Shimmering new evening soiree will benefit one of San Antonio's most beloved parks
The San Antonio Parks Foundation throws some of the best parties in the city, and their newest event will transform a local attraction into a dazzling destination for one night only. Called Shimmer in the Garden, the evening fundraiser will see the grounds of the Japanese Tea Garden turned into a twinkling extravaganza, with colorful lanterns hung throughout the park.
The benefit, happening November 16, was inspired by the summer festival, Tanabata, organizers say. The Japanese tradition celebrates the meeting of the amorous deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (astronomically represented by the stars Vega and Altair). Separated by the Milky Way in lore, the lovers are only allowed one meeting per year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the calendar.
Though Shimmer in the Garden doesn’t quite align with the usual observance (summer in San Antonio’s weather doesn’t allow many al fresco meals), the event’s organizers will pay homage to its spirit by decorating the grounds with wishes from guests.
The all-inclusive evening will also feature a reception at 5 pm followed by a lavish spread from the Lawton Family of Restaurants. The family behind San Antonio classics Cappy’s and Cappycino’s took over Jingu House, the park’s restaurant, in 2022.
The evening will also include special host Ann Enkoji. The daughter of Mabel Jingu and Renso Enkoji, Ann Enkoji is a descendent of Kimi Eizo Jingu, whom the city invited to live on the grounds and run the then Bamboo Room restaurant in 1926 until evicting family in 1942 due to anti-Japanese prejudice during World War II.
First built as a rock quarry in the 1800s, the Japanese Tea Garden has delighted visitors since the 1910s. Filled with frolicking koi, tropical plants, and historical faux bois sculptures, it is one of the most visited sites in Brackenridge Park and a true San Antonio treasure.
Though an ambitious restoration in 2007 transformed it into a breathtaking park that thousands of visitors enjoy yearly, it still takes a considerable budget to maintain the landscaping and historical buildings, making the San Antonio Parks Foundation’s fundraising work vital in protecting the city’s cultural heritage.
While individual tickets are unavailable for Shimmer in the Garden, it’s a perfect excuse to gather a few friends for an enchanted evening. Tables of eight can be purchased for $2,500 by emailing email@example.com.