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Henry Clay Memorial Foundation Celebrates its 25th Annual Lawn Party

Celebrating its 25th year, the 2022 Ashland Lawn Party will take place on the grounds of the Henry Clay Estate on Saturday June 25. The largest fundraising event of the year for Ashland, all proceeds go towards the maintenance and preservation of the house and grounds.

This year’s co-chairs for the event are Phil and Trudy Tibbs. The Tibbs have been long-standing supporters of Ashland, and Trudy has served on the board of Directors and on the Foundation’s Advisory Council. Presenting Sponsors are Alltech, and the Milly Ann & John Stewart Charitable Fund.

Deirdre Lyons, co-founder, and Dr Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, are pleased to celebrate the enduring legacy of Henry Clay and his beloved Ashland.  Deirdre Lyons stated, “Ashland’s deep ties to Kentucky history and its beauty make it a unique and very special place. The 25th anniversary of the Lawn Party makes this event even more special. The enduring nature of this event demonstrates Lexington’s love and appreciation for this wonderful community treasure.”

The Lawn Party traces its roots to the early 1990s. Organized by Eleanor Congleton, a casual gathering of neighbors on the back lawn, known as the “summer party,” began with card tables, paper plates, and oil tablecloths from Mr. Whiggs (Big Lots). It evolved into what is now called the Lawn Party – a tented affair with live auction. Board members, staff, neighbors, and supporters joined to organize and execute the annual event, including Lillian Longarzo, Catherine Nalli, Doris Matlock, and Elise Boyd. The live auction began with one of the most popular auction items: a formal dinner on the back terrace, organized by Lillian Longarzo, which included a gourmet dinner prepared by Ashland docents, served with fine china and crystal. Long-time staff member and volunteer Judy Ogger recalls that the dinner brought in, “big money: $1,000 to $1,500!” The Lawn Parties began to be themed and educational and, Judy relays, “it just got bigger and bigger and became a real Ashland tradition!”

Billed as the “summer’s best party,” the fun evening begins with cocktails, silent auction, and live entertainment at 5:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. the dinner by Selma’s Catering and the live auction begin.

Some of the live auction items include a rare Athenian Owl silver coin necklace with silver rope chain donated by Jeff and Mary Lynn Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries; a bone-fishing expedition in the Bahamas; and a luxury vacation home getaway for up to eight people in Manzanillo, Mexico.

The silent auction will include a case of hard-to-get Italian wines, a collection of fine bourbons and ryes, and select artwork by local artists.

“Most people aren’t aware that Ashland receives no city, state or federal funding. We must rely heavily on monies raised at the Lawn Party and other special events throughout the year to preserve this important, historical landmark right here in our own backyard,” said Jim Clark, executive director of Ashland. For more information, visit: henryclay.org/exhibits-events/upcoming-events/lawn-party.

The Ashland estate is located at 120 Sycamore Road in Lexington. The Henry Clay Memorial Foundation was established in 1926 as a private, nonprofit organization. It exists to promote the legacy of Henry Clay, to share his continued relevance locally and nationally as a great statesman, and to preserve his beloved Ashland as a testament to his love of Kentucky and country.

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