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Column: History center bringing animals Back on the Farm
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
May 08, 2013 05:50 PM | 3087 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Back on the Farm, a casual but elegant party, will take place Friday in the rustic setting of the restored 1847 Smith Family Farm on the Atlanta History Center campus on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead.

The seated dinner of locally sourced food will feature special music and a look at farm life. Animal friends will join the party along with costumed historical interpreters using elements of museum theater to bring drama to the daily farm life scene.

Animals have been missing from the historic farm setting since spring 2011, when chickens were removed, and spring 2009, when sheep were taken off the campus. This generous fundraising effort will provide a true working farm environment featuring animals which would have been present on the property in the first half of the 19th century.

“Funds from this interactive benefit will be used specifically to support a new historic farmer position to ensure the care and historical interpretation of animals and to renovate the existing farm structures the animals will call home,” event chairwoman Sally Dorsey said.

Dedicated sponsors will “adopt” specific animals and housing such as a barn or chicken coop, a sheep or flock of chickens, even a cat — with a sense of fun and realistic history interpretations.

The nonprofit center is an all-inclusive, 33-acre campus and one of the Southeast’s largest history museums. Besides the Smith Farm area, it includes the elegant 1920s Swan House mansion, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, the Kenan Research Center; the Grand Overlook event space, Chick-fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café and a museum shop, plus acres of historic gardens. The center also operates the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum in Midtown.

Tickets and information: (404) 814-4102 or visit

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Nature lovers are invited to the starlight Rockin’ at the River celebration at the Chattahoochee Nature Center on Willeo Road in Roswell Saturday to socialize and meet community leaders responsible for making Atlanta a greener and healthier place to live. Patrons and sponsors will arrive early for a VIP reception on the plaza.

Guests will begin their indoor-outdoor party evening in Kingfisher Hall with signature cocktails by Grand Marnier and fabulous food catered by The Avenue. The awe-inspiring natural setting will be enhanced with live music and starry-night lights as guests migrate through the beautifully landscaped gardens to the Ben Brady Lakeside Pavilion for coffee, dessert and dancing to the Mike Veal Band on the waterfront.

This year the center’s trustees have selected Georgia Power Co. and the nonprofit Georgia Power Foundation Inc. to receive the 2013 Community Partner Award.

“Georgia Power and their foundation were the first corporate partners to back our successful capital campaign-sponsoring the Wetlands exhibit in the new Discovery Center,” center Executive Director Ann Bergstrom said. “They have continued to give generous financial support and assist with a myriad of projects to enhance visitors’ experience at the center and come to our rescue on projects of rebuilding and eradicating problems. It is with profound appreciation and gratitude that we present Georgia Power and their nonprofit Foundation our Community Partner Award.”

Overall event chairwoman Kathi Wurzel is joined by committed trustees serving on special party committees including: Lisa Hyde, entertainment; Lou Tabickman and Jon McKee, silent auction; Bob Hagan, food; and Ron Miller, beverage.

Gala proceeds will provide crucial operating funds for the center’s environment learning programs, horticulture and wildlife services. It is the Southeast’s oldest and largest private, nonprofit natural science learning center. Located and focused on the Chattahoochee River, the center’s overall mission is to provide unique learning experiences and connect people to the natural world and empower them to positively impact local environments.

Tickets and information: (770) 992-2055, ext. 226 or visit

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JDRF’s Hope for a Cure Gala Saturday at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead has a 2013 theme of “Keep Believing.” Funds raised will be earmarked for worldwide research on Type 1 diabetes.

For the fifth year in a row, the annual event will have former WSB-TV anchors John Pruitt and Monica Pearson as the emcees.

The black-tie soiree will begin with a cocktail party and progress to a seated ballroom dinner with elegant décor designed by Barbara Roos and Chris Macksey. Extensive live and silent auctions will add to the fundraising aspects.

The 2013 Living and Giving Award will be presented to Carter and John Hipp for their 18-year exceptional local and national service dedicated to the foundation’s mission to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Co-chairs for the evening are: Meg and Jeff Arnold and Pam and Bobby Kaufmann.

Formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, JDRF is the leading global organization focused on Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly and lasts a lifetime. Insulin is not a cure for Type 1, nor does it prevent potential complications.

Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents and adults with this disease, the nonprofit JDRF is now the world’s largest charitable supporter of Type 1 diabetes research. In addition to the search for a cure, treatment and prevention, the Georgia chapter provides critical emotional support and educational resources through a public outreach program.  

Tickets and information: (404) 420-5996 or visit

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The metro Atlanta technology community has organized a volunteer partnership dedicated to leveraging technology to empower the nonprofits that impact the nation. Atlanta volunteer members of TechBridge, a nonprofit, offer IT consulting and outsourcing to all metro-area nonprofits to help them harness connections with the skills and financial resources of the technology community.

Saturday, the Digital Ball at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis downtown will recognize leaders in the technology community as it raises funds for TechBridge programs. The 2013 Technology Innovation Award will be announced during the evening’s festivities.

Chaired by Lisa McVey, CIO of McKesson Provider Technologies, and Ed Steinike, vice president and CIO of The Coca-Cola Co., the benefit will unite and energize leaders and supporters of business, IT and nonprofits.

“The Digital Ball series of events brings together an unsurpassed group of technology leaders who channel their skills and resources through TechBridge for maximum impact on our entire community,” Steinike said.

Tickets and information: (404) 879-5412 or visit

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A beautiful day wandering in wondrous gardens is a lovely Mother’s Day gift idea courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown.

The 2013 annual Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour, set for Saturday and Sunday, will spotlight 11 outstanding private gardens in the metro area plus a bonus garden at the Atlanta Symphony Associates’ Decorators Show House and Gardens, which is open during the Mother’s Day weekend.

