Story by Ashley Traylor, Contributing staff writer
As the sun set over the newly built mountain at the Arboretum on Pullen Farm Sept. 17th, students and community members alike gathered in the gardens for their annual gala that raised over $11,000 this year.
The money raised from the Hutson School of Agriculture fundraiser will be used to build a children’s garden in the upcoming year.
The Arboretum is an accessible horticultural display, public garden and educational laboratory with a two-mile walking trail. It includes open woodlands, savanna, open prairie, oak/hickory forest and wetlands.
The Hutson Harvest Gala is an invitation only event open to friends of the Arboretum, agricultural alumni and residents of Murray’s community.
The gala is an annual fundraiser that takes place each September to highlight the Arboretum. The event also raises money for a special spotlight project to grow the Arboretum.
Abby Hensley, director of the Hutson School of Agriculture special university projects, said last year the purpose of the first gala was to showcase the newly built mountain and waterfall.
Since then, a pergola has been added to the farm as well.
“My daughter and I come here every Friday to walk the trails and have a picnic,” said Linda Bartholomy, a Murray resident. “We actually saw the development of the pergola, which was neat. “
Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, told the crowd the children’s garden would take a few years to accomplish-longer than the mountain and waterfall.
Brannon thanked the gala’s sponsors, CFSB, Bank of Cadiz, Heritage Bank, The Murray State Bank, FNB, US Bank and Mabel Pullen.
Stanley and Mabel Pullen were the first agriculture faculty at Murray State. When Mabel died, she left $1 million to the School of Agriculture.
The night consisted of guests snacking on appetizers, live entertainment by the Drunken Poets and a silent auction.
One Murray State alumnus attended the Hutson Harvest Gala for the first time.
“I would like to come back again next year,” Jack Kerr, of Murray, said. “I love the live music, beautiful weather and the people.”
Bartholomy said she too would mark the gala on her calendar for next year.
“The Arboretum is a special place to come,” she said. “It is a quiet setting available to everyone.”