By John Schaffner

The fifth annual fall fundraiser event for the Chastain Park Conservancy Oct. 29 raised $70,000 and drew more people at $100 a person than the previous year’s event, according to Ray Mock, director of operations for the Conservancy.

The event, which was held on stage and under a big tent at the Chastain Park Amphitheater, featured food from area restaurants, live music and a silent auction. The proceeds go to helping the Conservancy restore, enhance and maintain facilities at Chastain Park, Atlanta’s largest public park.

In line with the purpose of the event, a fitting attendee for the evening was Diane Harnell Cohen, Atlanta’s director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

Also attending, just before city elections, were veteran Dist. 8 Atlanta City Council member Clair Mullen, who is in a runoff with fellow Council member Ceasar Mitchell in the race City Council president, and Yolandar Adrean, who won the election to Muller’s District 8 City Council seat on Nov. 3. Chastain Park is located in Atlanta City Council District 8.

This year’s event included tastings of food from restaurants that included Aja, C&S Seafood & Oyster Bar, Chopstix, Food 101, Horseradish Grill, Chops Steaks & Lobster Bar and Sean’s American Bistro under the tent.

Attendance at the event each year is limited to 300 and Mock said he felt the event was a sell-out. He said he believed there was a larger walk-up attendance than in previous years. Last year’s event raised just over $50,000 for the Conservancy.

Cinema Concepts became the title sponsor for this year’s event, which Mock said enhanced the financial success. Other sponsors included Cox Enterprises, The Cousins Foundation, Dow Lohnes, Deloitte Touche, Goldman Sachs, McKenna Long and Aldrich and Watson Wyatt.

In the past couple of years, the Conservancy has developed a master plan for new development and enhancements at Chastain Park, much of which is funded by city grants, but some of which is paid for from money raised through the fall fundraiser.

The Conservancy also relies heavily on volunteer services for maintaining the park. In the coming year, the Conservancy’s goal is to record 12,000 hours of volunteer service on some 50 projects in the park. Volunteers gather the first Saturday of every month to participate in park maintenance projects, according to Mock.