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Column: Circus theme to expand Garden of Eden Ball
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
September 25, 2013 12:25 PM | 4254 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
A three-ring extravaganza with electrifying circus performers in the Howell Fountain Plaza at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown will bring horticultural enthusiasts together for the annual Garden of Eden Ball Saturday.

Guests will enjoy outdoor cocktails and carnival-themed hors d’oeuvres before entering the colorful big-top tent on the Great Lawn for a three-course dinner. The final ring will feature live performances of upbeat and irresistible music to draw attendees onto the dance floor.

Co-chairwomen Ginger Dixon Molloy and Susan Been will present honors to Malloy’s mother, Mary Wayne Dixon, for her 25 years of leadership, inspiration and volunteer service to the garden.

As its major fundraising event, the ball supports the facility’s diverse operations, critical amphibian and native plant conservation and educational programming for Atlanta’s schoolchildren.

Since its humble beginnings fostered by like-minded Atlanta-area garden enthusiasts in 1973 and graduating to a double-wide trailer in 1979, the multi-acre campus adjacent to Piedmont Park houses exceptional event and exhibition spaces, research units, education and year-around visitor enjoyment.

The nonprofit is internationally recognized by botanical authorities and hosts visiting exhibitions of plants and garden-related art. Public service ranges from everyday gardening advice to scientific horticultural research, educational programs for adults and children, special events and musical performances and even propagation of edible plants with chef demonstrations.    

Tickets and information: (404) 876-5859 or

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As an early alert for its 2014 50th anniversary celebration, members of the venerable Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta are inviting friends, prospective members and classical music aficionados to a free public concert Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Steinway Piano Galleries on the Northeast Expressway (the western access road off Interstate 85 – use the Clairmont Road exit) in DeKalb County.

Star of the concert will be classical solo pianist Gary Menzies. Recognized for five Pianorama Concerts at the renowned Fox Theatre in Midtown and recently a featured soloist with the Walton Symphony Orchestra in Walton County, Menzies has just recorded a new album, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name,” containing an hour of his most acclaimed arrangements of anthems, hymns and Christian favorites. He has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Midtown and, when he is not on the busy concert circuit, serves as staff pianist at the First Baptist Church of Atlanta in DeKalb County.

Founded in 1964 by a dozen classical music aficionados, the nonprofit society fosters traditional music education and performances with annual events culminating in a judged competition for a $4,000 scholarship each year for a promising musician from Georgia to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Typically during the year, the society also hosts five Sunday afternoon concerts in local churches and university halls, with a reception following each one.

“We are proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2014, and extend a special invitation to the public to join us for this free classical concert-oriented party to meet the artist and our dedicated membership for an after-concert reception and hear plans for our next 50 years,” society President Kevin Pritchett said.  

Information: (404) 667-4700 or

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For 26 years the Visiting Nurse Health System has hosted the annual In the Moment — A Celebration of Life fundraiser to benefit dementia patients who have need its care. The 2013 event is set for Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.

This year’s celebration will recognize long-time supporters Eleanor and Bill Cheney. Eleanor’s father, John McCarty, through the John and Margaret McCarty Foundation, established the Visiting Nurse Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Respite Program in 1989, and the Cheneys have continued to generously support the helpful relief for patients and their dedicated caregivers.

Sue and Jerome Lienhard are the event co-chairs. The night will feature a cocktail reception, dinner and live and silent auctions.

It is estimated more than 200,000 Georgians have Alzheimer’s and nearly 500,000 others are affected through their roles as caregivers. Patients with Alzheimer’s and related dementias experience more hospital stays and nursing home admissions and have higher overall health care costs than seniors without these diseases.

Founded in 1948, Visiting Nurse is Georgia’s largest nonprofit provider of health care at home. Its mission is to improve the lives of those they serve, providing an efficient and cost-effective alternative that brings the resources a patient needs to their home.

