Rain showers didn’t dampen spirits at this month’s Golden Garden Party, an event that Ron and Rachel Clearfield held at their lovely home in the Appalachian hills near Asheville, NC to support the Food for People (FFP) program. It was their 9th annual party, and it raised US $9,300 to provide nutritious daily meals to impoverished children in India, Nepal, and Ghana.
The Clearfields worked with numerous local businesses and volunteers to put on the event, which featured outstanding musical performances and a delicious Indian feast amid their beautiful garden of blooming poppies.
Luckily, one local business supported the cause by providing a large tent at a discounted rate, which helped shield attendees from occasional raindrops.
“The party went great, considering the weather. People really seemed to enjoy it. Everywhere you looked, people were smiling and having a good time,” says Rachel. “The garden is a healing place. It uplifts people.” A renowned artist, Rachel also displayed her paintings and jewelry among the flowers, donating a percentage of sales to FFP. “This was one of our best years,” adds Ron, who is an esteemed musician and retired conductor.
One anonymous donor provided $4,000 in matching funds toward the event as a whole; another provided $930 in matching funds toward the raffle. Sales of cider and beer provided freely by local brewers also helped raise money, in addition to the suggested donation of $20 to enter the grounds. Pianist Richard Shulman provided enchanting solo soundscapes as people socialized, while performances by Thea & The Greenman and Celestially Rooted inspired a few brave folks to dance on the lawn.
Organizing the event each year takes a lot of work, but Ron and Rachel, who are both semi-retired, say they enjoy making it happen. “It really gives us purpose,” says Ron. “You need something to do with your lives. For us, this is a very important part of our lives. We love it.”
They’re already making plans for next year, which will mark the party’s 10th anniversary. One thing they learned this time around: “Always have a big tent!” Rachel says with a laugh. Ron adds, “The show must go on!”