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July 29, 2011

Garden Party is ‘a hot, beautiful day’

Hunting Valley, Ohio--The Cleveland LGBT Center’s 35th annual Garden Party took over Ron Bailey and Bill Edwards’ Hunting Valley home on July 24, bringing 350 people in the midst of a heat wave to enjoy entertainment, food, drink and camaraderie.

Led by honorary chairs Henry Hawley and George Vassos, the annual event  saw the center bring in about two months’ worth of funding over the course of four hours.

“It was a hot, beautiful day,” said center executive director Jan Cline. “It was very, very hot as most of the past two weeks have been.”

He joked that he might have liked it a touch more if it were 20 degrees cooler, like in the high 70s or low 80s, but noted more seriously that it was still a successful celebration.

WOIO Channel 19 news anchor Danielle Serino and comedian Karen Williams emceed the live auction, which, together with the silent auction, brought in between $13,000 and $15,000.

Williams also provided pre-auction entertainment.

“She was on the edge with some of her act, but she was very funny,” Cline said. “Last year we had a male entertainer, and he was out there. The men appreciated him more than the women did. This year we had a female entertainer and the women appreciated her more than the men did.”

“It is all about balance,” he noted.

Once again, Bob Sferra and his company Culinary Occasions provided the food.

“He did a great job,” Cline said.

Hard final numbers are not yet available, but estimates put the income at over $90,000, and Cline believes that roughly 60 percent of that will go back to the center, which he said is just over two months’ worth of operating costs.

“It costs us about $28,000 a month, a little less than a thousand dollars a day” to run the center, he noted, pointing out that it currently does not get any direct government funding. “It’s all private donations, mostly from individuals and some from grants.”

With that financial shot in the arm, Cline is already beginning to muse over the 36th annual Garden Party.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to is next year,” he said. “Next year it may be on a different property, it may be a different caterer, it will be a different entertainer, so the possibilities are endless, although I know it’s a little too soon to start thinking about next year.”

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