PHOTO: MCHA Vice President and Garden Party Co-Chair Ross Millhiser, past Garden Party co-Chair Andrea Aikins, and Trustee and Garden Party co-Chair Claire Knopf. Photo credit: Russ De Santis, LLC.
Locust – Nearly 400 history lovers joined the Monmouth County Historical Association to celebrate the 43rd Annual Garden Party, Sunday evening June 24 at the celebrated Riverside Estate in Locust, NJ. Longtime Trustees and MCHA supporters Daren Hutchinson and Suzy Post were honored for their dedication and service to historic preservation throughout Monmouth County. With close to 15 percent of MCHA’s operating budget raised at this event, all proceeds from the evening will benefit the mission to preserve and celebrate the history of Monmouth County for all.
“It was a joy to see so many friends and MCHA enthusiasts join us in recognizing Daren and Suzy for their unwavering support of the Association and their heartfelt commitment to preserving the rich legacy of Monmouth County,” said MCHA Board of Trustees President Linda Bricker. “For over three decades, the tireless efforts of Daren and Suzy have been instrumental in the growth and success of MCHA and allowed for the preservation of countless historical treasures. In addition, we are so grateful for their enthusiasm and friendship that have enhanced all the lives they have touched”
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Navesink River, summer revelers enjoyed hors d’oeuvres passed by young volunteer servers, several representing the second generation to count the Garden Party as their first introduction to the MCHA and service to the community. Guests appreciated the gift of traditional commemorative fans as they sipped cocktails and mingled against the backdrop of the early 1900’s era columned manor. As the sun set over the sparkling water and the strains of the quartet A Song for You floated through the air, partygoers good-naturedly vied for a wide variety of silent auction items, including “skip the line” privileges at a popular local restaurant, tickets to sporting events and artwork from Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Nicholas Dawes, expert appraiser for the PBS favorite “Antiques Roadshow,” conducted spirited live bidding for several exciting treats such as a diamond necklace, access to coveted beach club membership and a day of lunch and antiques in Manhattan with Mr. Dawes himself.
A treasured Monmouth County property for over a century, Riverside was designed in 1904 by renowned architect William Welles Bosworth. Bosworth is most well-known for designing the Cambridge Campus of MIT and overseeing the restoration of the Palace of Versailles.
Suzy Post began her 40 years of service with MCHA as a volunteer, participating as a docent at the Holmes-Hendrickson House and providing support for the Garden Party and other Association events. Joining the Board of Trustees in 1979, Suzy helped to develop several innovative and successful fundraising activities. As Board Vice President, she spearheaded the search for an executive director. Serving a four-year term as President of the Board, Suzy worked closely with the Trustees and the Executive Director to increase the visibility and scope of MCHA. Following her term, Suzy transitioned to the Nominating Committee where she has utilized her experience and passion for MCHA to identify new candidates for the Board.
Daren Hutchinson was first introduced to MCHA when she volunteered as a docent for The Battle of Monmouth Exhibit to complete a Junior League project. She then moved on to lend her expertise to the Garden Party where she rose to chair the Silent Auction committee and then took on the chairmanship of the Ad Journal. As Co-chair of the Garden Party for several years, Daren worked with Trustees and volunteers to expand the scope and revenue of this popular celebration. Joining the Board of Trustees in 2011, during her six-year term Daren chaired the Development Committee where she oversaw the creation of new fundraising alternatives and the evaluation and improvement of existing programs. An early advocate for opening the Taylor Butler House to special events, Daren was a key participant in the planning and execution of the innovative Monroe Edelstein Exhibit and has also leant her creativity and enthusiasm to the Red Luncheon and Tea with Me.
Since its founding in 1898, the Association has enriched the quality of life in Monmouth County by preserving our heritage for future generations. The largest history focused private non-profit organization in New Jersey, MCHA operates a museum, archives, and research library at its headquarters in Freehold in addition to five historic house museums located throughout the county. The Association brings history to life and engages thousands of residents and businesses in the community each year through its insightful and meaningful programs and exhibitions.