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Rustic setting sets scene for fund-raiser

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The Gilchrist Club, a private sportsman's paradise situated among the natural habitat of 23,000 wooded acres, is hosting Haven Hospice's fall fund-raiser on September 13.

"Fall at the Lodge" will feature music on a deck overlooking Suwannee Lake, dinner on the lawn between the Main Lodge and the Cypress Lodge, scene of the silent auction, and clay shoots conducted by the club's guide.

Lush rusticism is the only way to describe the lodges on the property as each overlooks one of five lakes on the property. More than 4 million trees - mostly long-leaf pine have been planted on the property. The club has also worked to restore and enhance the natural habitat to raise the native bird population.

In addition, the woodlands are home to turkeys, deer, wild hogs, and other wildlife. The lakes are home to largemouth bass, bream and crappie.

The Cypress Lodge, which will host the silent auction features a large fireplace with an antlered chandelier and stuffed turkeys and hunting memorabilia. A framed photo on a desk by the entrance shows four hunters with their trophies - alligators. The counter, made from peeled and finished tree trunks, overlooks a professional kitchen counter. In the center of the room is a pool table with nearby floor to ceiling glass walls and doors that give an open feeling and look out over woodlands and water.

Tickets for the event are $75 per person. A package including a clay shoot will cost an additional $20, while an additional overnight package that included the clay shoot and a morning-after brunch in the Main Lodge's restaurant costs $250. There are a limited number of reservations available for the overnight accommodations. Half of the proceeds for the overnight stay are being donated to Haven Hospice.

The menu for the party will feature alligator, quail, turkey and seafood, all prepared by the Gilchrist Club chef and staff.

The silent auction begins at 5:30 and dinner is at 6:45. There will also be a live auction featuring at least two vacation trips.

The entertainment for the evening includes a demonstration of Vizsla hunting dogs in field trials, a fly tying demonstration and music by The Rick Gordon Band.

Proceeds of the event support grief programs, community outreach and educational programs provided by Haven Hospice in North Florida. Haven has served more than 39,000 patients and families since 1979.

Tickets, reservations, corporate sponsorships and additional information can be obtained by calling Kay Gove at (352) 271-4662.

Tickets may also be purchased at the following Drummnd Community Bank locations:

1627 N. Young Boulevard, Chiefland

1502 E. Wade Street, Trenton

7060 C Street, Cedar Key

200 S.W. Cedar Street, Cross City.