Fun Was in Bloom at the 20th Annual Gala In The Garden

Benefiting Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Paul and Swanee DiMare

Guests of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s 20th annual Gala in the Garden fundraiser enjoyed a truly unforgettable evening of dining and dancing. The black-tie event drew a crowd of more than 400 generous South Florida philanthropists dedicated to supporting Fairchild’s programs in conservation science, education, horticulture and collection management. Organized by co-chairs Swanee DiMare and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, philanthropy chairs Penny Stamps and Joyce Burns, and the Gala Committee members, this year’s “Botanical Tapestry” themed event transformed the garden into an extraordinary venue with beautiful floral displays.

The night began at 6:30 p.m. on the mosaic in front of the Visitors Center with cocktails sponsored by GREY GOOSE Vodka and colorful hors d’oeuvres like zucchini blossom tempura and herb crepes with caviar. The wide array of items at the silent auction upstairs featured sparkling jewelry, lavish gift baskets, and luxurious getaways like a Seabourn Mediterranean Cruise, a New York City shopping spree and a guided tour of Italy.

Trish and Dan Bell


Around 8:30 p.m., guests moved to the Lakeside Marquee and were met with a truly breathtaking display – orchids entwined on columns and hanging from the ceiling under fringed parasols created by artist Ignacio Goitia and Le Basque party planning. Flower bouquets and candles in all hues adorned the grandiose table centerpieces. Bruce Greer, president of the Board of Trustees, introduced co-chairs Swanee DiMare and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, who welcomed everyone to the event. Le Basque served the dinner, which included an avocado, mango, and tomato salad with pear citrus vinaigrette and either veal medallions with root vegetables and parsnip purée or black truffle pasta with porcini and chanterelle mushrooms. Pain perdu with Idiazabal cheese ice cream was served for dessert.

After the delectable meal, the dance floor filled up in no time as guests moved to the beat of the Soul Survivors Orchestra, who played a broad repertoire of everything from 1970s disco favorite “Dancing Queen” to today’s smash hit “Party Rock Anthem.” The night didn’t end until midnight when the winning bidders collected their auction items and everyone took home blooming orchid party favors.

Notable guests in attendance were Dan and Trish Bell, Tony and Joyce Burns, Paul and Swanee DiMare, Adolfo Henriques, Jorge and Darlene Perez, Lou and Mary Jean Risi, Eugenio and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, and Roe and Penny Stamps.