23rd Annual Gala in the Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Eugenio & Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Swanee & Paul DiMare

Matthew Whitman Lazenby, Angela Whitman, and Kristin Lazenby

More than 400 guests attended the 23rd Annual Gala in the Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, co-chaired by Swanee DiMare and Frances Sevilla-Sacasa with Joyce Burns serving as Philanthropic Chair. Proceeds supported Fairchild’s programs in conservation science, education, and horticulture.

The evening commenced with a cocktail reception surrounded by tropical beauty and a beautiful silent auction in the new Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center. Featured items included luxury vacations, fine jewelry, and designer accessories.

Guests then moved to the Lakeside Marquee and were awestruck by the stunning decor. The venue was bathed in celestial midnight blues with twinkling star-shaped lights shining from the ceiling to match this year’s theme, “Starry, Starry Night.” Moss covered “trees” wrapped in white orchids throughout the room reflected the garden atmosphere.

Board of Trustees President Bruce Greer welcomed guests and thanked this year’s Royal Palm Sponsors: Paul and Swanee DiMare, Tony and Joyce Burns, Lou and Mary Jean Risi, Bunny Bastian, Codina Partners, and Kenneth O’Keefe and Jason Stephens.

Paul DiMare then spoke about the importance of supporting cultural and educational institutions for future generations to enjoy. Among many accomplishments in the past year, Fairchild successfully expanded the Million Orchid Project conservation initiative, continued to offer schoolchildren the opportunity to participate in The Fairchild Challenge environmental education program, and launched a partnership with NASA to help South Florida students research which plants are most suitable for growth during space travel.

A longtime benefactor of Fairchild, Angela Whitman was honored for her continued support of the Garden’s educational endeavors. She and her late husband William “Bill” Whitman, who traveled around the globe searching for rare plants, funded the tropical fruit research program at Fairchild. Thousands of visitors are able to see up close the dozens of rare fruit varieties growing in the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, an experience that few gardens offer.

Le Basque served a gourmet meal consisting of seafood cocktail, rioja braised short rib, and chocolate layered cake. After dinner, everyone packed the dance floor enjoying the upbeat tunes of the Soul Survivors Orchestra. Upon departure, guests received beautiful orchid plants to take home.

Next year’s Gala in the Garden is scheduled for Saturday, February 4, 2017.

Mayda Cisneros, Kristin Ducote, Tara Solomon, Barbara Hevia, Daniela Swaebe, Criselda Breene, Suzy Buckley Woodward

Rudy & Lydia Touzet

Frances Sevilla-Sacasa and Swanee DiMare

Stefan & Daysi Johansson, Christina & Juan Carlos Casas

Tony & Joyce Burns

Robert & Ana Codina Barlick

Margaret & Mike Eidson

James Murphy, Bunny Bastian, Raphael Bastian, and James Boink

Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Lydia Touzet, and Daysi Johansson

Judy Kramer, Olga Guilarte, Bronwyn Miller, and Maria Rachadell

Alejandro Aguirre and Lin Lougheed

Soul Survivors Orchestra

Frances & Eugenio Sevilla-Sacasa

Nannette Zapata, Evelyn & Bruce Greer

Trish & Dan Bell

Penny & Roe Stamps

Mary Jean & Lou Risi

Lakeside Marquee

Terry Buoniconti and Chris Pedersen dancing

Barbara Hevia, Margaret Eidson, and Jenny Parker

Brenda Nestor Castellano and Kim Wood

Kenneth O'Keefe and Jason Stephens

Albert & Jane Nahmad

Carl & Susanne Lewis

Paul & Swanee DiMare

Lakeside Marquee

On the dance floor

The Silent Auction