Some grassy fields above the Chagrin River in Hunting Valley are most often quiet scenery. But come mid-June, like a fairy tale, these grounds are transformed from meadow into a chic and inviting venue that hosts a party with a purpose – an annual Summer Solstice celebration to support Hopewell, a therapeutic farm community.
Marigold Catering offered guests entering the first outbuilding drinks and snacks as they registered and signed in to bid on silent auction items via cell phone. An interior room filled with lovely antiques, artwork, goodie baskets and more, was a pleasure to tour, as was the breezeway leading to the next building with more treasures upon which to bid. Further afield was a third building – a sort of ‘man cave’ with its own staffed bar and patio on the far side. In-between sat an immense white tent that held the sit-down dinner for more than 500 guests. Under the high ceiling was a rustically elegant setting with French blue and white table linens, and galvanized buckets of green and blue hydrangea, plus votive candles for a stylish touch.
At its 18th annual Summer Solstice, Hopewell honored Peg’s Foundation (formerly the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation) a philanthropic organization that seeks to improve the lives of people with mental illness by investing in innovative projects. Peg’s has that right – Hopewell, a 306-acre working farm in Mesopotamia, Ohio, is one of only five of its kind throughout the entire United States. Through the healing power of nature and the inherent rhythms of farm life, adult residents work to overcome and manage depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and more, in order to live an independent and fulfilling life.
Hopewell clinician Laura Scarnecchia spoke insightfully about the work Hopewell accomplishes – how residents not only recover but also heal. Additionally, auctioneer Bob Hale ran a rapid-paced live auction and Fund-a-Need campaign.
That magic meadow is resting now, but will rise up again and be transformed next solstice to raise funds to support Hopewell residents, and their families dealing with the cost of mental illness. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER