Packing a Picnic for a Wonderful Cause

Writer // Janelle Morrison                Photography // Janelle Morrison

The Guild of Coxhall Estate is pleased to present the Second Annual Posh Picnic on Saturday, June 15, 7 p.m.–10 p.m. at Coxhall Mansion in Carmel. Attendees of last year’s picnic enjoyed an unforgettable summer evening of fundraising and fellowship, along with 25 extravagant table settings that ranged from posh to “funky,” but all themes were designed to bring a high level of fun and entertainment to the event. The evening begins with picnicking in one of Hamilton County’s most remarkable parks and ends with dancing under the starry sky.

Packing a Picnic for a Wonderful Cause
Last year’s “Most Posh” tablescape.

The evening features a tablescape challenge, with prizes awarded for originality, elegance and “funk.” Guests provide their own refreshments, food and tableware for a highly personalized, stylish experience. Tables, chairs and linens (white, floor length) will be provided.

Last year’s inaugural Posh Picnic was spearheaded by guild members and dedicated volunteers Joyce Winner and Nancy Maiers. Winner and Maiers had to temporarily step down from the committee, but this year’s planning committee is building from the ladies’ blueprint and is committed to making sure this picnic is a long-standing tradition and successful fundraiser for many years to come.

Packing a Picnic for a Wonderful Cause
Coxhall Gardens Tower tablescape.

Sandra Pirkle, guild member, agreed that Winner and Maiers’ fingerprints will be all over this year’s picnic and noted, “Nancy Maiers’ son’s band, Free but Not Cheap, will be performing [at the event] again.”

Another member of the planning committee, guild member Nancy Sutton, shared, “Last year, no one had ever seen it [this specific event] before. It was in our hearts and our heads, but no one knew if we were going to be able to deliver, and now people who attended last year really want to come back, and there’s a lot to build on from that.”

While the event itself is quite exhilarating, it is the purpose behind it that is quite meaningful. Attendees of the annual Posh Picnic can enjoy a firsthand experience at Coxhall Gardens while raising funds for new amenities that will allow even more people, of all ages, to enjoy the gardens and estate. This year’s funds will construct an outdoor covered classroom and picnic area that will provide shade and a multitude of uses for park-goers to enjoy in the Children’s Garden.

This will be in addition to a surrounding butterfly and hummingbird pollinator garden that was made possible, in part, by the generosity of the Terry family and friends of the late Stephen Terry, who passed away in January. Sharon Terry, Stephen’s wife and Friends of Hamilton County Parks board member, designated the memorial funds received in her late husband’s name to the creation of the pollinator garden at Coxhall Gardens, which are near the Terry’s home.

“His only complaint [about Coxhall] was they wouldn’t let him hit golf balls over there,” Sharon Terry jested. “He loved the outdoors. He was chosen as the Outstanding Eagle Scout in Indianapolis in 1937. He loved canoeing and water, as long as he didn’t have to get in it. He loved nature and the preservation of it, and I think that all came from scouting.”

Motivated by Stephen’s passion for nature and preserving it, the Friends of Hamilton County Parks and its subsidiary, the Guild of Coxhall Estate, are excited about the new installations that have been and will be made possible by supporters of Coxhall Gardens and the Posh Picnic.

“What is missing in the Children’s Garden is shade,” Mary Robinson, guild member, stated. “This new outdoor covered classroom would not only provide that shade but will be a natural outdoor classroom, where groups can learn about nature, and it will be surrounded by the butterfly and hummingbird garden.”

John Scott Foster, executive director of Friends of Hamilton County Parks, added, “Last year’s [Posh Picnic] was simply marvelous. If you’re going to do a fundraiser, I think it’s important to make sure that you can really connect your event with what you’re raising funds for. To be able to have that event embedded in the park is so important. It’s a beautiful setting, and it is an atmosphere that lends itself to people mingling and feeling comfortable and relaxed. It allows people to really understand that they are investing in their community and making their community a vibrant and fun place to live, work and play.”

Packing a Picnic for a Wonderful Cause
Elegant tablescape at the Inaugural Posh Picnic.

Tickets are selling fast, so purchase your table/seats today at poshpicnic.org. Details about parking and other important event information can also be found on the website. In the event of inclement weather, the picnic will be moved to the event tent located on the grounds of Coxhall Gardens.

The Guild of Coxhall Estate was established in 2008 by Sharon Terry, a resident of The Village of WestClay and passionate conservationist of the Coxhall Estate. The guild is a subsidiary of the Friends of Hamilton County Parks Board and consists of approximately 40 members today. Its mission is to promote social activities in Coxhall Gardens, enhance the overall appearance of the Coxhall Mansion, sponsor activities that raise funds for improvement of the property and provide leadership in educating the public about this historic property.