Gardiner’s Bounty returns to aid the library

Bruce Kazan of Main Course and Michael Bernardo of Café Mio discuss the menu for the Gardiner Library fundraiser entitled "Gardiner's Bounty" with Leitha Ortiz-Lesh. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Bruce Kazan of Main Course and Michael Bernardo of Café Mio discuss the menu for the Gardiner Library fundraiser entitled “Gardiner’s Bounty” with Leitha Ortiz-Lesh. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Fans of the Gardiner Library will again have a chance to raise money for their favorite biblioteca this year during Gardiner’s Bounty — a silent auction and garden party fundraiser that’s now two years old.

While the celebration will still highlight the farms, fresh produce, great restaurants and creativity that make the town special, that isn’t to say that nothing has changed.


“Instead of a Saturday evening cocktail, it’s a Sunday gathering,” said Leitha Ortiz-Lesh, adding that the event is meant to invoke the feeling of a 1920s weekend get-together.

Checkers will be set up, along with lawn games and bocce ball. Last year, Gardiner’s Bounty also tried to highlight what people could get at home by featuring silent auction prizes composed of items related to town. That’s continuing in 2013.

“Our focus is all gift certificates and services. Those went the best last year,” Ortiz-Lesh said. “We’ll probably have close to 30 auction items. We’re going to have mystery boxes. We’re going to have a ‘ladies choice box’ … We’re doing things like a handyman special box.”

In setting up Gardiner’s Bounty last year, the event ended up taking the place of the annual Southern BBQ — which had been the library’s big fundraising event for several years. Initially, organizers had not wanted to trample on what they saw as sacred ground by replicating that pig roast too closely. But the changeup also threw some people for a loop.

Ortiz-Lesh noted that the demands of the crowd had been heard: the annual cake and pie auction, from the Southern BBQ, is now incorporated into Gardiner’s Bounty.

“Wish list” items are new this year. People will get a chance to donate directly to projects at the library, paying for certain needs.

“These will not be things that you’ll bid on, but they’ll be things that if you know and have in your mind that you want to contribute so much to the library for a project,” she said. “For instance, one of them is the ‘Magic Tree House’ book series.”

The award-winning children’s books come in a collection that houses the 49 books. “It’s about $400 to get the entire series,” she added. Donors who give to the “wish list” projects will get the benefit of knowing exactly what they accomplished for the library.

People can also expect great food from local chefs Bruce Kazan, of Main Course, and Mike Bernardo, of Café Mio. They’ll again be crafting dishes using fresh local produce specific to the summertime.

“The party was wonderful last year. And the food was amazing,” librarian Nicole Lane said. “It felt nice being supported like that.”

Gardiner’s Bounty was fairly successful last year, netting a profit of $10,000 that all went to the Gardiner Library. They used it buy new books, DVDs, shelves and more. Lane noted that this year they’re hoping to also use the proceeds to put up better signage to direct people to the library.

Most locals know where the library, at 133 Farmer’s Turnpike, is, but it also sits off of Main Street and requires navigating through one-way streets. Out-of-towners aren’t always clued into how to get to the library.

But for the small mountain town, the library has become a special meeting place. It offers a variety of classes and activities — like Zumba, guitar lessons and yoga — that are usually reserved for a community center. Gardiner’s Bounty seeks to preserve all that while also growing the essential mission of the library — keeping interesting books and films on the shelves.

This year, the celebration is also getting sponsorship for the event from Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, KC Fabrications, Jenkinstown Day Spa, Craig Thomas Pest Control and others.

People looking to buy tickets to Gardiner’s Bounty should know that it costs $50 per person, but that includes a luncheon buffet, beverages and live entertainment. Advanced ticket sales are the only way to get into the event, and the cut-off for ticket sales is Aug. 2.

Gardiner’s Bounty will take place at Maplestone Inn, 541 Route 32, in New Paltz, on Aug. 11. It’ll go from noon till 3 p.m.

For more information or to make reservations, head to or 255-1255.