On with the Show

Baker Park Gala’s Shining Stars

Baker Park Drawingby Kelly Merritt

One Leaf at a Time – Prelude to a Park Gala for Baker Park” on March 7 promises to be a night to remember. Once again it will take place on Baker Park grounds replete with fireworks and the joy of hundreds of people who all share a common goal: the completion of Baker Park.

Patty and Jay Baker have graciously agreed to be the Honorary Chairs while Councilman Bill Barnett is slated to be the Gala Auctioneer again this year with music by Joe Marino and All the Kings Men.

jewelry1Especially exciting are the new auction stars, beginning with jewelry genius William Boyajian’s custom designed piece from Port Royal Jewelers. Boyajian created the unforgettable donation of a custom designed pendant last year which helped raise funds for the park. At press time Boyajian was traveling on a buying trip to the largest fine gem show in the country as part of creating the one-of-a-kind necklace.

“I planned on buying some really beautiful emerald and green tourmalines and some green garnets for the necklace that I am making in 18k gold,” he says. “I like doing gem shows before I build a project since I can search out in a treasure hunt what will look great together and then buy what I need for the project.”

jewelry2Boyajian does already have what he calls beautiful loose emerald, but felt he needed more sparkling jewels to add to his final idea.

“The necklace will be able to be wrapped around the neck several times with diamond and green gems that have a casual look but can also look very formal with the right dress,” he says. “I am also planning to have several sections of the opera length necklace that come off and can be used as bracelets so that the piece can be versatile as well.”

Boyajian’s work is known for being inspired and relevant both in beauty and purpose – as evidenced in the many special items he has created for his customers. The new necklace is no exception.

“My theme for the gem encrusted necklace is all about the park, the greenway and the beauty of all our sub-tropical flowering trees and unique leaves, so I will even use some direct casts of the leaves of some of the mangrove trees and cast these models so that they can be cast in gold and set with diamonds and gems,” he says. “I got a lot of my inspirations from bike riding along the greenway since the park is not yet finished, but the greenway is great for seeing the flowering and water way beauty of the new Baker Park and Greenway.”

In addition to Boyajian’s invaluable contribution, items of the tasty variety are also on the auction menu. These restaurants have donated the following private dining packages:


Avenue5 Executive Chef John Welch will introduce six courses of personally hand-crafted culinary specialties. Each course will be paired with wines selected by their Sommelier from the Wine Spectator list of more than 400 wines.


Executive Chef David Nelson and his staff will personally prepare a five course dinner for 10 guests in the comfort of your home.


Executive Chef Maria Furetta will prepare a private four course dinner and feature wines from Tuscany and Piedmont for six guests.

And with another stunning item, fashion forward gala attendees will be able to bid on “Have We Met Yet? Let’s Meet!” luncheon and jewelry shopping experience sponsored by Kathy Bigham, President of Bigham Jewelers. Bigham invites the winning bidder and four friends, each of whom will receive a $1,000 gift certificate and enjoy an elegant catered luncheon at Bigham Galleria. After dessert, the winning bidder and guests can browse and select their jewelry. The donation is valued at $5,500.

Finally, travelers won’t want to miss out on the Somewhere, Beyond the Sea auction item donated by Preferred Travel. It is a Royal Caribbean Cruise for two in a balcony stateroom aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest and most innovative ship at sea, the Quantum of the Seas. This is the auction winner’s choice of a sixeight night Caribbean cruise only, year round (subject to availability). It includes the cruise fare, taxes and all gratuities – which makes this auction item a serious contender. The winner will have several choices with departure ports and ships including departures from Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, Galveston, Cape Liberty or New Orleans.

“Prelude to a Park Gala” tickets are $350 per person ($200 tax deductible), $500 per patron level ($350 tax deductible), tables of 10 – $5,000 ($3,500 tax deductible). Sponsors include premier sponsor The Ronto Group, design sponsor MHK Architecture & Planning including Park Designer Matthew H. Kragh, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Port Royal Jewelers, Beacon Real Estate Partners, Law Offices of Sam J. Saad, III, PA, Coleman, Yovanovich &Koester, P.A., Premier Property Mngt., Mr. and Mrs. Jack Hurst, Preferred Travel, and media sponsors Life in Naples Magazine and the Naples Daily News, Grace Lakes Florist, Naples Print Source, Taylor Rental, Inc., Wynn’s Market and Catering, T-Shirt Express and Five Star Valet.

For information or a last-minute invitation to Baker Park Gala on March 7, contact Baker Park Gala Chair Delores Sorey at soreysan@aol.com or 239.263.2673. For general Baker Park information, visit www.friendsofbakerpark.com.

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