For the lone Palm Beach County Park Ranger, standing sentinel to the left of the reception table at the Country Club at Mirasol, it was indeed a change of scenery. Days customarily spent at MacArthur Beach State Park, preserving its pristine elegance and serenity, amid a sea of gated communities and high-rise condominiums, were incongruously replaced with shoppers – so many shoppers! For others it would have been reason for pause. For this ranger it wasn’t; albeit it could well have been classified as minor mission creep. The mission was a worthy one; Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park presented an event called Shop ‘Til You Drop, a benefit for the park’s natural science education programs.
Co-chaired by Holly Maisto and Kathy Villablanca, the Country Club at Mirasol hosted approximately 35 vendors for the shopping pleasure of a capacity crowd that intermittently enjoyed complimentary mimosas and wine tastings while purchasing holiday gifts that ranged from chocolates and gourmet gummy bears to Mexican pewter. Fashion, accessory and home décor selections were abundant in the midst of a fine luncheon buffet that attracted guests seeking a respite before returning to their politically correct, conspicuous consumption.
Maria Tabernilla, of Mexican Pewter Imports, said, “Holly asked me if I would be a vendor their very first year and I’ve been here every year after that. It’s been wonderful.”
Florida Power & Light Company was the Presenting Sponsor while Manatee Sponsors were Meredith Trim and Jim Robo. Cheryl Houghtelin, executive director of Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park, explained the tangible results of the fundraising efforts. “Our natural science education programs are provided free to Palm Beach County students, and usually between five and six thousand students per year come to the park for field experiences and another eight to ten thousand students have virtual field trips through the school board website. This is our third annual ‘Shop ‘Til You Drop’ and we are delighted to have so many folks show up today.”
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is located at 10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr. in North Palm Beach. The Friends office may be contacted at (561) 776-7449, ext. 11 or by visiting www.macarthurbeach.org.