“When Emperor’s Rule,” reign over this year’s Garden Party

The Exeter, Festival of Arts committee throws its 20th annual Garden Party on May 7, themed “When Emperor’s Rule”

EXETER – This year marks the 20th anniversary of Exeter’s annual Garden Party, and to celebrate, the committee is making this year’s theme fit for royalty.

The theme for this year’s Garden Party is “When Emperors Ruled,” and will feature an elegant dinner, a silent auction as well as a live auction. The event will take place on May 7 at 5 p.m. on the corner of Pine and E Street, right in front of Exeter’s very first mural “The Orange Harvest.” This annual event is the organization’s major fundraiser and goes towards maintaining the murals as well as financing additional murals.

Tickets to this year’s Garden Party are $75 per person. There are also table sponsorship opportunities available as well, ranging from $750-$1000. For tickets, residents should contact the Exeter Chamber or any mural committee member.

The Exeter, A Festival of Arts committee members are Tricia Kirksey, Mickey Hirni, Brian Schelling, Jennifer Pujol, Greg Crosson, Mike Deathriage, Sandy Blankenship, Dora Lee, Tina Rice and Betsy Peterson, Adam Ennis and Nancy Becker. This committee was formed to promote the arts and tourism by providing an outdoor art gallery reflecting Exeter’s history and culture.

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 34 murals and more are planned. Tourism in Exeter has more than doubled every year since 1996 when the first mural was completed. Typically painted on Exeter’s staple brick buildings, they tell the city’s story, from the late 1800s to now. “The Orange Harvest” was painted by Colleen Mitchell-Venya, who has had her hands in most of the murals on Exeter’s brick walls. This particular mural pays homage to when Exeter supplied the majority of red table grapes throughout the United States and Canada.

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