Fairchild’s Gala Gals

Brenda Castellanos and Swanee DiMare

What are Gala Gals? Ask any organization that hosts fundraisers and charity balls and they’ll probably define Gala Gals as the women who make their events fabulously successful. They are philanthropic, connected, organized and committed. Their rolodexes have the private numbers of every South Florida VIP and their closets are crammed with ball gowns, little black dresses and quite possibly every Judith Leiber cocktail bag ever designed. They can put together four tables of 10 with two phone calls, or throw an elaborate dinner party for a visiting dignitary with their eyes closed. They are the epitome of everything that is Social in Miami.

Meet Brenda Castellanos and Swanee DiMare, two sought-after Gala Gals who are co-chairing A Tropical Night in Paradise, Fairchild Garden’s annual gala set for February 3rd. They allowed SocialMiami.com a sneak-peak as they prepare to host some 450 guests for an elegant evening inspired by Fairchild’s magnificent tropical setting.

“Fairchild is like no other venue in South Florida,” says an exuberant Swanee. She and husband, Paul, got involved with Fairchild some 16-years-ago when they were invited to take a tour. “We were totally captivated by the beauty of the garden and have been active supporters ever since.”

Brenda’s and Robert’s involvement is more recent. They were introduced to Fairchild in 2002, and Brenda fell in love with the venue’s natural beauty. “My efforts on behalf of Fairchild are to ensure a successful event that benefits the garden in maintaining its beauty and scientific research program,” she explains.

Swanee and Brenda have been planning the 2007 gala for nearly a year. The famed Peter Duchin Orchestra is onboard and Le Basque is responsible for food and décor. Staying true to their theme and color palette of persimmon, orange and gold, Le Basque will lavish the setting with thousands of roses. Our two Gala Gals will immediately have the flowers delivered to area hospitals following the event.

Coincidentally, both chairs will be wearing gowns by Vicky Teal to the Fairchild gala, and both list Chanel Boutique as a favorite source for beautiful, classic evening clothes. They preview designer collections at the beginning of the season and are often invited to wear designer gowns and jewels. Neither of the ladies “borrow,” and Swanee quips “My husband is my jeweler and he does a fabulous job!”

The February 3rd event is certain to be glorious and grand. Both women know the ingredients for success – planning, a great location and fabulous food. Dinner is alfresco and will take place in a magnificent tent located in the garden. Events seldom get much better than that, and with charity veterans like Swanee and Brenda at the helm, A Tropical Night in Paradise guarantees to live up to its title!

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