Thanks to the support of volunteers, individuals, foundations and corporations, Visiting Nurse is able to provide compassionate, quality care to its patients regardless of age, diagnosis or ability to pay.

Tickets and information: (404) 215-6010 or

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Just in time for the fall planting season, Trees Atlanta is hosting its second Fall Party Saturday at the Kendeda Center on Chester Avenue in Reynoldstown.

A spirited auction during the evening will feature rare and unusual plants and trees — more than 50 extraordinary varieties not available at local Atlanta horticultural retailers.

Carrying out the “Getting Active Outdoors” party theme, the event’s other great outdoor items will be featured in the auction such as: kayaks, fishing trips, triathlon gear, camping tents and lots more.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Trees Atlanta’s tree planting and education programs. Last year the nonprofit and its volunteers planted more than 8,500 trees and seedlings and provided educational sessions attended by more than 3,500 adults and children.

Since 1985, the nationally recognized Trees Atlanta staff and 4,500 volunteers have lent their time, talent and expertise to protecting and improving Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving and educating.

Tickets and information: (404) 681-4890 or

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Traditional crafts, Southern foodways and environmental sustainability are at the center of the 2013 Fall Folklife Festival Saturday at the Atlanta History Center on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead.

The family program, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm., celebrates Southern food and culture. Attendees will observe live demonstrations of traditional folk craftsmanship, including blacksmithing, woodworking and much more. The event also celebrates the sounds of local musicians playing folk music and bluegrass.

The Little Red Barn petting zoo will introduce guests of all ages to a variety of friendly animals in the Smith Family Farm’s barnyard. Southern folktales will be spun by storyteller Betty Ann Wylie to delight the young and young-at-heart.

Local chefs and farmers will be on hand to discuss current culinary trends that focus on farm-to-table food practices. Delicious food from some of Atlanta’s favorite food trucks, along with locally crafted beers, will be available for purchase.

Admission to the program is free for center members and included in the price of general admission for nonmembers.

The nonprofit center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum, the historic Swan House and Smith Family Farm, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, 22 acres of historic gardens, the Kenan Research Center and the Grand Overlook event space.

Support for the festival program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council and local business sponsorships.

Information and tickets: (404) 814-4000 or

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The Alzheimer’s Association’s Georgia chapter invites metro Atlanta residents to unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions by participating in the Atlanta extension of the national Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Set for Saturday at Atlantic Station, the event will start with registration from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. A 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) route through Midtown plus an optional, less-stressful 1-mile route will be offered. Dogs and strollers are welcome.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is more than just physical exercise. It is an experience for 3,000-plus participants in the Atlanta area to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how to get involved — from advocacy opportunities and the latest in Alzheimer’s research and clinical trial enrollment to support programs and services.

Each walker will also join in a meaningful ceremony to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s.

Notable advocates who have spurred the national efforts will join the Atlanta walk. LaMar Campbell, director of media relations for the NFL Players Association and a former Detroit Lions cornerback, will make a special appearance. Georgia’s own Jack Fussell and his companion, Wilson, will lead the local walk. For the last eight months, Fussell has traveled more than 2,500 miles from Savannah to Monterey, Calif., raising awareness and major funds for the association. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet him and hear about his journey across the land for Alzheimer’s.

After the walk, participants are invited to enjoy lunch on-site at Meehan’s Public House and California Pizza Kitchen. A portion of food purchases will benefit the association.

Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic tabulated as the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. The nonprofit association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to eliminate the disease through the advancement of research and to provide and enhance care and support for all affected.

Registration and information: (404) 728-6046 or or

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The picturesque Chukkar Farm and Polo Club on Liberty Grove Road in Alpharetta is hosting the sixth annual Polo for Parkinson’s benefit Sunday.

