Taste of the Arts, the Macon Arts Alliance’s Aug. 1 gala, whetted our appetites for all things Cuban with its theme “Havana Nights.” The Terminal Station sounded like a bustling market on the streets of Cuba’s capital with the Macon Pops’ volunteers dishing up Cuban sandwiches and the Middle Georgia Art Association tempting eager patrons with tiny eclairs, which took the prize for best dessert.
Celebrity chef Terrell Sandefur manned the best decorated booth for the Macon Film Festival, which required only that he keep the glasses full of his original MAGAtinis. Accepting the award for most savory dish of the night were Karla and Tim Andrews for the Otis Redding Foundation.
Adding to the Latin atmosphere was DJ Kevin Nichols and a live band, which had dancers in a lather over the mambo, rumba and cha-cha. Ruth Sykes took time from her booth to show off the ruffled flounce on her red dress.
Catherine Liles looked as if she might break into a meringue at any moment with her elaborate tortoise shell hair comb and black lace mantilla. Josh Rogers, decked out in white linen suit and souvenir Cuban hat, walked from Magnolia Street with his wife, Megan, but looked none the worse for the tropical temperature that night.
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The dancing was hot, the night hotter, but the bidding for the silent auction was brisk as hopeful buyers signed up for paintings, season tickets to local concerts and theaters, trips to exotic places and numerous personal and home services.
This is the fourth time Taste of the Arts has been a themed event, encouraging guests to indulge their alter egos with festive attire. Since Macon Arts has hit upon a winning formula, next year’s gala will have to raise the bar to top this one.
Jan Beeland, executive director, works tirelessly with her staff to encourage member organizations to work in concert to promote the visual and performing arts, with Macon Arts at their backs to publicize and nurture those under its umbrella. Beeland is ever present at these events, overseeing the details, as she was that Saturday night, or greeting the guests.
Kudos to Macon Arts, for a great weekend!
HONORING WOMEN LEADERS FOR 35 YEARS
In 1981, Joni Woolf, former Maconite and entrepreneur, and Joanna Watson, dean of campuses for Mercer University, served on the Women in Management committee for the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. They thought the time was right for an organization that would address the challenges specifically relevant to professional women.
From the incubation of the idea was born Career Women’s Network of Macon, which had its first meeting in 1981, with Watson as the founding president. Incorporated in 1982, CWN has grown to more than 100 members, maintaining its mission to “network ideas, experiences and resources and to solidify relationships that enhance the image and effectiveness of women.”
At a luncheon at the Marriott City Center on Aug. 4, CWN celebrated 35 years of networking success, recognizing the women who have been honored each year for their enduring impact on the cultural and business life of Macon.
Watson and Woolf, both past recipients of the Women of Achievement award, were featured speakers who marveled at the continued level of excellence in a variety of professions reflected in the membership.
Mary Wilder, professor emerita of the English department at Mercer University, and a 1987 recipient of the award, was among the honored guests. Wilder is known not only for her no-nonsense classroom approach to the correct use of the English language, but for her efforts with Upward Bound more than 50 years ago to facilitate the integration of public schools in Macon and for her bold political activism.
MORE THAN FRESH PRODUCE
If you surrendered the garden to weeds, birds and deer years ago, there is no excuse for serving canned or frozen vegetables and fruits. Every day of the week, there is a fresh market open somewhere in Middle Georgia. Forsyth opens its farmers market each Friday from noon-6 p.m., shaded by old oak trees, on North Jackson Street.
In addition to the coveted freestone Elberta peaches, which are flying off the shelves by the bushel, there is a small stall chock full of canned jellies, jams and relishes, plus handcrafted cheeses and churned butter from the Horst Stables in Barnesville.
Woody Horst enlightens his customers on the purity of his products, most of which are free of preservatives. He also identified an odd little vegetable not seen in grocery stores -- the patty pan squash, which resembles a small ruffled 19th century maid’s hat.
The market is open until Oct. 31, plenty of time to take advantage of the fall harvest.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.