Elachee Announces Flights’ Delay

Elachee Nature Science Center has rescheduled its 2021 Flights of Fancy Benefit and Auction to October to increase the chance for holding an in-person event.

February 19, 2021 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Elachee Nature Science Center announced today the organization’s 21st Annual Flights of Fancy Benefit and Auction has been rescheduled for Saturday evening, October 23, 2021. Changing this gathering from a spring event to fall 2021 increases the chance for this popular party to return to its in-person outdoor format at the Nature Center this year. 

“I feel that the true value of the Flights of Fancy event is the unique experience attendees have when they are exposed to the beauty and magic of Elachee,” says Mandi Whiting, Elachee Trustee and Chair of the 2021 Flights of Fancy Volunteer Host Committee. “Nothing beats visiting the Nature Center in person to fully grasp what an incredible place this is. I know I enjoy bringing my friends, plus sponsors always get so excited around Flights’ time in anticipation of mingling with others under the trees and stars. By delaying this event, we hope the October 23 date will give us a shot at being able to once, again, celebrate together, in person.”

The Flights of Fancy Benefit and Auction is hosted by the Elachee Board of Trustees and orchestrated by a Volunteer Host Committee. #Flights2021 is presented by Elachee Annual Platinum Sponsor Northside Hospital, and made possible thanks to dozens of event sponsors and the generosity of scores of auction donors throughout the region. (See current Flights2021 sponsors).

Elachee Trustee and Flights2021 Master of Ceremonies Phil Bonelli is fired up about gathering with friends in October. “Last spring, because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we quickly altered the event’s format to provide a live virtual experience, and we had tremendous success. However, nothing compares to getting together in person.”

This year’s Flights of Fancy event will now take place on Elachee’s incomparable outdoor patio and balcony from 6-9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 23, 2021. A limited seating event, admission is exclusively through sponsorships that range in value from $300 up to $2,500 with tiered benefits and recognition. Visit www.elachee.org/flights-of-fancy to purchase a sponsorship or to submit a sponsorship commitment pledge.

This beloved event has been named Best of Hall 2021 Non-Profit Event by Gainesville Times’ readers. The Flights of Fancy auction is an annual favorite known for its quality selection of eclectic treasures and experiences that are nature-inspired or eco-friendly. The Flights2021 auction will be also online – open to anyone through a dedicated mobile bidding app. Donations for the Flights2021 auction are being accepted now through the end of August 2021. (See the Flights2021 Auction Donation Package for details.)

“Elachee is such an asset to the north Georgia region, enhancing quality of life,” Elachee Board of Trustees Chair Emily Bagwell comments. “Flights of Fancy is Elachee’s sole fundraiser each year. Last summer when the team started planning this 2021 event, we thought a spring gathering would be possible. However, in an abundance of caution the Elachee Board of Trustees fully supports moving the event to October this year in the hope that our friends can join us at the Nature Center for this celebration.” 

Monies raised at Flights of Fancy have tremendous impact throughout north Georgia. Event proceeds will support Elachee’s mission to promote environmental understanding through education and conservation by providing access to nature for school children from across the region coming to Elachee on field trips or through Elachee in Your Classroom outreach programming. Proceeds will also support critical initiatives in the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve – one of Georgia’s largest protected and most diverse green spaces – including Elachee’s upkeep of the 8-mile hiking trail system open year-round to the public.

Elachee’s incoming President and CEO, Sarah Bell, is also excited about Flights2021, stating “I look forward to meeting and visiting with Elachee’s incredible supporters in this setting. Sharing my love for this organization while gathering with friends at this beautiful Nature Center sounds like my cup of tea!” Bell has been named to succeed Andrea Timpone, Elachee’s long-time leader who is retiring in April 2021.

Elachee is the only nature center in the southeastern United States accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/COGNIA. This privately-owned and independently operated 501c3 not-for-profit organization annually serves over 70,000 visitors, among which some 35,000 are school children. Elachee relies on earned income and tax-deductible donations, planned gifts, grant awards, an annual sponsorship program and the yearly Flights of Fancy event to fund operations. Visit www.elachee.org to learn more.