CAZENOVIA — Caz Life, a committee of the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce (GCACC), recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the ongoing work of the Cazenovia Garden Club (CGC).
For over 70 years, the CGC has worked, often behind the scenes, to beautify the community and bring together people with mutual interests in home gardens and civic improvement.
The club, which is a member of the GCACC, contributes thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to the community each year by providing flowers, tending gardens, and planting trees throughout the village.
All the plants, planters, hanging baskets, wreaths, garlands, and bows used in CGC projects are paid for by the club itself.
CGC initiatives are currently funded by membership dues, annual spring and holiday sales, and donations.
“We are in a unique position as an events organization with the backing of the Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce,” said GCACC President and Caz Life member Ralph Monforte. “It is not always an exact science, but through our work with businesses, municipalities, and community members, we are better able to see the gaps between organizations. In one of our recent meetings, a community member brought up to us that the garden club was having funding issues [and] that their traditional ways of fundraising were not sufficient going into 2024. We knew that although this issue is a little bit outside of our scope, we couldn’t let this happen. After speaking with the garden club directly, they notified us that with the rising prices of supplies, they would undoubtedly be about $5,000 short.”
According to CGC President Glenda Pugh, the club plans to primarily use the donations collected through Caz Life to replace its holiday wreaths, bows, and garlands as needed.
“They are an expensive purchase, and the harsh winter weather takes a toll on them,” said Pugh.
On Oct. 18, Monforte reported that the GoFundMe, which was launched in early October, had raised approximately $1,000.
“We are aiming to raise $5,000 in full for the garden club,” Monforte said. “However, any money we can put towards community beautification we will consider a success.”
To donate to the CGC GoFundMe, visit gofundme.com/f/cazenovia-garden-club.
Cazenovia Garden Club
The CGC is a non-profit organization that is a member of both the VI District of the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc. and the Central Atlantic Region of National Garden Clubs, Inc.
Founded in 1949 and federated in 1960, the club aims to stimulate interest in horticulture, develop skills in the beautification of home and community, create an awareness of national and local conservation problems, inspire a desire to serve in these areas, and further the goals and objectives of the regional and national organizations to which it belongs.
In preparation for the holiday season, the CGC provides lighted wreaths for the lampposts throughout the Historic Business District, decorates hayracks and window boxes, and coordinates with the village to hang garlands on storefronts and the Village Fountain. It also donates Christmas gifts to the CazCares food pantry and clothing closet.
The club provides and maintains plants at the Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps building, Carpenter’s Barn, the Gothic Cottage, Lakeland Park, the post office, and both village welcome signs on Route 20.
It also provides and maintains annual plantings in hanging baskets on lampposts, in sidewalk planters, and in window boxes throughout the village.
Additionally, the organization funds an annual scholarship for a Cazenovia High School senior to study horticulture; donates pantry items at monthly meetings to CazCares; coordinates an annual cleanup at the south end of Cazenovia Lake; supports the Cazenovia Tree Commission; and plants and maintains gardens at the Cazenovia Public Library, the Veterans Baseball Field, and the Village Fountain.
The garden club is welcoming new members.
Christmas Walk sale
On Friday, Dec. 1, the CGC will hold a fundraiser sale during the annual Cazenovia Christmas Walk.
The sale is being organized by CGC Christmas Walk Sale Committee members Bonnie McCabe, Mimi Weber, Julia Shotzberger, Cate McDonough, Phyllis Lawrenz, Connie Hasko, and Pat Hill.
During a Nov. 30 workshop at the First Presbyterian Church Meeting House, club members will create small, festive table arrangements using a variety of materials, including natural greenery, seasonal ribbon, faux berries, dried seed pods, and pinecones.
During a second workshop, led by Weber, members will also construct boxwood topiaries.
The arrangements and topiaries, along with natural birch bark candle holders, will be sold outside and inside Community Bank on Albany Street during the Christmas Walk.
“The garden club would like to thank Community Bank as well as Lee Dowling of Deer Hill Farm for his generous donation of greens for the arrangements,” said Hill, who chairs the sale committee. “The Christmas Walk sale is not only an opportunity to raise funds for our many projects, but it also gives CGC members the opportunity to interact with the Cazenovia community and be part of this time-honored tradition.”
GCACC and Caz Life
The mission of the GCACC is to benefit the local economy and enhance the community’s quality of life by actively serving, representing, and enhancing business growth and success, and by providing programs and activities to improve interaction between local businesses and the Cazenovia area communities. For more information, visit cazenovia.com.
The GCACC launched the Caz Life events committee last spring to help foster local business development, promote tourism, and implement effective marketing strategies to enhance the vibrancy and economic growth of the village.
Earlier this month, the committee celebrated the changing leaves and cooler weather by organizing a community-wide Fall Festival filled with seasonal activities for all ages.
To learn more about the committee and upcoming events, visit the Caz Life Facebook page or Cazenovialife.com.