Friends Festival Of Parties

June 27, 2007

WHAT?  The Friends of the Essex Library is coordinating a Festival of Parties to benefit the library.  It will be this year’s social-fundraising event and is patterned after Madison’s highly-successful Parade of Parties.  Each host/ess picks his/her own date/time/theme and invites her neighbors/friends.  The Friends of the Library provides invitation stock and a committee to help hostesses craft their invitations (if needed).  RSVP cards are returned with checks to the Library and host/esses will be notified about acceptances/regrets.

WHO? Anyone can host.  Someone with a great idea might team up with a friend with a larger living room. The guest list is up to the host/ess.  The Friends would like to offer newcomers to Essex the ability to join a party with similar-age/interest guests so they can meet  people; hopefully some of the large-party host/esses will be able to accommodate them.  One of the successes most frequently mentioned after last year’s Moveable Feast was the fun of meeting new people (this from hostesses and guests alike). 

WHEN? October 1, 2007 through March 30, 2008.

WHY?  Because parties make good fundraisers and each host/ess knows what will most appeal to his/her friends.

HOW MUCH TO CHARGE?  This is a fundraiser, so we hope cocktail parties will start at $35 per person, based on elaborateness of the spread.  Dinners should start at $50 or $75 per person.  Think how much it costs for an evening in a restaurant with your friends—and remember this is a donation to the library.  It’s hoped that each party might raise about $750 or $1,000.

WHAT’S TAX DEDUCTIBLE?  The hostess should keep receipts for all costs (food, beverages, helpers, etc) and discuss this with her accountant.  Guests will be given guidelines about how much of their donation is deductible.

WHAT ARE OTHER PEOPLE DOING? So far hostesses have thought of neighborhood dinner parties, big cocktail parties, Sunday brunches, progressive dinners, a BBQ.  Some large parties have co-hosts, others are single hostesses.  Literary-theme dinners are possible, or seasonal party themes (Halloween, Academy Awards, New Year’s, Valentine’s, etc).

WON’T MY FRIENDS THINK IT’S WEIRD TO BE INVITED TO PAY FOR A DINNER AT MY HOUSE?   There will be publicity about the Festival of Parties. Host/esses will have mentioned this to their friends before sending the invitation, so recipients won’t be surprised.

WHAT IF TWO FRIENDS FROM THE SAME SOCIAL GROUP WANT TO DO PARTIES?  They can both give parties, but time them so that their friends can go to both…or if neither can host ALL their friends, they could divide their guest list and do two parties.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?  Contact Hostess Coordinator Rebecca Halsey,, 767-3374.  Or hostess recruiters JoAnne Carter,;  Mimi Furgueson,, 767-3323; or Lucy Leo,

Thanks in advance for your support of this FUNdraising project.

Event Co-chairs:                Marilyn Buel, 767-7742,

                 Molly Lombardi, 767-2423,

Hostess Coordinator:         Rebecca Halsey

Publicity:                          Penny Parker

Invitation Design:              Kirsten Reynolds

Invitation Assistance for Hostesses:     Kristin Madden

  Hostesses  (list in formation)

Alison Marcinek

Sabele Foster

Katherine  Jacaruso

Betsy Whidden

Molly Lombardi

Marta Collins

Lisa Laing

Leslie Black & Leslie Anderson

Penny Parker

Casey O’Brien

Terry Smith

Claire Matthews

Alison Brinkmann

Marilyn Buel

Maureen Heher

Daphne Nielsen

Rhode VanGessel

Kristin Madden/Christa Harpin