A rainy forecast didn't wash away the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire this year.
Hundreds of people attended the 13th annual edition of the faire, held June 21-22 at three Barrington Hills estates.
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Spirits were not dampened by Mother Nature's decision to thoroughly water the gardens for well over an hour on the first day of the event. Faire guests made the best of the situation, many sporting blue plastic bag "ponchos" distributed by Garden Faire volunteers to keep the raindrops at bay as they continued to shop under shelter in the farmhouse and barn filled with upscale flea market items.
"This was the worst weather I have experienced," admitted Garden Faire co-chair Sandy Bollenbacher. "That being said, all of our Hands of Hope committee members and volunteers really stepped up to make our guests feel welcomed."
The three Barrington Hills estates received more than 850 visitors over the two-day event. Tickets were good for both days, so many Friday attendees opted to return Saturday to enjoy the full faire experience without the rain.
Guests had access to several beautiful garden displays, stunning designer party vignettes and unique backyard features including a cascading waterfall, beautiful lake and pool house, a crushed oyster shell bocce ball court, a chicken coop, a secret garden oasis and a French styled potager garden brimming with summer vegetables.
As a special treat, the homeowner at Garden #1 opened her door to faire goers for a first-floor tour of her home.
Throughout the day students performed musical numbers near the dining tent, young volunteers sold raffle tickets and goat cards, the French Market vendors offered a variety of goods ranging from edible treats to home furnishings and fashion items.
Food was provided by Barrington's Egg Harbor Café, L'Eiffel Bistrot in South Barrington, and Barrington's Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie.
The fun and festivities were ongoing and included two informative workshops presented by Barrington-area party planner Christina Currie, and Kelly Donlea, chef, author and owner of Organizing Dinner.
The faire brought in over $235,000 for Barrington-based charity Hands of Hope. Hands of Hope was started as a direct response to an eye-opening trip to Africa by group of local women who saw hundreds of women and children with debilitating sicknesses living in life-threatening conditions while struggling to raise their families. The group returned, determined to make a difference.
"I have learned that we are all the same -- no matter where we live, no matter what are circumstances," said Hands of Hope President/Founder Vicky Wauterlek. "We all have the same desires for a better life, for a better future for our children.
"We work hard to make sure the schools that are built will continue to educate children for generations, the wells will continue to provide clean water for communities for years and a million-dollar loan portfolio will be used to continue the economic growth in the rural community that we are working in," Wauterlek added.
This year's Faire proceeds will be used to continue this work in communities with extreme poverty.
For more pictures and information about the Garden Faire and Hands of Hope see their Facebook page (search Hands of Hope, Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire), or visit www.handsofhopeonline.org.