This marks the 29th year for the garden to showcase a selection of private horticultural wonders in metro Atlanta. The tour will delight serious enthusiasts as well as the “garden curious.”

Designed and planted by talented landscape architects, garden designers and local homeowners, the selections range from tranquil native woodland settings to intimate urban oases, grand estates to homey gardener’s plantings and even edible landscapes. Pat King is the overall chairwoman for the 2013 tours.

The ticketed, self-guided tours are open from 10 a. m. to 5 p.m. both days. You can check address locations and your route on the website (see below).

Funds from tour tickets go toward the nonprofit garden’s mission to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research and conservation on its campus.

Tickets and information: (404) 585-2062 or visit

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The Atlanta Music Club is concluding its 2012-13 season with an annual outreach luncheon May 15 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown.

Beginning in 1915, the venerable community music organization has had an illustrious history of identifying and supporting musical talent and interest in greater Atlanta.

Its achievements include: the founding of the All-Star Concert Series with music celebrities, establishing of the Choral Guild of Atlanta and the Atlanta Youth Orchestra, music performance scholarship programs for high school, undergraduate and graduate levels and monthly morning musicales in public venues. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was a direct outgrowth of the Atlanta Youth Orchestra in 1944.

The formal luncheon will include a brief live musical program and a review of 2012-13 goals and financial needs for the coming seasons.

The music-appreciating public is invited to join in the efforts to expand resources as the nonprofit club looks to support the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra, increases its scholarship base, discover new performing ensembles, present lectures and seminars in the professional and public sector and work with public and private schools to maximize future music opportunities.

Reservations and information: (404) 872-9670 or visit

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It’s that time of year when Atlanta’s dual residents of Georgia and North Carolina invite friends and neighbors to join year-round and seasonal ones for a festive dine-and-wine weekend in support of The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands, N.C.

May 16 through 18, the annual Collective Spirits weekend will offer a series of private home dining and wine experiences, including educational seminars and a marketplace for award-winning vintners to offer hard-to-find-wines for sale.

The three-day series starts with award-winning chef-designed dinners in private homes Thursday, includes educational wine-tasting seminars and a public wine tasting and market Friday and concludes with a gala finale dinner and wine auction Saturday at the Highlands Country Club.

Northside patrons of the Bascom gathered for a kickoff party at the Buckhead home of Dr. Bill Torres and Jack Sawyer in January to generate participation in the festive mountain weekend. Key committee members and sponsors are: Sharon and Chip Shirley, Marcia and John Donnell, Sandy and Jim Dixon, Cynthia and Bill Voyles, Gail and Tim Hughes, Georgia and Diff Ritchie and Rebecca Bily.

Funds from the weekend activities will go to enrich the nonprofit Bascom’s regional programs. Founded in 2009 high on a mountain plateau, the 6-acre, six-building art campus is open year-round, offers free general admission and provides audiences of all ages with stimulating, diverse exhibitions, studio art instruction and other cultural experiences.

Tickets and information: (404) 822-3788 or visit

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Renowned historian and author Phil Nordyke will share highlights of his six books about World War II and the 82nd Airborne Division at the Atlanta World War II Round Table luncheon May 16 at Petite Auberge restaurant on North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb County.

Nordyke, a Texan, is a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry, working for such companies as Cisco Systems, Xerox and Texas Instruments. Along the way he has penned books about the war and its heroes. The latest, released in August, is titled: “Put us Down in Hell: The Combat History of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II.”

He serves as the historian for the World War II 505th Regimental Combat Team Association, and has received special recognition from the Army Historical Foundation and the Military Book Club.

Organized in 1986, the nonprofit round table’s diverse membership includes men and women, retired officers and enlisted personnel from all branches of the military and family and friends who gather to share and remember.    

Members meet 10 times a year, September through June, for lunch and patriotic presentations. No reservations are required. The meetings are open for a nominal $15 luncheon cost to members, families, non-members and anyone interested in preserving history.

Information: (770) 436-4254 or visit

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The Hope on the Horizon symposium and luncheon May 16 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown brings together three influential nonprofits to raise awareness and funds to find treatments for, detect, prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Co-hosts are Leonard A. Lauder, chairman of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and chair-emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies, and Mary Rose Taylor, founding member of the Alzheimer’s Society of Atlanta and also a foundation board member.

Founded in 1998 by Sarah Clarke and Sarah Kennedy, the society raises awareness about Alzheimer’s and funds research efforts toward a cure. It also provides educational and emotional support for people with the disease and their families.

The foundation was started by Leonard and his brother Ronald in 1998 with the mission to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging.

The affair will honor Buckhead resident Dan Carithers, an internationally renowned interior designer living with Alzheimer’s.

Howard Fillit, MD, the foundation’s executive director and chief scientific officer, will lead the symposium, titled Alzheimer’s Disease: A Progress Report. Allan I. Levey, MD, PhD, director of Emory University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in DeKalb County and chairman of Emory’s Department of Neurology. The center is the only recognized comprehensive Alzheimer’s research facility in the Southeast dedicated to improving lives affected by Alzheimer’s and related diseases.  Jaye Watson of NBC’s 11 Alive will act as emcee for the onstage interview with Fillit and Levey.

The host committee’s honorary chairwoman is Anne Cox Chambers, and interior designer Bunny Williams is serving as its chairwoman. Northsiders taking leading roles on the committee are: Nita and Mack Robinson, Anne and Peter Hennessy, Betsy and Mark West and Elizabeth Allen.

One hundred percent of the funds from the collaborative effort will go to support the center’s promising ongoing Alzheimer’s drug research.

Tickets and information: (404) 888-1332 or visit

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