Tom and Anna Ford. Anna is a board member of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and even served as interim executive director while the search was on that resulted in the good decision to hire Jim Richards.
We go to the Solstice Supper at the Knoxville Botanical Garden every year and find the al fresco dining to be magical. But, even though we like eating outside — especially at a dinner celebrating the season — we sure were glad the organizers moved it inside this year.
With whipping winds and rain coming down in intermittent sheets, it would have been a disaster. So the Garden’s beautiful new events venue, Dogwood Center, was a lifesaver. The committee even brought the twinkle lights inside!
Caterer Rex Bradford Jones sourced many of the ingredients for the menu from area farms, with some even coming from the Botanical Garden’s own Center for Urban Agriculture. Started in 2013, the Center for Urban Agriculture was created to prepare local communities to cultivate healthy produce and sustainable lifestyles. Folks from children to seniors can work in the garden and reap the delicious results. All in all, the evening was low-key and relaxed. It ended somewhat abruptly when, just before 9 p.m., there was a break in the weather and everyone made a mad dash for their cars.
A very welcome sight — indoor setup.
Botanical Garden Executive Director Jim Richards, second from right, with, from left, Stuart Worden, Vicki Williams Baumgartner, Lane Hays and Jackie Wilson.
One of the appetizers: salted radishes on buttered rye. The radishes came from Abbey Fields Farm.
You expect beautiful flowers when you are at the Botanical Garden. These were on the bar.
Steve Benne and Karin Beuerlein.
John and Allyn Purvis Schwartz.
Sandi Burdick and Jane Ray.
From left, Neil McBride, Charlie Mercer and Chris Hill.
Kelle Jolly provided tunes.
Crispy garden vegetables with yogurt dill dressing. These veggies came from the Center for Urban Agriculture and Abbey Fields Farm.
From left, Megan Stair, Julia Bentley and Sara Rose.
From left, Fran Scheidt, Alice Woody and Linda Elswick.
Alice and Charlie Mercer.
More pretty flowers.
Ralph Cianelli, left, and Rick Fox.
Bill Lyons, left, and Jim Richards.
Here’s Rick, again, with Gay Lyons. They matched!
The makings of “Grandmother’s Cucumber-Onion Salad” came from Abbey Fields Farm.
Main course was strawberry-salsa chicken, the ingredients of which came from Three Rivers Market.
The squash for this dish came from the Center for Urban Agriculture and Luedtke Acre.
Allyn Purvis Schwartz and Alan Carmichael like to pose together in celebration of their matching names!
Chadwick Williams and Charlotte Tolley. She runs the Market Square Farmers’ Market. (And we are glad she does!)
Dessert was old-fashioned shortcake with garden gathered berries from Three Rivers Market.
These are the beautiful sunflowers that, as sponsors, Alan and I were supposed to take home. But in our haste to dash to the car during a short break in the weather, we forgot them. Oh, well.
I love this event! I don’t think I have missed a year since the Garden started the Solstice Supper. I was grateful for the dry space this year, but you have to be outdoors to appreciate things like that amazing double rainbow that appeared one of the early years. As always, the flowers were beautiful.
Wow! Looked amazing. Love botanical gardens and excited that our daughter Kelsey Kane & Scott Holtzman getting married there in September !
Gay: I’m with you. I think we’ve been to every one. This was the 5th. I hope they don’t try to move it permanently indoors. It reduces the magic. But, they do need a tent. It was sweltering last year without one.
Missy: I know the wedding will be gorgeous!
Love this event. I agree having it in a tent on the LeConte Meadow would be ideal.
Jackie: Yay! I am so happy to hear you say that. I was afraid that getting rid of the tent last year was a cost-saving measure. If so, I’d vote for raising the ticket cost in order to pay for the tent. Great job managing with the weather this year. Congrats to the whole team.
Fran Scheidt invited me but I was out of town so couldn’t attend. Glad I could catch up through Blue Streak!
Georgiana: We look forward to your return!
Cynthia, thanks for all the pictures!! Great capture. We will not move it indoors, permanently, but as you said, the Dogwood Center was great to have for Plan B!! We love this event, too! Having 3 Rivers Market as a sponsor is fabulous, as well!!
Reading this from The Town Hall in Cross Village, MI. Great write-up. Very thankful this event was moved indoors!
Allyn: Yay! Great news! Thanks so much for all you do to make it so successful. I can’t think of a better person to share a name with my husband!
Sara: We miss you, but know you are enjoying your time in a cooler climate.
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