Included in the afternoon outing in the Atlanta-area horse country will be a rousing polo match, a champagne divot stomp to repair the riding turf, a ladies’ best hat contest, lunch, an open bar, a silent auction and a raffle. Parkinson’s experts will be on hand to answer questions about the disease. Guests are invited to dust off their divot-stomping shoes and join the party for a good cause, polo-style.

Proceeds will benefit the Roswell-based Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation and the DeKalb County-based Emory University Parkinson’s Disease movement disorder program.

Parkinson’s disease has a very personal connection to the foundation’s co-founders, Bill Wilkins and his son, Daniel Wilkins. Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and became active on a national basis with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Locally, he volunteered with the Georgia chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association before founding the family nonprofit in 2010 dedicated to helping overcome the debilitating disease.

Parkinson’s affects five million people worldwide with no known cure. Available treatments temporarily mask symptoms while the disease continues to progress. The average age of onset is 60. However, more than 10 percent of patients are just 40 or younger.

Proceeds from the event will go to support Parkinson’s research and awareness programs, and tickets are available online.

Tickets and information: (770) 730-5840 or

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Get your daredevil nerves revved up for the SkaterAid benefit Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the East Decatur Station shopping center on New Street in Decatur near the Avondale MARTA station.

This is the ninth year for the event featuring ramps, jumps and contests for skateboarders as well as demonstrations by professional skaters. Music by teen bands from area high schools will perform. An art auction featuring eye-popping works created on used skateboard decks will add to the proceeds. All funds generated from the event will be donated to families battling pediatric brain cancer.

SkaterAid was started to celebrate the life of Ian Wochatz, an avid 15-year-old skateboarder living in Decatur who died of brain cancer in 2005. The event has grown to become a tradition among children and teens in metro Atlanta, including not only athletic skateboarders but teen bands and skateboard artists.  

The unique fundraiser is being hosted by the Sandy Springs-based Brain Tumor Foundation for Children. All proceeds generated will provide direct financial and social support for families of children with brain cancer in metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Established in 1983 as the first nonprofit in the U.S. to focus on pediatric brain tumor disease, the foundation is a high-touch organization committed to improving the lives of children and families who are affected.

Tickets and information: (404) 252-4107 or

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The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is presenting a special screening of “The Ritchie Boys” at the Lefont Sandy Springs theater Tuesday. Two shows, at 2 and 8 p.m., will include live post-screening question-and-answer sessions.

Produced in Canada, the film relates the courageous journey of teenage Jewish refugees who escaped Germany in 1945 to the U.S. The boys were enrolled in Fort Ritchie, Md., for special training to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis as American soldiers. The remarkable, sharp, funny, brave young men returned to Europe as a decisive force in intelligence warfare to defeat the Nazi scourge.

Their efforts shortened the war and saved many lives on both sides.

When the war was over, their German accents and unusual histories did not make them welcome in many American veteran circles and, in the end, the brothers quietly left the war behind and went on to enjoy remarkable careers.

The audience is invited to stay to hear the post-film story in person from a true World War II hero, Guy Stern, director of the Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Mich. An original Ritchie boy, Stern will share his experiences as a POW interrogator. He was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.

Tickets to this addition to the festival’s 2013 program will benefit the nonprofit festival’s mission to build bridges of understanding between ethnic, religious and national groups. More than just a night at the movies, the festival is contemporary storytelling with the ability to impact how the audience feels, thinks and behaves after leaving the theater.

The 2014 festival will take place this winter.

Tickets and information: 1-866-214-2072 or

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Mario Nievera, the renowned American landscape architect, will lead Cherokee Garden Library guests on an illustrated tour of his exceptional landscapes throughout the U.S. Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. He will do so as he reviews his first book, “Forever Green: A Landscape Architect’s Innovative Gardens Offer Environments to Love and Delight,” at McElreath Hall in the Atlanta History Center on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead.

Showcasing an extensive range of designs for civic spaces, parks and residential estates, Nievera, principal and partner of Nievera Williams Design of Palm Beach, Fla., and New York, has a keen eye and talent to combine hard landscape materials and lush plantings to create unique outdoor compositions.

