Press Release

A Wildly Successful Night for Children’s Education
at Fernbank Museum’s Lost Oasis Benefit Party

More than 400 attendees heeded the call of the wild on Saturday, June 8 at Fernbank Museum’s Lost Oasis 2013: Wild Safari. The event, hosted by Fernbank’s Artemis Guild of Young Professionals, raised more than $200,000 for children’s education programs at the museum.

Drawing inspiration from Fernbank’s Extreme Mammals exhibition, on view through August 18, Lost Oasis 2013: Wild Safari was on-trend with this season’s favorite fashions, showcasing hints of leopard spots, zebra stripes, snakeskin, giraffe prints, cat eyes and wild masks decorating dresses, shoes, ties, tables, scarves and friendly faces.

Attendees feasted on a variety of wild cuisine by A Divine Event—perfect for vegetarians and carnivores alike—ranging from salads and pastas to salmon and beef brisket. Fernbank served up a full bar with specialty drinks, including Sundowners and Mango Mojitos. The dessert room was paradise for those with a sweet tooth, as the decadent oasis was filled with mini bites of tasty cakes, lemon bars, and various chocolate delights.

The evening honored Ryan Smith Dunlap and Sam Dunlap for their long-standing commitment to Fernbank Museum, which has included serving as Chairs of Fernbank’s major fundraising events, starting with Lost Oasis in 2008 and the formal gala, A Timeless Affair, in 2012. Ryan Smith Dunlap also serves as a member of Fernbank’s Board of Trustees alongside her aunt, Dorothy “Wawa” Smith Hines.

“It was a night we will never forget. Our favorite part was celebrating Fernbank with new and old friends while raising funds that will help empower the lives of children through nature and science,” said Honorary Chair Ryan Smith Dunlap. “The festive cocktails, live music and auction were simply fantastic.  And the caricature artists were wildly fun.”

Throughout the evening, attendees danced to live music by the Atlanta Beat and bid on more than 100 items in the silent auction. The wine wall was a big hit as guests donated $25 for a chance to take home a bottle of premium wine, including a 2008 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2002 Heitz Wine Cellars Grignolino, a 2009 Hawkes Chardonnay, and  Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

“What a fabulous extravaganza of leopard and zebra prints and festive fun for Fernbank,” said Reid Willingham, who served as Lost Oasis Co-Chair with her husband Kirk. “From the wine wall to the safari décor, it was indeed a wild night supporting children’s programs.”

The other Co-Chairs agreed, highlighting the incredible atmosphere and fun had by all.

"Wild Safari definitely lived up to its name. The food, drink and décor created an amazing, exotic atmosphere,” said John Uyham, a Co-Chair with his wife, Kirsten Travers-Uyham. “We were completely blown away by the event and the spirit and generosity of the hundreds of guests who came to Lost Oasis.”