The Gentlemen of The Garden’s yearly costumed wingding is taking place Oct. 26 at the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden in West Palm Beach for the last time, according to organizers.
The ghoulish night garden party, which gathers 700-plus society folks from both sides of the Intracoastal, is threatening to outgrow the Garden and probably outlived its welcome in the quiet residential neighborhood that it rocks once a year.
“There’s too much of everything,” said Kevin Clark, who builds the dozens of electronic monsters and ghosts that inhabit the underbrush. “The party has really outgrown the infrastructure. It was never meant to be this big.”
The scuttlebutt at the GOG, the fundraising arm of the Ann Norton Garden, is that Clark wants to concentrate on another fundraiser at the West Palm institution, the Festival of Trees.
“For the Festival of Trees (which starts days after Devil’s Night), you can get $20,000 from a bank easily,” said one GOG member. “It’s not so easy to find sponsors for something called Devil’s Night.”
The Festival of Trees brings in about 500 people a night through the decked out Barcelona Road Garden for two weeks, making it the garden’s main fundraiser. Last year, it raised about $170,000 raise last year — compared to $75,000 for Devil’s Night.
Clark said the GOG has received offers for his equipment, about $60,000 worth of homemade robots, smoke machines and other Halloween must haves. Someone even offered to buy the concept and list of partygoers, who usually show up in costumes that can be worth thousands, to revive the party elsewhere.
Incidentally, said Clark, ticket sales for this year’s party have been brisk, especially considering last Halloween’s rain storm.
Tickets start at $150 for general admission, and $500 for VIP access. As usual, it’s all you can drink and eat, courtesy of some of the area’s best restaurants.
Said society maven Kirsten Braden: “The Gentlemen of the Garden defined Halloween and the season kick off party for many socialites not only from Palm Beach, but up the Eastern Seabord. Unfortunately, their success has also become their party’s demise.”
Check out the video of last year’s event: