German Village Gazette

Green Lawn Abbey

Fundraiser takes guests back to 1920s Havana

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Be sure to wear your flapper dresses, derby hats and spats -- the Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association is taking revelers back to 1920s Cuba.

As part of its annual summer fundraiser, the association is hosting the Gatsby Getaway: A Night in Havana at the home of Dr. Pablo Hernandez and Jeff Lefever, executive director of the Columbus Historical Society.

The event will be held 8 to 11 p.m. June 14 at 1610 Hawthorne Park.

"We went all out this year, really," said Ilke Akcasoy, organizer of the event.

The house, in the Woodland Park neighborhood, will be decked out in period decor and pieces, such as classic cars from the era. Adding to the theme are well-manicured gardens complete with live banana trees, Akcasoy said.

Dancers will be swinging to the sounds popular in the Roaring '20s, encouraging audience participation while also teaching the dance moves.

Tickets cost $75 or $50 for young professionals age 35 and younger. They can be purchased online at www.gatsbygetaway.org

It's a fitting period of time, considering the abbey was built in 1927, Akcasoy said. As an aside, the abbey, 700 Greenlawn Ave., is a rare example of Greek revival architecture in Columbus, she said.

There will be both silent and live auctions at the party.

Hors' doeuvres will be provided by the Table, a restaurant on East Fifth Avenue that will be serving up Cuban empanadas, stuffed plantains, a Waldorf salad and other dishes inspired by the era.

Mouton, a bar in the Short North, will be mixing up classic cocktails from the period, such as the Hemingway Daiquiri and Irish Whisky Smash.

Desserts will be provided by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Money raised from the event allows the association to continue to restore the abbey. The association also holds several events at the abbey throughout the year, such as the summer movie series, to be held at dusk Friday, June 13, through Friday, Sept. 12; Spirits & Spells, a magic show; and Tales from Crypt, which shares the lives and personal stories of people interred in the mausoleum.

Kate Matheny, president of Green Lawn Abbey, which owns the building and is responsible for it, said the transformation of the abbey in recent years has been impressive.

Officials have replaced two of four roofs, one of two double bronze doors, six stained glass windows, and sealed the front steps to keep water from entering the building, said Matheny, who is also a board member of the preservation association.

This summer, construction crews will begin repairing the mortar work on the exterior of the building.

"To have seen the abbey how it was eight years ago ... There were break-ins, windows being broken, water coming in, birds flying in," Matheny said.

"Today, we actually have electricity. The lights are working. It's clean. It's safe. It's a lovely environment."

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