Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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April 13, 2010

A sign of Arboretum progress

It’s full-steam-ahead for annual Spring Gala preparation

ATHENS — With the beautiful weather over the past couple of weeks, organizers at the East Texas Arboretum are full-steam-ahead, in preparation for the annual Spring Gala.

Executive Director Teresa Glasgow said this year’s event, scheduled for May 1 should be the biggest and best yet.

“We have so much going on to get ready for this huge event,” she said. “We are going to have entertainment, plenty of food and drink, as well as dancing and fun by all.”

The Spring Gala is an event that started over 10 years ago in people’s homes to help raise money for the Arboretum. Back then the Athens-based Arboretum was in the planning stages, or just a small attraction.

“I believe we were open then, but it was in the very early stages when they started having the Gala,” Glasgow said. “Back then, they had it in some different people’s homes, but it grew so large we had to move it out here on the grounds. We hope to have people from all over come out, and make this year’s event a huge success.”

Tickets for the Gala are $50 per person, and benefit the general-operating fund of the Arboretum. This year’s theme is Cajun food. Glasgow said if Cajun is not your style, there is sure to be other goodies for your choosing.

“We have a guy who is going to fix crawfish and gumbo, but in some of the other buildings, there will be other foods,” she said. “We don’t want people to think they cannot come because they don’t like Cajun food.”

Don Fontenot & the Les Amis de la Louisiana, a very well known Cajun country band, will be performing in the Magnolia House (Wofford House). The sounds of jazz will be playing in the Mud Bug Cafe (Women’s Building) with Drumgoole & Company from Houston. They will be playing the baby grand piano at the desert and coffee bar.

Glasgow said there is also a silent auction scheduled with some very unique items, along with a chance for you to get you fortune told. She said it is rumored that Elton John could make an appearance.

Some of the food scheduled to be on hand is crawfish with red potatoes, corn, sausage and boudin balls, bourbon chicken, gumbo, pasta salad, fresh turnip greens and cornbread.

“We are looking forward to a fun event, and as always, the best party in Athens,” Glasgow said. “Athens is successful because of the wonderful folks who come out to support us. This is one of our major fundraisers. It keeps our gates open, and our gardens blooming.”

Many new projects are in the works at the Arboretum, according to Glasgow. Work continues on the new double-stone-wall planter located to the south of the pavilion. It has created a new courtyard by the pond.

Many people have noticed a lot of work being done by U.S. Highway 175. This eventually will have some new trails that are handicapped-accessible, along with new gardens, and a new large sign and entrance.

The arboretum is working with TxDot and Keep Athens Beautiful. They are helping with the installation of a new culvert, and all the landscaping along the highway.

“They (TxDot) have told us the work should start around August,” Glasgow said. “I think once we get that done on the highway, more people will see what a nice place this really is.

“We have such a huge educational program here, and so many of the schools from all over East Texas come here, that this new highway expansion will only enhance its visibility.”

For more information on the Gala, and for tickets, contact Glasgow at 903-675-5630.

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