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Glitter & Glow benefits conservation efforts

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Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Co-chairs of the 'Glitter and Glow ' garden club fundraiser show the topiary coat they made for the event.

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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

All that glitters will turn to gold for the lucky recipients of proceeds from the annual Fox Chapel Garden Club fundraiser.

“Glitter & Glow,” a girls night out on Dec. 5, will feature unique florals and crafts hand-made by garden club members. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fox Chapel Golf Club on Fox Chapel Road.

“We'll have one-of-a-kind arrangements that you'll never see anywhere else,” said member Barbara Laswell, co-chairwoman of this year's fundraiser with Laura Dawson.

Drawing about 200 party-goers each year, the holiday boutique brings in more than $10,000, which is funneled into community conservation and educational programs.

In recent years, money has benefited Cooper-Siegel Community Library, All of Us Care's community garden at the Sharpsburg library branch, Trillium Trail, Rachel Carson Homestead and the Botanic Garden of Western Pennsylvania.

“It's a fun night, but our mission is more than that,” said Dawson, who regularly creates holiday-themed topiaries to auction at the party. “We want to bring better awareness of what the garden club does.”

Founded in 1931, the group targets projects across the Lower Valley that will further the appreciation and knowledge of gardening and boost environmental stewardship.

With Glitter & Glow, the members tie that mission with a festive evening of flowers, food and fun.

“We sell out,” Dawson said, of the event in its fifth year. “If anyone wants a ticket, they should get it now.”

Hors d'oeuvres and desserts accompany a cash bar.

Tickets cost $30 per person.

A silent auction is the highlight of the night, Dawson said.

“The imagination of the members continues to amaze me,” Laswell said.

“Each year, members create a wide array of items that are both ingenious and innovative. I always find something for that hard-to-buy-for person on my gift list or something I can't live without myself.”

This year, Laswell and Dawson teamed up to create a quasi topiary called “GG,” a greenery-covered dress form that will greet guests at the event. The quirky creation is a glimpse of the creativity participants can expect to find in the auction.

Dawson said this year, due to requests, guests will see an added selection of decorated fresh wreaths that are door-ready for an instant holiday splash.

Club president Wendy Mitchell said the event enables club members to support not only projects within the Fox Chapel Area School District, but throughout the City of Pittsburgh as well.

“Through this support, we endeavor to make a positive impact on the quality of life for all residents of the area,” Mitchell said.

Some of the efforts funded by the club include educational walks at Blue Run and Trillium trails, and Emmerling and Salamander parks for elementary students in the Fox Chapel Area district.

The club has donated money consistently to rehab Trillium Trail, where they purchased barren strawberry and wood poppy plants to upgrade the paths.

Other projects include planting vegetables at the Sharpsburg community garden, where members work with town residents to prepare lots where crops can be grown.

The harvest provides produce for community members and the local food banks.

For more information or to purchase tickets for Glitter & Glow, visit

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at

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