The Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve will host its 2019 Peony Celebration cocktail event on Thursday, May 9. A fundraiser for the Friends and projects in the Preserve, the evening features a fine art exhibit and a flower show presented by local gardening clubs. The annual event is a fun, community-based festival with a champagne toast, cocktails, and savory food held in the Visitor Center courtyard.
The peonies have graced the entrance to the Preserve since the tragedy of September 11. Yatsuka Cho, a town in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, wanted to express a gesture of healing and solidarity towards the United States. They sent the Rockefeller State Park Preserve a gift of 500 tree peonies from their small town.
Friends vice president Evelyn Hadad, at the time the director of external affairs for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York, arranged for this generous gift, and George Gumina, who was the founding board president of the Friends and is the current president, spearheaded a $100,000 fund-raising effort to create a landscaping project around the gateway entrance to the preserve.
The Peony is considered Japan’s “most noble of flowers”. The gift was intended to promote the healing process and to symbolize the blending of two cultures by placing the Japanese flowers on American soil. Yatsuka Cho graciously sent over Japanese gardeners to plant the flowers and to teach the Preserve staff how to care for them. The result is an inviting entrance that serves as a gateway to our entire peaceful Preserve and exemplifies the beauty of people coming together in a time of need.
The mission of Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve is to help restore and maintain the Preserve’s unique system of carriage roads and pastoral landscapes and to support educational programs and passive recreation such as horseback riding, fishing, hiking, jogging, and photography in a tranquil setting. Over 400,000 visitors from around the world walk the roads each year, joined by countless joggers and equestrians. The Rockefeller Preserve includes over 2,000 acres, 65 miles of carriage roads, a 22-acre Swan Lake, circled by Brothers’ Path, the gateway to the Preserve.
For more information visit www.friendsrock.org
About Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve:
The Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to protect and maintain the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The Friends was established in 1996 to encourage public participation in protecting the Preserve’s wildlife and habitat, sustaining its historical and archaeological features, and most importantly – maintaining its unique system of carriage roads. The Friends support educational programs, major exhibits, carriage road maintenance and habitat restoration. For more information visit: www.friendsrock.org/our-mission/