23rd Annual Gala in the Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Eugenio & Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Swanee & Paul DiMare

More than 400 guests attended the 23rd Annual Gala in the Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, co-chaired by Swanee DiMare and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa with Joyce Burns serving as Philanthropic Chair. Proceeds supported Fairchild’s programs in conservation science, education, and horticulture.

The evening commenced with a cocktail reception surrounded by tropical beauty and a beautiful silent auction in the new Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center. Featured items included luxury vacations, fine jewelry, and designer accessories.

Guests then moved to the Lakeside Marquee and were awestruck by the stunning decor. The venue was bathed in celestial midnight blues with twinkling star-shaped lights shining from the ceiling to match this year’s theme, “Starry, Starry Night.” Moss covered “trees” wrapped in white orchids throughout the room reflected the garden atmosphere.

Board of Trustees President Bruce Greer welcomed guests and thanked this year’s Royal Palm Sponsors: Paul and Swanee DiMare, Tony and Joyce Burns, Lou and Mary Jean Risi, Bunny Bastian, Codina Partners, and Kenneth O’Keefe and Jason Stephens.

Paul DiMare then spoke about the importance of supporting cultural and educational institutions for future generations to enjoy. Among many accomplishments in the past year, Fairchild successfully expanded the Million Orchid Project conservation initiative, continued to offer schoolchildren the opportunity to participate in The Fairchild Challenge environmental education program, and launched a partnership with NASA to help South Florida students research which plants are most suitable for growth during space travel.

Matthew Whitman Lazenby, Angela Whitman, and Kristin Lazenby

A longtime benefactor of Fairchild, Angela Whitman was honored for her continued support of the Garden’s educational endeavors. She and her late husband William “Bill” Whitman, who traveled around the globe searching for rare plants, funded the tropical fruit research program at Fairchild. Thousands of visitors are able to see up close the dozens of rare fruit varieties growing in the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, an experience that few gardens offer.

Le Basque served a gourmet meal consisting of seafood cocktail, rioja braised short rib, and chocolate layered cake. After dinner, everyone packed the dance floor enjoying the upbeat tunes of the Soul Survivors Orchestra. Upon departure, guests received beautiful orchid plants to take home.

Next year’s Gala in the Garden is scheduled for Saturday, February 4, 2017.

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