Event recap: The Connection’s “Be Merry & Mingle”

Guest post by Katie Racey, Membership Events Coordinator

The Connection: Be Merry and Mingle was held on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at Meijer Gardens in December amidst the Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition. It was a great night full of Christmas festivities including a coffee bar, cookie decorating and many different desserts. Cookie decorating is a lot of fun no matter how old you are!

One of the best parts of the night was seeing the decorated Christmas trees exclusively with the other guests at the event. It was such a nice way to relax during the holidays and network with the other guests. There is no other place around here where you can see such beautiful Christmas trees and then enjoy the tropical warmth of the Lena Meijer Garden Conservatory. No matter what the season, the Gardens always provides the perfect setting to be merry and mingle.

Check out photos of the event and add yours on our Facebook page.

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The Connection, a membership level at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, is a vibrant group of community members in the West Michigan Area in their 20s, 30s and 40s who wish to help “promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environments and the arts” in an innovative and fun way.

The Connection Member Highlight: Chris and Katherine Pegman

Chris and Katherine Pegman have been members of The Connection since 2008. Chris is a consultant/IT auditor for Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter, PC. Katherine is the director of West Michigan Learning Center for Children with Dyslexia.

Why did you two join The Connection?

We want to meet new people, make new friends, and expand our network in the community.

What do you enjoy most about being a member?

We enjoy meeting new people and enjoying the ever changing beauty the gardens has to offer in all seasons.

What has been your favorite event since you joined?

The Be Merry & Mingle Event this December was a great opportunity to be at the gardens at night, all decorated for the holidays, and have the place open just for The Connection.  We really enjoyed visiting the Railway Garden with its new additions and seeing the Tropical Conservatory at night, lit only by white Christmas lights.  It was also nice to meet other young professionals and get advice about new responsibilities I face in my new position as director of  the West Michigan Learning Center for Children with Dyslexia.  The appetizers, drinks, and cookie decorating were great too!

If you could own one of the sculptures in FMG’s collection, what would it be and why?

It’s really difficult to choose since there are so many wonderful and unique pieces in their own right.  One in particular would be Deborah Butterfield’s Bronze Horse.  The look of driftwood with the weight of bronze is pretty amazing.

Event Recap: The Connection’s Hobnobs & Hops

Guest blog post by Laura McPhail
Laura is the owner of The Hideout Brewery. She is a member of The Connection’s Steering Committee and has been a member since its inception.

Laura at The Connection's "Go Green" event last year

 At the Hobnob & Hops Connection event, Wednesday, October 13, my husband, Ken and I got to enjoy the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in an intimate setting.  The farmhouse and the barn with music by Gabe Lundy drifting through the air was the perfect backdrop for an absolutely enjoyable evening.

After grabbing a caramel apple made by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and some delicious Michigan wine it was time to meet some new people.  The “Minute to Win It” games were the perfect opportunity to meet many of the guests, share a laugh and discover some new skills.  Who know you could actually stack 5 apples?

We also got the chance to venture out into the chilly night for an afterhours sculpture tour.  A small, but jovial group of us had a great time on the tram with our tour guide.  We even learned a little something about art!  The nice surprise is that I got to meet new Connection members that had just signed up that night.  After winding down and heading home I realized how much I look forward to seeing them again at the next event in December.

Mark your calendar for “Be Merry & Mingle at Meijer Gardens” on Thursday, December 16, 6-9 PM.

The Connection Member Highlight: Josh Depenbrok

Josh Depenbrok

What do you do for a living?

I own and operate GRNow.com.

Why did you join The Connection?

I wanted to have a chance to get involved with and give back to an organization I love, Meijer Gardens, and The Connection is a great way to do that.

What do you enjoy most about being a member?

It’s been great meeting other young professionals around the community and the events are really great because Meijer Gardens offers a setting no other location can.

What has been your favorite event since you joined?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to one. Last year’s Summer Tailgate had spectacular food, the Fall event in the barn had a great atmosphere, and being able to meet the Chihuly installation artists at the event this past Spring was a really cool and unique opportunity.

If you could own one of the sculptures in FMG’s collection, what would it be and why?

Definitely the Rodin of ‘Eve’ in the Sculpture Garden. I’m a huge fan of late 19th century art.