After much consideration, the Chicago Botanic Garden has postponed the 2009 Antiques & Garden Fair, originally scheduled for April 16 through 19, until a date to be determined in the future.
We finished 2008 in a solid position, with end-of-year fundraising revenues coming in a little bit stronger than predicted (thank you to all donors!). I feel very good about our future, but am committed to mitigating any risk we might encounter as a result of the current retail climate. The Antiques & Garden Fair is a beautiful, well-received and well-attended annual event that opens the spring season with great excitement and accolades, but in anticipation that the weak economy will have an impact on consumer spending at the Fair, as well as preview party donations, and to avoid the potential devastating effect that a weekend of rain might bring on top of weakened spending, postponing the fair will ensure that we do not go into our busy summer season in a negative financial position. The support that we receive from the Fair’s sponsors will be applied, with the sponsors’ approval, to other 2009 Garden events and programs, further shoring up the 2009 budget.
This action represents one of many steps the Garden is committed to taking to ensure its strength for the long term, and position us to fulfill forever its core mission — to promote the enjoyment, understanding and conservation of plants and the natural world.
Even without the Fair, there is much to look forward to at the Chicago Botanic Garden this spring. Visitors will enjoy 385 acres of spring flowers at their best, hundreds of classes at the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, flower shows (including the American Daffodil Society’s national show), and sales, spring garden walks, the May opening of the Model Railroad Garden, A Bloomin’ Sale, and our Mother’s Day brunch. Work will also continue to promote the future impact of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, as we look forward to its opening in September. We also eagerly look forward to the Rare Affair and Summer Dinner Dance in June.
We will communicate this decision through direct contact with involved partners, through Member Magazine, our e-newsletter, on our website, and in other publications.
Thank you for all of your support on the Fair in the past years and we do look forward to having it return at the appropriate time.