Stems: A Garden Soirée, Overland Park’s Signature Fundraising Event of the Season

Photo by Jami Marshall

Photo by Jami Marshall

Written by Ann E. Butenas

Would you like to be a part of one of Johnson County’s premier networking events that’s actually an exquisite garden party?

Then mark your calendar for Saturday, June 23. Prepare your summer attire. Gear up your appetite for wine, food, fun, and festivities. And join a couple thousand of your friends and neighbors in what might just prove to be the most fabulous KC-area party of the season. 

The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park invites you to join the celebration at its 11th annual Stems: A Garden Soiree, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the beautiful Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. A delightful embrace of the senses, Stems gives guests an opportunity to sip wine; taste an array of mouth-watering foods from 25 top restaurants and caterers; and enjoy art, music, fireworks, beautiful surroundings, and so much more in one unforgettable evening. Plus, this is the perfect atmosphere in which to meet new friends at the networking event of the summer. Let’s just say it definitely has that “see and be seen” vibe about it.

However, it is more than just an event designed for making connections. Stems is also a purposeful gathering hosted by The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park to sustain efforts to support and develop Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, and city art installations.

In addition to a variety of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages, guests will enjoy tempting their palates with delectable delights from a host of local establishments, located in tents throughout the garden. Additionally, two bands will perform energizing and get-you-on-your-feet music. The crowd favorite, Funk Syndicate, returns this year. They showcase cover songs from the 1960s through the 1990s. A new-to-Stems band is Cowtown Country Club, which will fill the air with fresh and fun jazz harmonies coupled with Western swing and countrified covers. Performers from Lucia Aerial Performing Arts also will entertain.

Prior to the event, Patron ticket holders will enjoy a private appreciation party June 12 at the DoubleTree Hilton in Overland Park and also will receive VIP parking passes the day of the event, along with early admission at 6 p.m.

As is customary at Stems, each guest will receive a hand-painted wine glass, created by local artist Trish Reed of Ten Talents Art, who has already delivered 2,250 of her unique creations for the festivities.

“This is one of our signature features of Stems,” says Vicki Lilly, executive director of The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park. She notes that party-goers love adding to their collection, as new designs are debuted each year.

Rain or shine, this over-the-top garden party will go on. You can purchase individual tickets for $150, or the Patron tickets for $250. “This is truly the event of the season,” Lilly says, smiling.

One hundred percent of the proceeds acquired go directly to the Foundation to support its initiatives, funding necessary programs, and capital improvements. Currently, the Foundation is in the midst of a major capital campaign that includes a 22,000-square-foot visitor center at the arboretum, as well as a permanent sculpture garden. Additionally, the Foundation hopes to raise funds to provide a host of other improvements, such as extra parking and other cultural and recreational improvements.

“The goal of the Foundation is to raise $12.4 million and, to date, we have raised $8.7 million,” Lilly explains. “We hope to raise enough funds so these new improvements can be completed and opened in late 2020.”

For more information on Stems, or to purchase tickets, visit

Suzanne Steiner