HughE Dillon: Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Union League

At this year's fundraiser, hats were all the rage

Yesterday, I attended the 45th Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Union League. Nearly 400 ladies-who-lunch were smartly dressed, and a few even wore their finest millinery creations for the event. It was as if I had been transported back to the days of the Philadelphia Story, and I expected to see Katharine Hepburn at the other end of the room. Everything was very elegant and proper; we even said the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Mrs. Thomas N. Pappas, and sang the National Anthem, along with Mrs. David Lee Hain, soloist and member of the Union League Glee Club. (Following proper society tradition, names listed in the program used the husband’s name.)

Since 1989, the luncheon has been a means to raise funds to assist with the college education of talented young students. Below: Lynne Ballen, tombola and grand-prize chairperson, and Carol Thaler Roberts, luncheon co-chair, conduct the raffle for the big prizes. The raffles were quite ambitious with tombola prizes under categories like Playbill (tickets to the Walnut Street Theatre, a Playbill handbag, and dinner gift certificates), and a Taste of Europe (dinner for two at Le Bec-Fin, four bottles of Beaujolais Villages wine, and a bottle of 2000 Chateau Arnauld Imperial, which alone was $350).

Below: Madeline Martin, Kristin Alexander, Suzanne Olah and Kelly Erb loved the committee’s suggestion for the ladies to wear hats this year.

Below: Cecily Sobota, Eleanor Howard and Ceil Frack were looking forward to the lunchtime fashion show. I’d say they were fairly fashionable already.

Below: Amy Mader, director of human resources at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Carol Thaler Roberts, Erika Roberts, Lynsie Solomon, Sylvia Feinberg, and Tracy Clovis, the baker who donated the cutest pocketbook-shaped cookies to the luncheon for part of the dessert.

Below: Nancy Minnick, May Ballantyne, Suzanne Lavins and Suzanne Lampe.

Below: Marie Hughes, right, loves this annual event. “It’s good to see old friends,” she told me, and “even more delightful to see the next generation of young women getting involved in the event.” Peggy Myers said, “It’s a glorious day in a magnificent building. Don’t you think?”

Below: Sherri Savitt, partner at Berger & Montague, Renee Freeman, Freeman Interiors, Joan Carter, the 67th president of the Union League and the first woman to hold the post in the club’s 148-year history, and Karen Hoffmann.

Below: Another highlight of the lunch was the Neiman Marcus fashion show. The ladies were enthusiastic, giving their approval for the fashion they enjoyed, or refraining from applause for outfits that just didn’t excite them.

Below: My new best friends, Rosemary Curran, Elizabeth McDonald, Honor Janez and Carolyn Slota.

Below: Harriet Disston and Eleanor Medoff.

Below: Cheryl Tonetta, Carmella Muller, Debbie Tingwad, Mika Harding, Lisa Caruso, Susan Mahon and Nancy Lucas.

HughE Dillon covers parties, events and more for the Philly Post. You can follow him on Twitter @iPhillyChitChat and visit his daily online social diary at