On Saturday, St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital Black Diamond Garden Party was hosted in Jim Thorpe. The Garden Party celebrated the culture and history of Jim Thorpe while also helping to raise money for the hospital. Funds from admission and other donations will be used on recovery and operation room renovations at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale.
The event was held in and around Asa Packer Mansion, Harry Packer Mansion and Kemmerer Park. Packer Hill Road was blocked off to ensure the safety of the party's guests.
"This is our largest fundraiser event and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the operation suite and recovery rooms," stated Micah Gursky, director of development at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital.
"We started a new orthopedic surgeon at the hospital and when we bring in new services like that we need new facilities to house them," he added.
This was the fourth Black Diamond event. The hospital and event coordinators felt it was an overall success.
"We had an excellent culmination of over 50 volunteers. So many people and organizations put a lot into this," said Diane Luicana, community chair of the event.
Bill Moyer, president of St. Luke's Miners Memorial, said there was a large attendance throughout the whole of St. Luke's Health Network as part of this event. He also stated that this year's garden party had the highest attendance.
The food was provided by local restaurants to give the guests a 'Taste of Jim Thorpe.' Featured restaurants included the Albright Mansion, Bear Appetite, Broadway Grille and Pub, Flow, Johnnies II, Molly Maguire's Pub and Steak House, RiverWalck, Through the Looking Glass and Alice's Pantry.
Members of the Mauch Chunk Historic Characters were dressed in period costume, circulating guests through the park while giving background of Jim Thorpe/Mauch Chunk. Members of the Eckley Players also dressed in period costume. The Eckley Players participated in a 'Walk in Time' game. The players gave historical background by portraying key historic figures of Mauch Chunk and asking the guests questions.
Tours of Asa Packer Mansion, Harry Packer Mansion, and the Kemmerer Carriage House were featured.
The Kemmerer Carriage House, originally built in the 1850s, was open for tours of the renovations. John Drury, founder and director of the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center, started working on renovations in 2008.
The WYSO Foundation exhibit was also located in the carriage house. The WYSO Foundation is an organization that preserves the artwork of Frank Wysochansky, a Pennsylvanian contemporary artist. The foundation has a collection of Wysochansky's 5,000 pieces depicting the anthracite coal mine in Pennsylvania.
"We have one man's entire body of work in one place," stated Steven Lichak, trustee and curator of The WYSO Foundation.
The garden party was intended to give the guests a chance to experience many aspects of Jim Thorpe's culture and history.
"The community of Jim Thorpe truly embraced this event," Gursky said.
Guests had the opportunity to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Kemmerer Park.
Music was provided throughout the evening. Magic 105.5 WMGH provided music as well as live entertainers, Sterling Koch and David Westrip.