Peter (left) and Don Raffan preside over the bids in the live auction at Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts Wednesday

Peter (left) and Don Raffan preside over the bids in the live auction at Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts Wednesday

A Midsummer’s dream comes true

An estimated $32,000 was raised from the event, which goes into the VPAG’s programming and exhibitions

With a quarter slice of the moon shining above, there was quite a bit of whimsy and a beautiful view to savour at Wednesday’s Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts.

The 27th annual benefit for the Vernon Public Art Gallery rediscovered its bearings moving to a new venue located high above Bella Vista Road.

Guests couldn’t get enough of the view, looking at the lakes and valley below with its orchards and vineyards, as well as the art displayed as they mingled both inside and outside the three-level estate at Turtle Mountain Winery.

Art gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant could be seen flitting between the levels putting a few bids in herself in the silent auction and later the live auction.

An estimated $32,000 was raised from the event, which goes into the VPAG’s programming and exhibitions.

“I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The feedback we received had so many positive comments,” she said.

“People were loving the new venue and the quality of the art. We were happy with everything the artists contributed, and happy with the way everything came together. It was a good experience and we are looking forward to it getting bigger and better next year.”

Turtle Mountain owners Sid and Min Sidhu could also be seen chatting with guests and enjoying the sights, especially as their daughter, Dilan, 10, had her face painted to match her dress by local artist/musician Tanya Lipscomb.

“They did a beautiful job,” said Min, remarking not only on Lipscomb’s work, but on the gardens, draped in gauzy colourful fabrics and other accents designed by the team of volunteers.

Wearing a floor-length Elizabethan-era dress to adhere with the event’s Shakespearean theme, Midsummer’s committee chairperson Ruth Hoyte gave a shout out to the volunteers who gave their time to make the event possible.

“It’s wonderful to see such dedication and support for the Vernon Public Art Gallery,” she wrote in the event programme.

Upstairs on the main floor, people placed bids on the silent auction items, which ranged from large canvasses to gift certificates for specialty items.

“This is our first visit. We came as supporters of the arts,” said Lumby’s Renate Leroux, accompanied by her husband Lauren. “There is lots to see and we are throwing our numbers down in the auction.”

While the sultry tones of singer Kath Raeber and her band Kath and the TomKats filled the night air, guests noshed on delicious canapés prepared by Fig Catering, fresh fruit, and a variety of cheeses and breads, by Village Cheese Company and Cobs Bread, respectively.

Many sipped on Okanagan Spirits’ signature cocktail, consisting of a splash of vodka, raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice, shaken and stirred by the award-winning distillery’s Rodney Goodchild.

Gray Monk Estate Winery and Starbucks Coffee were also on hand with libation, of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety, to keep guests lively for the main event, the live auction, held under a tent in the gardens.

With emcee Betty Selin of Sun FM calling everyone to attention, Midsummer mainstays Don and Peter Raffan of Armstrong’s Valley Auction started their rapid-fire banter to auction off the 42 pieces of juried art.

“We downsized the auction so it went faster. The bids came in well,” said Kennedy Grant, adding, “We may be looking at changes next year and will have the music continue after the auction is over. This is the kind of venue where people want to mingle afterwards. We saw a lot of new faces out there and we want to see them keep coming back.”