S.D.Botanic Garden Invites You to their 19th Annual Gala in the Garden

July 26, 2018


sd-botanical-gardensWhat makes San Diego Botanic Garden’s (SDBG) annual gala so special? For starters, there are no ballroom walls! Spread throughout several lovely gardens that fluctuate from year to year, guests meander while enjoying fine food from more than 40 top restaurants and caterers in our region. Along the way, they enjoy a variety of wine, beer and spirits (included in the ticket cost) and listen to a different musical entertainment throughout the garden. Surprises are in store yearly. Attendees also experience the garden going from day to night and many enjoy the ocean view sunset from the Herb garden each year while rocking out to the band there. To understand why many people have dubbed this “the best gala in town,” we must go back 19 years to the very first gala.

Jim Farley, president and CEO of Leichtag Foundation was board chair in 1999. Together with Julian Duval, then and still the president and CEO, they hatched the plan for the event. They established the Paul Ecke, Jr. Award in conjunction with the fundraiser in order to honor a person of significant horticultural impact in the region. That year, the honoree was Chuck Ades, a local grower who was much loved by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

The first gala raised $100,000 for the garden, very important because the organization had recently transitioned from being entirely funded by the County of San Diego to becoming a self-sustaining nonprofit entity. Nineteen years ago, such proceeds were very high, especially given that the number of guests totaled 100.

Fast forward to last year’s “Gala in the Garden.” The event grossed more than $600,000 with 600 attendees. The event’s fund-a-need project raised the final dollars needed for the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory, a new facility under construction that will bring the rainforest canopy up close for visitors.

This year’s event promises an exciting evening including a new “after party” and other surprises you will experience that night! With CEO Duval heading into retirement in January after 24 years of leading the garden, he was selected to receive the Paul Ecke, Jr. Award.  For the first time, an Honorary Host Committee has been established that is chaired by a dedicated group of dear garden friends, led by Jim Farley.

The “Gala in the Garden” is chaired by former SDBG board member Jim Ruecker, Rene Van Rems and Sabrina Cadini who have led the event for a number of years running. Artistic Director Van Rems is known for his exquisite floral creations assembled with a large team of volunteers using 10,000 stems each year.

Duval shared, “I hope folks will choose to come to our gala because what makes it so special is that it is outside in this beautiful place.  We also just know how to throw a very fun party with plenty of entertainment, food and libations! With surprises such as our 18-foot living vines last year. We often hear that this is the one gala people do not miss!”

The gala is on Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. Proceeds support the San Diego Botanic Garden. Tickets are $225 and sponsorships begin at $1,000. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, go to sdbgarden.org or contact Susan Parker at sparker@sdbgarden.org and please add Gala Inquiry in the subject or you may call her at (760) 436-3036, ext. 217.


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