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Festival of Tables

Anne Stanton - May 11th, 2006
Carol Murray’s body was badly broken 11 years ago in a car accident. Unable to walk or even talk above a whisper for a couple of years, she spent long days soaking up healing energy from Old Mission Peninsula’s aquamarine waters. Just when she started feeling normal – except for the chronic pain that still plagues her – she was diagnosed with cancer.
You might say Murray’s life is a metaphor of Festival of Tables, a huge event coming up on Saturday, May 13. For most of the day, 800 women pack a huge hall of the Grand Traverse Resort. They sip on champagne and wine, enjoy a gourmet lunch, chat, and bid on boutique jewelry and indulgences for all the senses. It’s a day for women to admire the creativity of volunteers who have spent literally hundreds of hours creating tables—miniature worlds of beauty, and imagination and possibility.
But beyond the fun, the day is meant to raise money for Child and Family Services, which helps area families that have seen painful times with alcoholism and domestic violence. The agency offers several programs to help families heal, including counseling, supervised child visitations, and child placement in foster or adoptive homes.
Carol Murray, now a cancer survivor, is the chairwoman of an ambitious committee formed by the Old Mission Women’s Club. Their entry this year is titled “Rendezvous on Old Mission Beach.” The scene will remind you of your most romantic beach interludes, complete with a silk quilted table of cascading blue waves, dozens of hand-painted silk fish swimming up and over the table, and a painted rug complete with rocks and sand.
The beach table and the event itself reflect Murray’s philosophy of choosing to focus on beauty over pain: “I guess I never lost my desire to live, to see the beautiful flowers and the sun come up every day. I prefer to see the positive things in life,” she said.
The table, valued at $4,700 retail, is the product of more than 600 hours of volunteer work. A total of 44 decorated and demo tables were prepared for the event, now in its fifth year, said Gina Aranki, marketing and public relations director for Child and Family Services.
“It’s just inspiring,” Aranki said. “The scene is one of wonderful, utter creativity. There are so many things to look at and so many different directions to go.
“You can take a lot of ideas home from this, even for somebody like me, who is decorator challenged.” The event takes place Saturday, May 13, in the Governor’s Hall at the Grand Traverse Resort. Table viewing will take place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., followed by a gourmet lunch, silent auction, raffle drawing, and door prizes. Tickets are $50 each and available in Traverse City at Details and Wildflowers (also Glen Arbor), Betsie Bay Furniture in Frankfort, and Toad Hall in Petoskey. To order with a credit card, call
231-946-8975. The event is sponsored by Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, Northern Home & Cottage, TV 29&8, and Huntington Bank.
 
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