Friday November 05, 2010 | 10:00 PM

Maria Gallace and Tim Soley opened their Shore Road home tonight to supporters of The Arboretum at Fort Williams Park for the Friends, Food and Fort Williams party. The affair served as a kick-off to the public fundraising campaign for the arboretum project. When complete, the arboretum will include 15 sites planted with native and sustainable species and linked by a trail system around the park that surrounds Portland Head Light. The group must raise $350,000 to fund the first phase of the project, and $3.5 million to complete it.

About 150 guests arrived to enjoy the music of the Local Buzzards (Sam Sherry, Ken Gaspar and Glenn Israel) and refreshments donated by a number of nearby food businesses.

About half way through the party, Maureen Heffernan, the executive director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, told the crowd about the obstacles faced by the backers of the gardens back in 1991. With few resources, the small group was able to raise a half a million dollars, she told us. This past season the gardens attracted 90,000 visitors.

Standing at the right in the above snapshot is arboretum steering committee chair Kathryn Bacastow, who introduced Maureen and thanked everyone for coming to the party.

The fun continues tomorrow (Nov. 6) when there is a work party from 9 a.m. to noon (rain or shine) at the site that steering committee member Mary Hodgkin is pointing to on this map of Fort Williams Park. Volunteers will help remove invasive plants by hand without using herbicides.

"Come with heavy gloves, loppers and a lot of energy," Kathryn told the crowd.

If you want to know more about the Friends, Food and Fort Williams party, be sure to check out the Nov. 14 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or akamila@pressherald.com
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