Dinner on the Desert raises $450,000 for botanical garden


The Desert Botanical Garden hosted a capacity 625 business leaders, philanthropists, community partners and Garden friends April 30 at the 30th Annual Dinner on the Desert, the Garden’s major annual fundraiser.

The stormy weather in the afternoon only deepened guests’ commitment to make Dinner on the Desert 2016 a truly memorable event. Umbrellas nearby the party occurred as planned with rain never reaching in the Garden.

Co-Chaired by Mary Heiss and Harold Dorenbecher the contemporary, British-imbued theme “Your Evening among the Stars” celebrated the Garden as a living canvas highlighting galleries of unique plant specimens illuminated by the modern “Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light” and 30 years of DOD leadership.

The evening began with guests arriving at Ottosen Entry Garden to warm welcomes, a Blood Orange Bourbon Smash cocktail and music by Pianist Louis Landon.

Guests delighted in the display of succulents and cactus framed by views of the Papago Buttes, as they strolled through the Desert Terrace Garden and Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal on their way to the silent auction in Dorrance Hall and the chance to bid on more than 280 distinctive plants, pots and garden art, plus unusual and exciting experiences.

The Super Silent Showcase featured 20 one-of-a-kind experiences and items. Raffle prizes included two $1,000 cash prizes, two-night “Staycation” at Arizona Biltmore, Sony XBR43X830 43-inch Ultra HD TV, and a Desert Botanical Garden Patrons Circle Membership.

Guest were seated to the music of The Sahnas Brothers Band. After dinner guests gathered at the Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal to enjoy truffles and cheese stations, dancing with the Beatles cover band, The Rave, and to pick up their signature DOD parting gift card sets.

Dinner on the Desert proceeds support the Garden’s research, conservation, exhibition and environmental education programs, nurturing respect and appreciation for the Sonoran Desert.

Net revenue from this year’s event was $450,000.

Photos by Haute Photography and Videography

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