Exeter’s annual Garden Party fundraiser for its mural program has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns
EXETER – Exeter murals have created an outdoor gallery of images into the town’s history. Unfortunately, COVID-19 may be the subject of a mural for future generations after canceling the mural program’s largest fundraiser for the second year in a row.
Mural Team member Gary Mussen made the call on Monday to cancel this year’s event, which was scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Mixter Park, in front of Exeter’s “The Orange Harvest” mural at the corner of Pine and E streets in Exeter.
The event is a major fund-raiser for Exeter, A Festival of Arts, the nonprofit foundation funding Exeter’s outdoor gallery of scenes from the city’s past. The volunteer organization is under the direction of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce and dedicated to promoting the arts and tourism while reflecting on Exeter’s history and culture. Proceeds from the event help provide financing for more murals in Exeter.
The mural program has generated local commerce through tourism by making the city a destination on the way to Sequoia National Park. Currently, there are 32 murals and more are planned. Historic brick buildings provide canvasses for the beautiful murals painted by professional artists from throughout the nation. But murals aren’t cheap and, just like the scenes they depict, require an entire town of supporters working toward a common goal.
The mural committee has been fortunate to have many of the local clubs and businesses assist in its goal through major contributions. Guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Exeter Chamber at 592-2919. Brochures for self-guided tours are available at the Mural Gift Shop at Mixter Park. Many others have shown their support by attending events and arranging group mural tours, longtime committee member Mickey Hirni said.
Tickets to this year’s Garden Party are $60 per person and must be purchased by Sept. 20. For tickets, contact the Exeter Chamber or any mural committee member. Committee members are Sandy Blankenship, Greg Crosson, Mike Deathriage, Adam Ennis, Mickey Hirni, Tricia Kirksey, Dora Lee, Gary Mussen, Betsy Peterson, Brian Schelling and Andy Snodgrass. Sponsorships are available for $1,000 (Orange Harvest), $750 (When Emperor’s Ruled) and $600 (The People Behind the Label). Checks can be made payable to Exeter, A Festival of Arts/Garden Party at 20175 Ave. 312, Exeter, CA 93221.