Nineteen members of Marion Garden Club traveled to Benton on Oct. 26 for the District VII of Garden Clubs of Illinois fall meeting.
The gathering was hosted by Garden Gate Garden Club of Benton at the Doug Collins and John Malkovich Event Center.
The day started early with educational display setup, Ways and Means table stocking and greeting of old friends. The Benton club provided breakfast and lunch for the 11 clubs represented.
During the morning, there was an executive board meeting, which continued into a business meeting for all in attendance. Reports were given by each club president on activities and projects completed since the spring gathering and also various committee reports.
District VII Director Linda Clutts introduced Garden Clubs of Illinois President Anita Bierbaum, who presented a message regarding her goals for her term of office and encouraged clubs to keep up the good work.
The guest speaker was Steve Gariepy, program coordinator of environmental education at SIU's Touch of Nature. He talked about the new and exciting things happening at the center, which has been in operation for 70 years. Touch of Nature is a national environmental landmark.
After lunch was served, the business meeting continued with an awards presentation to clubs for their projects completed. A quick auction was held with items ranging from Anna Bell Hydrangea to fresh vegetables.
Informational displays were put together by two clubs, and some first-place winners from the summer flower show also were displayed.
Marion Garden Club presented a farmers market display. Club members brought produce from their gardens, along with seeds they had collected, flowers, beautifully painted gourds, pictures and canned goods. The display epitomized the summer crop and fall beauty.
The next District VII meeting will be in the spring in Eldorado.