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Cleveland Cultural Gardens Holiday Gala


On Monday, December 11th, we attended the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Holiday Gala on the 3rd Floor of the Ariel International Center on East 40th Street. It was organized by Ms. Sheila Crawford, the former President of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) and throughout the evening we were entertained by holiday music from all over the world provided by Mr. Bob Crawford who had an extensive CD collection.

Upon arrival everyone took part in a game wherein at least two people from 23 Gardens had to sign a piece of paper that each attendee was given. By playing this game, we got to learn a lot about the heritage of our counterparts who we had thought we knew well. At the end of the evening, the signatures were counted and we, ourselves, tied for second place with Ms. Lu Geng, a visiting teacher from China who is teaching a course at the Cleveland Public Library. We were glad that our friend Ms. Gia Hoa Ryan placed first and that each of us received a box of Malley's Chocolates.

Dr. Wael Khoury, the current President of the CCGF addressed us for a few minutes and we learned that the fundraising for the construction of a Centennial Plaza is commencing; it is hoped that the Plaza will be completed by the middle of 2019. We also learned that a record number of 25,000 people attended 2017's One World Day.

A special honor was then bestowed by Mr. Paul Burik upon our friend Ms. Anda Cook, a Latvian Garden delegate, who served on the CCGF board for many years and was instrumental in launching the One World Day project. Ms. Cook was presented with a lovely drawing/sketch of the Latvian Garden which Mr. Burik created himself.

The only sad time of the night was when Ms. Crawford acknowledged the 2017 passing of two people who devoted a lot of their lives to the CCGF. These were Mr. Larry Hocevar of the Hungarian Garden and Ms. Mary Hamlin of the British Garden. Regarding the latter, Ms. Crawford recalled that planning the annual Holiday celebration was something Ms. Hamlin so much loved to do.

"This is Mary's event," said Ms. Crawford.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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