The first Annual Summer Garden Party featuring the award-winning PBS television series, “Downton Abbey,” was held last Friday, June 27, in the Graham Conference Center at Central College.
A total of 250 guests and members enjoyed a typical English Luncheon served by Garden Club spouses, friends and neighbors attired as English butlers in a lovely setting of elegant table linens, period china, and gorgeous floral designs.
The Pella Garden Club, founded in 1963 by 30 charter members, is well known for 50 years of Christmas Open Houses, the Tulip Time Flower Show and bulb sales, as well as many of Pella’s Tulip Lanes and the Blue Star marker in Brinkhoff Park. Civic beautification projects also include landscaping for the Library, the Vermeer Mill, and the Comfort House. The Garden Club also supports Pella’s Dollars for Scholars program, and scholarships for students at Pella High School and Pella Christian High School interested in pursuing studies in horticulture.
Arvin Van Zante, attired and introduced as Mr. Carson, was the Master of Ceremonies. Dan DeCook presented the program, “Behind the Scenes of Downton Abbey with Heritage Lace,” a presentation telling how he and his business partner, Tim Heerema, came to promote Downton Abbey-themed products for Heritage Lace. Davis Folkerts provided piano music of the Downton period, and Central College Catering provided great atmosphere and delicious typical “upstairs” food for the guests and “downstairs” food for the servers, supervised by Tony Bethards, Director of Catering, and Lowell Olivier-Shaw, Conference Coordinator.
The Pella retail community contributed greatly to the success of the event by donating gift certificates and merchandise for which winners were selected by drawings of tickets purchased at the door. There were also drawings for plants and donated items provided by Garden Club members, as well as for the floral table centerpieces they created.