Harpeth Conservancy’s 16th Annual River Swing set records for attendance and money raised, according to an announcement by Dorene Bolze, president and CEO of the science-based river conservation organization.
Bolze said more than 730 supporters attended the event at River Circle Farm in Franklin. After tabulating proceeds from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and the silent auction, she said the total amount raised exceeded $230,000.
“This a huge boost to our efforts to secure clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers across Tennessee,” Bolze said. “This magnificent outpouring of support was even more special as River Swing 2019 also launched a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Harpeth Conservancy.”
For the third consecutive year, River Swing was held at River Circle, the home of event co-chairs Agneta and Brownlee Currey and Kathryn and Christian Currey. Patti and Buck Williams joined as co-chairs this year.
More than 50 companies supported the event as sponsors led by Colonial Pipeline Company as the River Champion sponsor and Waltrip Automotive Group as the Automotive Sponsor. River Defender sponsors were LP Building Products, HCA Healthcare TriStar Division and Conseco Group General Contractors.
The great blue heron, an iconic bird species for waterways, was featured as a unifying design element from the invitations, backdrop, gold herons on the stage and bar and 5- foot birthday cake created by Joan Vaughn of Cake-Filled Memories. Much of the photography was by local nature photographer, Boone Thomson on the Harpeth River.
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant provided passed appetizers and a buffet dinner while desserts were donated by Whole Foods, Noshville Delicatessen, Allegra Design and Tiff Treats. Beverages were provided by Lipman Brothers, and Bill Forrester’s incredible team stocked and staffed three bars that included a special Old Hickory Sipping tea by Lipman Brothers.
The silent auction was expansive with 122 packages including two VIP tickets for all three days of Widespread Panic at Red Rocks in 2020, dinner for ten from TomKats Catering, autographed vinyl and poster from Old Crow Medicine Show and many others.
Table decorations were local flowers and smilax native vines with lanterns directed by Amos Gott with execution by Leah Mattix of Gardens of Babylon, Sue Snyder of Susanna’s Gardens and help by Baxter Overton and Virginia Waddey. Flowers were donated after the event to local services and retirement communities.
As in past years, River Swing was planned to be environmentally friendly. Single use plastics, such as straws, picks and cups were not used, and EcoProducts donated renewable and compostable sugarcane plates. Volunteers from Vanderbilt and throughout the area managed the ZeroHero tents for recycling and composting. The Compost Company removed all of the compostable material. Over 50 boxes and bags of glass, cardboard, aluminum and plastic were recycled from the event.
During a short program featuring remarks by Christian Currey and Bolze, state Rep. Brandon Ogles and state Sen. Jack Johson presented a proclamation from the Tennessee General Assembly honoring Harpeth Conservancy’s 20 years of work to protect clean water and rivers.
The highlight of the evening was music by national recording artists JoJo Herman of Widespread Panic and Joe Andrews and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. They were joined by The Bluff Band and special guests J.B. Strauss, Quincy Meeks, Lucas Leigh, Adam Gardner, Josh Hunt, Tom Landstreet and Ben Cameron of the Cameroons for a two-hour set featuring popular hits and high energy dance music.
About Harpeth Conservancy
Harpeth Conservancy is a science-based not-for-profit conservation organization.Founded in 1999 as the Harpeth River Watershed Association, Harpeth Conservancy’s mission is to restore and protect clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee by employing scientific expertise and collaborative relationships to develop, promote and support broad community stewardship and action. Harpeth Conservancy works with landowners, businesses, community, local, state, and federal decision makers and others to foster solutions that reduce pollution and maintain healthy areas.
Supported by a broad network of volunteers, donors, and professional staff, Harpeth Conservancy has expertise in a range of disciplines including water quality science, environmental and conservation law and policy, sustainable land use planning, agricultural best management practices, volunteer and community engagement, and others Find more information at www.harpethconservancy.org.