Thursday, July 26, will be an evening of celebration at McCrory Gardens in Brookings. The annual Garden Party will be held in conjunction with the formal dedication of the new McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center. Courtesy photo
• Annual Garden Party to take place same evening
BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University’s botanical gardens are in full bloom this summer with the addition of the McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center.
On Thursday, July 26, the new center will be dedicated and celebrated with a formal ceremony and the annual Garden Party.
Next week’s festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the formal dedication ceremony outside the north entrance of the center. At 6:30 p.m., the annual Garden Party will kick off. The public is encouraged to attend both events.
“To commemorate the new McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center, we’re hosting the annual Garden Party in conjunction with the dedication ceremony. And, we’re pulling out all the stops this year,” said Martin Maca, associate director of McCrory Gardens.
In addition to a variety of SDSU ice cream, guests will be served hot dogs, chips and lemonade. Local jazz band “Murph and Friends” will share entertainment duties with area bluegrass band “Lonesome Rail.” Guests also will be able to tour the new center and meet sculptor Dee Clements, who created “The Prairie is My Garden” bronze sculpture that greets visitors at the north entrance of the center.
“We invite people to come out and see our spectacular new center and enjoy our vast collection of perennials and nearly 30,000 annuals that were planted this spring,” said David Graper, director of McCrory Gardens. “We encourage guests to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on while they take in the sounds, sights and smells of the evening.”
Funded entirely by private gifts, the $4.2 million center plays vital educational and functional roles for guests, SDSU students and faculty, and the community. Since its official opening in January, the center has hosted nearly 100 events, ranging from business and educational meetings to wedding ceremonies and receptions.
“McCrory Gardens has always been a popular destination for guests from across the region,” said Maca. “Now, with the addition of the Education and Visitor Center, we can provide a year-round experience for visitors. Plus, we can enhance educational opportunities for the region’s gardeners and other visitors.”
The 9,350-square-foot facility features two class/conference rooms that each can seat up to 30 people, a “great hall” that can seat 200 to 300 people, administrative offices and public restrooms.
The new building, which is LEED-silver certified, incorporates natural building materials and energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems; it also uses rain gardens for storm water management. Construction on the building began in fall 2010.
A bronze sculpture titled “The Prairie is My Garden” graces the north entrance of the new center. An anonymous donor enabled the commission of the sculpture by Dee Clements, a South Dakota native and renowned sculptor from Loveland, Colo. The sculpture is inspired by celebrated South Dakota painter Harvey Dunn’s “The Prairie is My Garden.”
The McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center is a project of It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University. To learn more about the $200 million fundraising campaign, visit www.ItStartswithState.org.
For more information, contact McCrory Gardens at 688-6707 and look for it on Facebook.
If you’re going ...
What: Dedication of McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center and annual Garden Party
When: Thursday, July 26. Dedication ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Garden Party from 6:30 till dusk.
Where: McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center. Entrance is on 22nd Avenue, along east side of gardens on SDSU campus.
Parking: Limited parking available in McCrory Center lot and west McCrory lot. Overflow parking in Performing Arts Center lot with shuttle service beginning at 5 p.m. Parking also available on west side of Walmart parking lot. Valet service provided at McCrory Center lot by Delta Chi Fraternity.