Annual fund-raiser draws more than 350 to Unionville horse farm
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
The assessment of attendees at the Chester County SPCA’s elegant 26th Annual Forget-Me-Not Gala in Unionville on Sunday proved overwhelmingly positive.
Factoring in the weather, the crowd, the attractions and the ambience, board member Kim Denise Morton echoed the sentiments of many: “It’s perfect … I’m not sure how it could be any better.”
Kevin Mengel Sr., a first-time attender, said he was very impressed with the event’s organization as well as its offerings, which included superb vistas, food, music, canine demonstrations by U.S. Customs officials and Search & Rescue Dogs of Pennsylvania – all in support of animal advocacy. “I’ll definitely be back next year,” he said.
The gala, emceed by Sue Serio, the weather anchor for Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia, was held for the second year in a row at Rolling Plains in East Marlborough Township, the historic residence of Katie and Cuyler Walker. Under bright blue skies, the property bore little resemblance to the scenes moviemaker M. Night Shyamalan captured there in two of his films.
Instead, the property offered a sunny backdrop for one of the gala’s signature events: the carriage parade, a procession of more than a dozen horse-driven vehicles in a variety of styles. It also boasted a live and silent auction, where bidders competed for prizes ranging from an animal-themed wine basket to an African safari.
Cuyler Walker, who chairs the East Marlborough Township supervisors’ board, said he and his wife enjoyed last year’s event and were pleased when the Chester County SPCA took them up on their offer to host it again. “It’s a treat for us – and for such a good cause,” he said as one of the family’s five Labradors settled at his feet.
Rich Britton, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA, said it was great to see so many people support the agency, a nonprofit that depends on donations for its mission, which includes taking in unwanted animals and investigating abuse complaints, which typically average more than 400 a year.
Britton called the turnout of more than 350 the best in recent memory. “The Chester County SPCA would like to thank Cuyler and Katie Walker for opening their hearts and their lovely historic farm to support our mission to promote the welfare and humane treatment of animals and be an advocate on their behalf,” Britton said. “This year the bar was truly raised, as I have never received more compliments about the event. My hat’s off to the tremendous volunteers and CCSPCA supporters that made it such a tremendous success.”