Supporters of NPT and fans of the hit show Downton Abbey gathered in the elegant confines of the Mansion at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art on Saturday, March 2 to celebrate public broadcasting and bid farewell to the third season. The 140 guests came dressed in their Downton best, many in formal or period-wear, to sip on Pink Gin cocktails and treat their taste buds with food by Kristen Winston. Among those attending the event, glamorously designed — with a dash of whimsy — by Hugh Howser and Anita Hogin of H3, were Mayor Karl Dean and Anne Davis, U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn, Colleen and Ted Welch, Margaret Ann Robinson, Susan Simons, Kate Grayken, Clare Armistead, NPT Board Member Susannah Scott-Barnes, Cathy and Martin Brown, NPT Board Chair Richard Warren and wife Cathy, Charlie and Mary Cook, Edie Bass, Fran Hardcastle, and many others.
Jim Hoke and the Hot Three supplied the evening’s music, Phillip Chadwick the floral design and Vickie Turner’s VPT Ventures offered up the champagne, chardonnay and pinot grigio.
Organizers figured if everyone was going to take the time to get dressed so exquisitely, a costume contest was certainly in order. A kilted Rob McCluskie waltzed out with a “Free Bates” tote bag for his win in the male category, while Susan Byrd now has all three seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD to watch for her best female category win. In the honorable mention category for most authentic costume, the evening, and a Downton Abbey engagement calendar, belonged to Susan Simons.
The event culminated with a high-spirited live auction expertly administered by Stephen Aleman of McLemore Auctions, that resulted in one guest scoring a Viking River Cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg.
We’ve posted a few pics here after the jump. For more by photographer Susan Adcock, see our photo gallery on our Facebook page. If you were there, be sure to tag yourself and share with your friends. You look smashing, after all, and should be proud!