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Indulge in the radiance of the arts and nature at the Live Oak Theatre’s Garden Party

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The grand tradition of the garden party hails from the days of Victorian England, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert staged lavish teatime festivities at Buckingham Palace. These celebrations showcased the radiance of palace gardens and served the very finest of delicious cuisine. Now, the tradition is continuing right here in Hernando County at 1 pm on Sunday, June 11, when Live Oak Theatre hosts a gala garden party for a great cause; benefiting the Live Oak Theatre’s scholarship program. For just as flowers blossom forth in an ethereal garden, the talents of up and coming thespians also must grow and bloom as well.

Festivities will commence at the veranda and ballroom of the theatre, located at 21030 Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville. Guests will enjoy a lunch buffet in a lovely indoor garden upstairs in the Ballroom, Croquet and Corn Hole toss on the Veranda, entertainment that includes the famous Stump the Thespian Contest, the Garden Party Hat Contest (both men and women contestants are invited to participate), and chance-drawings for potted plants and baskets.

Live Oak’s Kris Mitten, chairperson of the event, promises an afternoon of fun, food and divine celebration. Kris stated, “Our caterer is planning a beautiful charcuterie board, featuring her own unique recipe of a homemade chicken salad, along with a garden-like spread of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our luncheon will take place in our ballroom that will be bedecked like a garden, but air-conditioned comfortably.”

Vince Vanni, Live Oak spokesman, says that guests are sure to enjoy the full roster of delightful activities celebrated at the Live Oak garden party. Especially the Stump the Thespian contest. Vanni shared, “The audience challenges our thespian team to recall verses from any Broadway Show, old and new. Audience calls out the name of a musical, and one of us must sing a verse from the show, or we lose the challenge.”

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This is all for a great cause too! “This is a fundraiser to benefit the mission and the scholarship program of Live Oak Theatre and Conservatory.” said Vanni. “Many of our members have large families, including adopted and foster children. While they may be of reasonable means, it’s difficult for them to provide everyone in the family with equal opportunities for lessons, without some scholarship assistance. We are so fortunate to also have benefactors who provide scholarship assistance. But… we are growing.”

Also growing are the skills, talents and abilities of Live Oak students. “In addition, our intimate theatre setting provides our students with a unique amount of confidence ‘up close and personal’ in front of large groups,” said Vanni. “This requires some reinforcement to our budgeting… especially when you have an old building.”

And in the case of the garden party, this tea is replacing a tee! “This fundraiser is replacing our annual golf tournament. At this point there are so many golf outing fundraisers. We decided to do what we do best,” said Vanni. “There is another “entertaining” fundraiser planned for the fall.”

Live Oak Theatre gives a special thank you to County Commissioner Brian Hawkins and Chuck Wilson of Wilson Technology Group for their generous sponsorship of this event.

Admission to the Live Oak garden party is a suggested donation of $50. For more information and to register, email [email protected] or visit www.liveoaktheatre.org and make your reservation online. Also visit https://tinyurl.com/2v378uby to purchase tickets and sponsorships.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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