Co-chairs Julie Fuller and Heather Mabee welcomed almost 350 fashionable supporters in from the early summer heat. From her table near the entrance, Mabee’s mother, Saratoga 150 Honorary Chair Marylou Whitney greeted all who passed with her iconic grace. Seen chatting with the Grand Dame of Saratoga were Michele Riggi and daughter Roslyn Zecchini (a recent “40 Under 40” Business Review honoree), Patty Riggi, Beth Alexander, Margie Rotchford and Natalie Sillery.
Also spotted were last year’s chairs, Julie Johnson and Michele Funiciello, with fellow Mission members Susan Halstead, Colleen Carlson, Barbara Ferraro and Christa Lance. The ladies cooled off with champagne toasts and admired the creations displayed by local boutiques like Eve’s Accessories. Lisa Sondoff, Julie Law, Jill DeAnzeris and Margaret Keeney tried on several headpieces from Little Red Millinery with the help of designers Caroline Blake and Kristen Corcoran, while Danielle Patane helped Lisa Vitiello find the right chapeau from Encounter.
On either side of the hall, unique containers, clay pots and baskets held dish gardens, porch geraniums, ferns and more, many adorned with silk butterflies and sweet songbirds. Offering a fresh start for summer meals, there was even a two-foot high ceramic patio planter, complete with a tomato plant and complementing herbs. Chelsea Silver, Amy Snider, Kelly Hite, Rachel Uccellini and Lisa Noonan checked bids on the signature plant auction throughout the afternoon. In the end, Heather Straughter was thrilled to be one of the ‘winners,’ taking home an oversized wooden birdhouse for her newly redesigned backyard.
The talented culinary team at Mazzone Hospitality prepared a delicious luncheon menu. After starting with a creamy, tomato basil soup, the main course salad was served in individual, large glass cubes mimicking vases. Crisp greens were topped with grilled chicken, beans and goat cheese, accompanied by shrimp brochette. A glass test tube held dressing on the side, capped with an edible flower. Mazzone’s presentation was impeccable and perfectly in theme. Petite cups of chocolate mousse, garnished with raspberries, provided a sweet ending to the meal.
A highlight of the event came when Jean Tarrant and Mylea Aldrich, both committee members, announced the Flower and Fruit Mission’s Philly Dake Memorial Award. Named in memory of the noted philanthropist, a long-time member of the Mission, the scholarship will be presented each year to a high school senior whose volunteer efforts personify the example set by Dake. Angelo Calbone, President and CEO of Saratoga Hospital, joined Tarrant and Aldrich to congratulate the inaugural recipient, Melissa Podkulski, who has gone above and beyond volunteering for both the hospital and Wesley Nursing Home. She will attend RIT in the fall.
Immediately following the scholarship announcement, the committee pulled the day’s raffle winners. Teddy Foster was the classic Flower and Fruit money hat, crafted of one-hundred $1 bills. Tarrant’s ticket was drawn for one of the two baskets featuring ‘All Things Saratoga.’ She generously passed it on to Podkulski, an extra gift for the day’s honoree to share with her mom, Shirley.
The three-hour fete was another outstanding success for the Flower and Fruit Mission, perhaps even their best yet. Mary Solomons, Elizabeth Macy, Katie Clark, Melissa Zieker, Traci Jersen, Michele Curry and Megan Boden were among the delighted donors who lingered as festivities slowly came to a close.
Since 1904, the Flower and Fruit Mission, a completely volunteer-driven organization, has raised funds to support maternity services at Saratoga Hospital. Their tireless efforts benefit the William J. Hickey Women’s Services Unit and provide scholarships for advanced nursing education. With 35 active members and eleven associate members, including two volunteers who have served for more than 50 years, the Mission has contributed over $1.25 million. Most recently, they supported the purchase of a Noelle Mother and Infant Simulator, allowing staff to run practice drills of obstetric and neonatal situations with computerized results. Proceeds from Tuesday’s luncheon will help benefit the purchase of a Jacuzzi for the hydrotherapy room.
Shaking Up Support for UPH
A crowd of 250 chilled on the veranda of Saratoga National Golf Club this past Wednesday evening, May 22, at the first annual UPH Celebrity Bartender Party. The lively benefit raised generous tips to support the development of Universal Preservation Hall as a thriving venue for the performing arts and community events. Among the 21 movers and shakers mixing it up were Garland Nelson, Julie and Sonny Bonacio, Ann Marie and Frankie Flores, Ardie and Dan Russell, Brendan Flanigan and Proctor’s Theatre CEO Philip Morris.
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The Events to RSVP for Next Week
Kick off summer at one of the two fun fundraisers taking place next Thursday, May 30. Both support worthwhile causes for Saratogians, young and old.
Across town at the Saratoga Polo Field, the Adult & Senior Center of Saratoga holds its third annual Music, Models & Mingling, also starting at 6:30 p.m. Featuring food and drink by Old Daley Inn, the party will showcase music by Grand Central Station, tarot card readings, cigar tastings and a photo booth. Fashion inspirations will be provided by Aggie Mullaney, Life Rocks Jewelry, Saratoga Saddlery and Saratoga Trunk. Reservations are $100 per person; call (518) 584-1621 or visit www.saratogaseniorcenter.org.