Tohono Chul Park netted about $50,000 from the 2008 Sonoran Spring Celebration, its April 6 fund-raising event at the Paseo del Norte grounds.

An audience of 220 people, at ticket prices from $125 to $200, enjoyed an elegant evening with a gourmet meal, live and silent auctions, music, a raffle and mild spring weather in the park’s desert setting.

“We were very pleased, especially considering it was the first year we were doing this format,” said Glenn Nowak, communications coordinator for the park. “It’s the best we’ve ever had, by far.”

The Sonoran Spring Celebration grew from a belief “we should kick it up a notch” in terms of fund-raising efforts, Nowak said. “We wanted to do something with a sit-down dinner, a wine tasting and a live auction.”

There was a strolling mariachi band and a master wine sommelier. Guests walked the park’s paths and found beverages and hors d’ouevres catered by businesses such as Beyond Bread, Bluefin and McClintock’s.

The Tohono Chul Tea Room prepared a gourmet dinner featuring a Colorado spring lamb rib chop with mint-scented shallot butter, grilled jumbo Guaymas shrimp, or grilled breast of duckling.

Major sponsors were Comcast, JP Morgan, Karen Junghans and Bruce Seligmann, Desert Diamond Casino, O’Rielly Chevrolet, Penasco del Sol Hotel, Elinor Hallowell, Carol L. and William H. Lomicka, Robert Davis, Tiffany & Co., Jane Hamilton Fine Art, Jean and Richard Wilson and Interior Trends Remodel and Design.

Funds raised Sunday go into the Tohono Chul Park general fund, to assist with education, exhibits and operations.

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