Dr. Richard Dow and his wife Barbara look at auction items during the Midsummer Night in the Garden Gala at the Fullerton Arboretum.
They ate, drank and danced among the trees and flowers at the Fullerton Arboretum’s 16th annual Midsummer Night in the Garden gala. The evening breeze wafted the smell of the junipers, lilies, lemons and other plants over the tables where 300 guests enjoyed a three-course meal prepared by chef David Slay of Park Ave and Il Garage in Stanton.
“We have a beautiful organic garden at Park Ave, and we’ve worked with the Arboretum. We’re both very supportive of each other,” said Slay, who used items from both gardens for the evening’s meal. “It’s just beautiful here.”
Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes lent his talents as the gala’s auctioneer. “The item I’m most excited about is the jailhouse dinner,” he said with a smile, saying he’d never even been to an auction before. “I’m going to try to get these folks to bid high.”
Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia was happy to attend, eagerly looking over the auction items and opportunity drawings. “It’s a wonderful, peaceful place in the middle of the city,” she said. “It’s not just for research but a place for reflection.”
But the evening wasn’t just about the garden or the tasty filet mignon and orzo with toasted pine nuts. It also was about honoring Patricia “Pat” Hopping of Fullerton with the Golden Oak Award, said Greg Dyment, director of the Fullerton Arboretum.
“She’s super-focused, a good leader with a good team. She loves children and education, and we do a lot with both here,” he said of Hopping, who has been with the arboretum for 25 years since originally being appointed by the city to the commission.
She was joined by her husband and children for the evening. “I’m really passionate because we bring so many children here, and it’s a wonderful place for them to learn,” Hopping said. “It’s been enjoyed by so many people. It’s really amazing.”