Nestled along Biscayne Bay in scenic Coconut Grove, The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) is home to eleven acres of tropical flora and fauna in a pristine secluded Eden where even the nearby sounds of city traffic seem to defer to the rustling royal palm trees swaying in the ocean’s breeze.
The 18th Annual Bali Ha’i Party at the Kampong will take place Sunday, April 1, from 5 to 8pm at the exotic ecological oasis where famed botanist David Fairchild resided until his passing in 1954. This quintessential garden party will include live Hawaiian style musicians with authentic crafts and lei making while guests sample gastronomical delights from over 30 of the finest area restaurants along with ample wine, champagne and tropical libations to enjoy.
“This is our annual fundraiser and it presents an opportunity to help maintain and expand The Kampong’s diverse botanical living collection,” said Kampong Development Officer Sandra Tedder. “I really see it as a hidden gem. There is a unique feel here as though you are stepping into someone’s private oasis and have it all to yourself.”
Walking onto the quiet lush garden setting while breathing in the entrancing fragrance of flowering plants and ducking around the festooning Spanish moss hanging off the live oak trees is like going back in time. One might feel as if a Fairchild famous visitor from the past like Alexander Graham Bell (David Fairchild’s father-in-law) or Thomas Edison could be just around the corner.
The main house at The Kampong (named by the Fairchilds and Javanese for village) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The breathtaking gardens represent one of South Florida’s unique venues for scientific study,” said Tedder. “It holds a fascinating assemblage of ornamental, economic, and medicinal plants, including rare and unusual varieties of fruit, flowering trees, and plants from the tropics of Africa, South America, and South East Asia.”
Friends of the Kampong like Event Co- Chairs Tina and Dan Carlo and Tara and Steve McNamara will host the Bali Ha’i garden party that also benefits The American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) according to AIWF South Florida Chair, Dan Richael.
“The event, as always, is a collaborative effort between the Kampong and the South Florida Chapter of The American Institute of Wine and Food along with individual sponsors. This is one of the most important food and wine events on the Miami social calendar. Bali Ha’i at The Kampong has sold out each of its 17 years,” said Richael.
The AIWF was founded in 1981 by Julia Child and friends as a way to teach children that healthy food can taste great. “Each year thousands of fourth and fifth graders in Miami-Dade County are educated about food through the AIWF. This event also allows us to sponsor a $10,000 culinary scholarship for a deserving student.”
“The partnership between NTBG and AIWF is important because we have a chance to support each other each year at this unique event. Developing strong healthy partnerships makes both organizations stronger. I love my organization but I fell head over heels in love with The Kampong when I got involved.”
To find out more about the exquisite wines, champagnes and exotic libations along with tempting culinary selections from restaurants like 3030 Ocean, Christy’s, The Dutch at W South Beach, Nobu, Altamare, and Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, visit balihaiparty.com. A silent auction along with entertainment and live music will add to the festivities. VIP Lu’au Party at the Point from 4 to 5pm precedes the main event commencing at 5pm on Sunday, April 1. Tickets start at $150 and 70 percent of the cost of tickets is tax deductible. Around trip all-expense paid trip to Kuai, Hawaii will also be raffled at the event.