“A garden, like a house, is a visual autobiography of the life of its owners,” one enthusiastic client said. “Our outdoor room would never have been such an integral part of our visual story without Mario’s creativity.”

The evening reception, talk and book signing is part of the ongoing ticketed library public programs designed by Director Staci Catron to inspire, entertain and educate horticulture fans. Margaret Chambers and Jane Douglas Reynolds are serving as the event’s co-chairwomen.

Founded by the Cherokee Garden Club of Atlanta, the nonprofit library opened in 1975 as a part of the Atlanta History Center campus. It serves as an educational resource center for gardening, landscape design, garden history, horticulture, floral design, botanical art and plant ecology. With more than 28,000 books, photographs, manuscripts, seed catalogs and landscape drawings, the facility is a significant source of American horticulture and botanical history.

Tickets and information: (404) 814-4046 or

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The Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Buckhead will be all aglow Oct. 3 for the ninth annual On a Green (and White) Night of Stars benefit party hosted by the volunteers of the Chastain Park Conservancy.    

Starting at 7 p.m., the evening will include live entertainment, an open bar and delicious Taste of Chastain samples from more than 10 local restaurants. All funds will go to the conservancy’s mission to preserve, restore and enhance the special park areas.

This year’s event will also recognize two organizations which have contributed the most volunteer hours to the nonprofit conservancy: Turner Broadcasting in Midtown is the top winner in the corporate category and Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs will be recognized in the nonprofit category.

“Chastain-area residents really look forward to this fall fundraiser each year. It gives neighborhoods an opportunity to gather with friends and park enthusiasts for a great evening along with a fund raising opportunity for ongoing community projects.” event chairwoman Julie Richardson said.

Serving on the event’s volunteer coordinating team are: Leslie Orkin, Sue Lind, Mary Ann Tollis, Deborah Hill, Pam Young and Tom Wakefield.

Chastain Memorial Park, commonly called Chastain Park, is the largest park in the city of Atlanta and encompasses 260 acres. The facility includes greenspaces, jogging paths, playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool, a horse park and an amphitheater. The public area is bounded on the east by Lake Forrest Drive, the west-southwest by Powers Ferry Road and the north by the city of Sandy Springs.

The surrounding residential neighborhoods are also known as Chastain Park and have been the catalyst for volunteers to preserve and improve the area for the enjoyment of the larger community. The latest projects include the Play Chastain playground, the Walk Chastain path along Powers Ferry Road and Farm Chastain, an urban farm and learning garden in partnership with the Southeastern Horticultural Society.

Tickets and information: (404) 237-2177 or

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School is back in session and the High Museum of Art on Peachtree Street in Midtown is inviting metro Atlanta teens to join the after-school studio programs to meet new people and nurture their creativity. Local artist Nikita Gale will spearhead the session Oct. 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. as an Open Studio in the Greene Family Education Center at the High.

Free art supplies will be available plus drinks and snacks as the professional artist inspires teens 15 and older to develop their creative talents. The Fashion Lab, complete with sewing machines, fabric and lots of thrift-store rags, will also be open for instructive after-school sessions.

Teen Team programs are designed to meet the needs of arts-oriented teens and expand the interests of youngsters who are less familiar with the arts. Family memberships along with nonmember high school students are eligible to participate in the free happenings such as social teen nights, poetry slams, open studio events, Art Labs and more.

The nonprofit High offers a variety of events through the Teen Advisory Council (Teen Team) headed by Coordinator Beth Malone, as an outgrowth of Young Audiences at the Woodruff Arts Center, Georgia’s leading provider of arts-in-education programming. The overall mission is to transform the lives and learning of young people through the arts by providing a diverse array of curriculum-based assemblies, workshops and residencies in music, dance, theatre, literary and visual arts.

Information: (404) 733-4465 or

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