The Gabby Guy is gallivanting again, from BofA to Little Italy to the new Wilmington Market Street. Here’s what he found.
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You know your friends are loyal when, despite what seemed like the heaviest part of a multi-day downpour, they still show up for your un-tented garden party. That is exactly what happened at Brandywine Park when the dedicated and damp Friends of Wilmington Parks attended their second annual soirée, despite a forced relocation from The Rose Garden.
This year’s event was dedicated to Mr. Charles F. Richards for his years of service to the parks. The weather may not have cooperated, but the resourceful members, guests, and caterers (The Greenery) toted silent auction tables, food stations and a very wet bar over a 100-yard puddle to the only remaining dry land in the park, the parking lot under the I-95 bridge. As organizer Christa Scalies put it, “We are creatively utilizing man-made technology.” (Christa knows a thing or two about the positive effects of a sense of humor. She owns the on-line yoga-laughter school GiggleOn.com, and her dog’s name is Rosie. Insert giggle here.)
Also laughing at the weather was Delaware Sports League owner Bob Downing. Pooh-poohing the precipitation, which had rained out two straight weeks of kickball, Bob reminded us, “It’s about the people and the party and the fun.” Look for Mr. Downing’s new spin on the YMCA’s adult games roster this fall.
Development director and fellow Rosy lens wearer Joe Melloy saw the I-95 “event tent” as “part federal stimulus package, as a federal highway was protecting us.” Joe and his wife, Alberta Melloy, a former flower arranger at Winterthur, were sweet enough to update us on the Sugar Bowl restoration. Another $250,000 is needed to rebuild the Leinson-designed pavilion so it can house such performers as the Delaware National Guard’s 75-piece orchestra. Sounds good to us.
Executive director Michael A. Porro entrusted a cast-iron coin bank to the auction table. Mr. Porro had owned the bank all his life. We didn’t ask if it was full, but it was very heavy. Mr. Porro told us of the late Sally Rinard’s many years of service to the Friends and the generous donation from her trust. You will recall our beloved Sally as the original Gabby.
The soaked roses bowed under the weight of the rain, but longtime Friends and rose experts Bruce and Liz Monroe kept it light. In 2000 the couple gave a historical overview of the garden, which started as a WPA project in the ’30s. The roses were once fertilized with manure from bison in the nearby Brandywine Zoo.
Wilmington attorney Bob Goff had to ask if the noise he heard was “thunder or a semi passing overhead?” His partner Joel Stango enjoyed a glass of “dry” white wine.
Salon owner Fabrizio Galieti and his wife, Angela, said “this is our last social event before heading to Rome,” where they planned to develop their own hair products. Afterward, they were off to Cinqueterra on the coast of Italy.
Mr. Richards and his lovely wife, Pam Richards, wearing a smart sapphire blue trench, were presented with accolades, as well as an original painting of the park—in water colors, of course—by artist Wendy Hatch.
Friends president Fred Toner lamented the “unfortunate conditions,” but shrugged it off to “lessons learned.”
But most guests enjoyed the group bonding under the bridge. The indomitable Betty Bours went so far as to proclaim the party, “perfect, rain or shine.” Shine on, friends.
Page 2: Little Market, Big Finds