The Elizabethan Gardens celebrates 70 years

Published 6:08 am Friday, November 12, 2021

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The Elizabethan Gardens commemorated its 70th anniversary October 13 with a Jubilee Celebration, ribbon cutting ceremony and awards.

About 150 people gathered in person and more joining online for an afternoon of festivities including food, bubbly and anniversary cake.

The North Carolina chapter of The Daughters of the British Empire, a non-profit organization that supports local charities, offered to partner with The Elizabethan Gardens and plant an oak tree in honor of the English Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee. “We thought it was a perfect partnership. It is a way to celebrate our common history,” said executive director Carl Curnutte. Photos of the tree planting were sent to the queen. “As far as I know, we are the first place in the United States to [celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee],” Curnutte continued.

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Miles Daniels played the piano, the Garden Club created beautiful flower arrangements and the Holiday House Weddings and Events provided decorations for the event.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was in celebration of the moving of the 16th century-modeled gazebo from the shoreline – where it was deteriorating due to erosion – to a more protected spot in the garden, made possible through a grant from the Meekins Charitable Trust.

Because The Gardens’ annual dinner was canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, staff took advantage of the celebration to present awards. A Special Recognition Award was presented to John Buford, the marketing contractor who expanded the history exhibit in Odom Hall. Volunteer of the Year went to board member Gail Reynolds for her many hours of volunteering and dedication to The Gardens. “She goes well above what anyone would ask,” Curnutte said. The Business of the Year award was presented to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and the Dare County commissioners, who have offered support and grants to The Elizabethan Gardens’ WinterLights. “We’ve really come a long way since our first year when we started with 30,000 lights,” Curnutte said of WinterLights, which is now in its 12th year. “We are always adding more and building on it.”

Of the successful afternoon, Curnutte said, “We’re grateful to the community for their continued support to make sure the garden is thriving, which it is.”