recent album, Intents and Purpose, is presently for sale on iTunes. Stageworks provided lighting effects while Perfect Catering supplied catering and servers. Tyler Tents and events delivered rentals.
Instead of a live or silent auction, organizers offered up for adoption trees growing in the park, to be provided with a year’s worth of upkeep and feeding. Artist Carol Manley painted portraits of the five trees adopted this year, with images and further adoption opportunities available at LongviewArboretum.org. Board members and LANC Volunteer Guild members put on this event through their energy, creativity and flawless execution in this inaugural production.
Attendees had many expressions to describe their delight with this non-pareil event–“elegant, unique venue of a parking garage, complete surprise, perfect weather, can’t wait for another one of these, right group, best party ever, romantic, the best band to play in Longview, lover’s night, felt like Austin, cannot wait for another one of these, wonder what they will do next, cannot wait, bring it on, am ready.”
Longview Arboretum and Nature Center is a public/private collaboration between the board of directors for the non-profit–Longview Arboretum and Nature Center–and the city of Longview, which owns the grounds of the 26-acre park. The LANC board created and maintains the park’s gardens, trails and various attractions while employing fundraising goals to transform the parcel of land into a delightful workshop for learning about native East Texas trees, shrubs and sundry plants in an outdoor classroom in a beautiful natural setting. There will be programming, exhibits and special events. Because of this year’s extremely rainy spring the park is not expected to open before late summer or early autumn.
To keep abreast of impending events, construction and precise opening dates for Phase One of the Longview Arboretum please visit LongviewArboretum.com to leave your email for the newsletters. Photos and news briefs are also available on the LANC Facebook page.