Thursday, April 23, marked the James K. Polk Association’s Annual Pilgrimage Spring Luncheon in the gardens behind the Polk Home. The greenery of the garden was gloriously offset by an array of colorful dresses, shoes and millinery masterpieces that would make Princess Kate green with envy.
Fascinators, in particular, were the hat du jour, sported by many a Polk patron who enjoyed homemade breads by Jaymi, Polk pickles and wine from the Polk Presidential series, released by Amber Falls Winery over the past several years. The wine was graciously sponsored by Smelter Service Company and handsomely served by Chris Burgess, Kyle Elkins and Stephen Walker. Local favorite Gabe Allen provided background music.
As the ladies moved from the gardens to the luncheon, they were greeted by cheerful spring centerpieces designed by Mum’s the Word florist and the 2015 senior class of Zion Christian Academy who served the meal and drinks. The lunch featured chicken Florentine crepes and a Waldorf salad by caterer, Pat McNeese, followed by a decadent dessert of Key lime pie laced with chocolate.
The Committee who organized the 2015 Polk spring luncheon & garden party was comprised of, from left to right: Mrs. Julie Crichton, Mrs. Katie Baker, Mrs. Holly Dobbs, and cochairs Mrs. Jill Elkins and Mrs. Shannon Stamatis.
First Presbyterian Rev. Joe Evans gave the invocation, which was followed by remarks from Dinah Vire, current Polk Association president. Mrs. Vire talked about the collaborations between the Polk Home and Amber Falls Winery to produce the Presidential line of wines, and with Muletown Coffee, which produces the delicious Dark Horse Blend. The Polk Association receives a cut from the sales of the wines and coffee.
Mrs. Dinah Vire, current president of the Polk Memorial Association, sported a "fascinator" hat as she welcomed the patrons and spoke about the Association's past events, future plans and announced new board positions.
Mrs. Vire reviewed the year’s fundraising events, which have included Pickin’ for the Polk, the fourth Bloodies and Biscuits, and upcoming events including the Big Payoff in May and the biannual golf tournament in September. Perhaps most anticipated was the announcement of the next Polk Association’s president, Mrs. Beth Gilbert, and the chairs of the 2016 Dinner Dance ball, Mrs. Liz Lovell and Mrs. Charlotte Beatty.
Mrs. Beth Gilbert is the future president of the Polk Memorial Association, beginning in 2016. She is the owner of the Needle Nest, a full-service needlepoint store in downtown Columbia.
The Polk Ancestral Home’s director John Holtzapple and curator Tom Price led the main program to inform the ladies about the happenings of the Polk Home, which includes a $150,000 maintenance grant from the state of Tennessee that will be used to replace the garden house roof, repair crumbling bricks along the walkways and provide new outdoor lighting to illuminate the home at night.
Among other exciting news they shared concerned the 18th summer Polk Academy, the more than 2300 visitors who came to The Face of a President exhibit, and the upcoming 2016 bicentennial for the Polk home, which was built in 1816. As the year progresses, announcements will be made regarding celebratory events for the 200 year anniversary.
From left to right: Mrs. Tricia Beck smiles as next year's cochair for the 2016 Polk Dinner Dance, Mrs. Liz Lovell, greets Mrs. Ann Cain.
The Polk Memorial Association has a long history, as it was founded in 1929. As Mr. Hotzapple said, “When you think about it, the Association has managed to keep the Polk Home and Museum running and in good shape for 86 years through its volunteer and fundraising efforts, which is no small feat.”
Hats off to all the ladies (and gentlemen) who have worked so hard over the years to preserve an important part of Maury County and U.S. history!
See more great photos from the luncheon on the Social Snaps tab....