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Garden party benefits Great Explorations Children's Museum


The grounds were too sodden for lawn games and the synchronized swimmers were unable to put in a full performance, but the show did go on at "Great Extravaganza: The Garden Party," the 1920s-themed bash for Great Explorations Children's Museum.

Development director Beatriz Maxson said about 300 guests gathered under a big tent set up on the grounds at the Rutland-Farley estate, where hosts Michele and Phil Farley invited the crowd indoors for the auction fundraising portion of the evening after the weekend storm brought steady rain.

Dan and Silvia Leeper were co-chairs for the event, leading a committee that included Ann Taylor, Amy Spoor, Torrie Jasuwan, Carey Kleinmetz and the Great Explorations staff, including executive director Angeline Howell.

Plans are on for a follow-up event, "Great Extravaganza: The Garden Party (Take 2) — Different Garden, Different Party." That will take place Oct. 24 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Sunken Gardens, at 1825 Fourth St. N, next to the museum. Those who purchased tickets for the Sept. 27 event will not be charged again; the fee is $75 for all others. The evening will include heavy hors d'oeuvres, drinks, entertainment, lawn games and a silent auction.


The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team, which plans a new journey in January, held its first "Trail Mixer" in the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, with patrons mingling among the many vintage motorcars in the collection.

The benefit, which included food, drink and informational material about the corridor, was to raise money and awareness for the next 1,000-mile effort, which organizers said will start in central Florida, move to the Gulf Coast, go through the Big Bend and traverse the Panhandle to the Florida-Alabama border. The trip is to begin in January.

The group — conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmit, bear biologist Joe Guthrie, cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus and photographer Carlton Ward Jr. — traveled more than 1,000 miles in 100 days in 2012, hoping to build support for the corridor, a conservation effort to connect many of the remaining undeveloped areas of the state.

The event committee included Pamela Adkins, Renee Athey, Bill Chamberlain, Maddie Southard, and hosts Susan and Olivier Cerf.


A story about the Swanky Soiree benefit for Brookwood Florida in the Sept. 26 edition of the St. Pete Times misspelled the name of keynote speaker Ashlie Stevens.