CARMEL - The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department has had many substantial achievements in the last 50 years that deserve a celebration: Potter's Bridge, Morse Beach Park, White River Campground, Cool Creek Nature Center, White River Greenway Trail, Nature Center Greenhouse, Strawtown Koteewi Park, Coxhall Gardens and Conservatory, and dozens of individual park developments.

The park's annual fundraising gala, hosted by Friends of Hamilton County Parks, Inc. is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. May 5, at the Ritz Charles in Carmel.

This year's theme is "5-0h! What a Night" to recognize those accomplishments, thank community stakeholders, and gear up for the work of the next 50 years.

The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department was established in 1967, which is where the gala guests will begin their evening, enjoying the music, games, and cultural activities of the fabulous 1960s. As guests move through the event, they will party through each decade with nostalgic activities, a silent and live auction, cover band, live artistry, and dance performances, while recognizing the park's accomplishments along the way. The evening will conclude with a dinner and program focused on the future of the parks with WISH-TV anchor Scott Sander as the program MC. Guests are encouraged to dress accordingly in their favorite decade themed attire for this traditionally black tie event.

Friends of Hamilton County Parks, Inc. is pleased to welcome once again, Clay Township as its presenting sponsor for this year's gala. This is the largest fundraising event held every year for the parks and significantly contributes to the park's abilities to accomplish annual goals. Proceeds from this year's event will be focused on many developments in the coming years, like the maintenance of the conservatory at Coxhall Gardens and other individual parks.

"We couldn't be more proud of where the last 50 years have taken us, which wouldn't have been possible without the support of so many individuals and organizations, like Clay Township, within this community," said Allen Patterson, Director of Parks for Hamilton County. "This year's gala isn't just for Friends of Hamilton County Parks, Inc. to fundraise for the future but to take a moment to celebrate as a community how far we have come."

To register, donate, or explore the event details, visit