A crowd of about 200 gathered at the Earth and Spirit Garden Gallery in St. James City Saturday for the 4th Annual High Tea and Fashion Show.
"I'm amazed at the turnout. As you know this is our fourth annual High Tea and Fashion Show and every year it gets bigger and better," said Diane Lampitt, co-owner of Earth, & Spirit Garden Gallery. "This is the biggest we've had yet. Over 120 reservations came in and we actually had to close it."
Earth and Spirit Garden Gallery is owned by Diane and Scott Lampitt. They are passionate about their vision for the gallery.
Alma Colone models an outfit.
"At Earth and Spirit Garden Gallery, we opened with a mission," Diane Lampitt said. "Our mission is to restore the natural environment, to honor the dignity of workers, artisans and therefore fair trade, and to partner with the community, to create a collective spirit of community, and finally to celebrate the earth and the gifts given for the life of the world.
"This event highlights who we are with a High Tea Fashion Show and local designer Deb 'Z.' But is also is about helping those in need on the island with donations to the Food Pantry."
The fashion-wear for the High Tea Fashion Show was created by Deborah Zwetsch, aka "Deb Z."
"I have the Z-Wear clothing line and hand-painted silk scarfs," Zwetsch said. "This year for the fashion show I'm featuring bamboo jersey clothing which come in many colors. The great thing about it is, bamboo is an eco-friendly material, a renewable resource and earth-friendly material. I am dedicated to turning people towards earth-friendly material and earth-friendly clothing because we need to get to work right now. We need to think about what we put in our mouths, what we put on our bodies and how we can help the Earth in our daily lives."
People surrounded large tables elegantly covered with white tablecloths. Each place setting had a white tea cup and saucer. Just before the fashion show began, an English breakfast was served with Organic Fair Trade Tea, mango nut bread, scones and dessert of shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate.
In the first two years the fashion show benefited Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center. But last year the benefactor was changed to the Pine Island Food Pantry. In 2012 this event raised a little over $700 for the Food Pantry and both Deb and Diane believe they will do much better this year.
Julie Walsh traveled with friends from Cape Coral to the gallery for the fashion show. "I come to the gallery often. When I received the newsletter about this I just wanted to come out and support the local economy and the food pantry," Walsh said.
The highlight of the fashion show was the Bamboo Jersey clothing. Z-Wear models showed this new line and some hand-painted silks scarves along with the Fair Trade clothing and jewelry that Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery showcase.
The silent auction and the live auction raised funds for the Food Pantry. Items were donated by island artists, service organizations, restaurants and other businesses. Winners received everything from restaurant meals to golf packages to artwork. For the live auction there was a beautiful handmade quilt from Pat Johnson, a pet basket, and a Tropic Star Cruise. Many guests brought non-perishable food items with them.
At the end of the day the event raised over $1,300 for the Pine Island Food Bank plus lots of dry goods and canned food.