Ray Sander, President of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) at Pepper Creek, thanked SODEL for helping to sustain the DBG community over the last two years with virtual dinners when COVID prevented our annual in-person events. He said, “This is the 10th Anniversary of our first fundraising farm-to-table dinner created by Matt Haley and Sue Ryan at the Good Earth Market. Tonight, our dinner partners have reunited for a glorious celebration of the Gardens. We are indebted to Scott Kammerer and Ronnie Burkle & the amazing SODEL chefs; Derrick Kelley of Bin 66 for their beautifully paired wines; Zack McCarthy and his team for the spectacular tent; Vince Varrassi and the 5th Avenue for their musical virtuosity; and Affairs to Remember for their special outdoor lighting. We have not lost the enthusiasm and high spirits we shared at our last in person dinner in 2019.”
Sander continued, “This year, as they have over the last several years, Ron Bass & George Robbins challenged the guests to match their $25,000 donation. In response to this generous challenge, an additional $38,745 was donated.” The event resulted in $134,155 being raised for DBG operations.”
Sander also took note of the State Legislative supporters, including State Representative Ron Gray, who was at the dinner, and the Sussex County Council members, including Council President Michael H. Vincent and Council member Douglas B. Hudson who were also at the dinner. “The state and council support is vital,” said Sander.
In their remarks, Sheryl Swed, DBG Executive Director, Carol McCloud, DBG Vice President & Stephen Pryce Lea, DBG Director of Horticulture & Education Programs recognized the DBG Board and Advisory Council members and thanked the DBG amazing staff and dedicated volunteers, who make DBG a reality. Swed noted, “This was a special dinner because it marked the ‘Return to the Gardens,’ the annual gathering of our most dedicated supporters and donors to celebrate the Garden’s progress and to recognize the staff and volunteers who make it happen. As a nonprofit, we could not operate without the support of the dedicated volunteers, staff and our generous community supporters. Thank you!”
Scott Kammerer, President of SODEL, who, with his wife Lisa, were honorary Co-Chairs of the dinner. Scott said, that DBG was an important attraction in Sussex County. He called the DBG, ”A hidden gem in Sussex County.”
Among the accolades about the evening were these reactions from Barbara Steele of the Women‘s Journal. She said, “This was a stunning and beautifully planned event. From the champagne greeting, tour of the gardens, unbelievable food and service by SODEL and a warmth and friendly atmosphere under tent. Your volunteer team was amazing. It was magical.”
The DBG is open to the public Thursday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are at 10 a.m. Reservations are desired and can be made at the website www.delawaregardsns.org/tickets. The tickets are $15 for adults and anyone age 16 and under are admitted free of charge, when accompanied by an adult.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens is located at 30220 Piney Neck Road, Dagsboro, DE 19939. Memberships are available by going to delawaregardens.org/membership.
The mission of the Delaware Botanic Gardens is to create a world-class, inspirational, educational, and sustainable public botanic garden in southern Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of all.
Photos: (Photo credits Ray Bojarski)
- Photo cover: Scott Kammerer addresses dinner guests (L to R) Sheryl Swed, DBG Executive Director; Ray Sander, DBG President; and Scott Hammerer, President of SODEL Concepts.