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International Gay Polo Tournament To Support The Elton John AIDS Foundation

International Gay Polo Tournament To Support The Elton John AIDS Foundation

The players and spectators who come out for the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, set for April 4-6, will join the Gay Polo League (GPL) in supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its mission to be a powerful force in ending the AIDS epidemic.

Every year since 2016, GPL has chosen an LGBTQ+ charity to benefit from its Wellington tournament, raising awareness of the isolation and exclusion that has hurt gay people of every age. This year, GPL will harness the power of community and sport to raise crucial funds and awareness for the foundation’s lifesaving efforts.

Last year, the foundation launched the Rocket Fund to turbocharge its innovative work, targeting those most at risk of HIV/AIDS, including the LGBTQ+ community. Through their partnership, the GPL further solidifies its commitment to fostering an environment of inclusivity, while contributing toward a cause that makes a positive impact in the lives of millions of people.

GPL founder Chip McKenney is passionate about the partnership and the support the tournament will bring.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is one the foremost independent AIDS charities in the world,” he said. “We share their belief that AIDS can be beaten and that everyone must get compassionate support and care to stay healthy and safe, and live with dignity.”

A portion of the funds from tournament ticket sales and proceeds from the event’s signature GPL Polotini Wigstock party will benefit the foundation and contribute to its work to end stigma, prevent HIV infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments around the world to end AIDS.

The wildly popular GPL Polotini Wigstock party takes place on Friday, April 5, and features cocktails, light bites, a themed wig contest and fabulous entertainment that will captivate audiences while generating funds for the foundation.

McKenney noted the impact that the foundation has already had in the U.S. to build the health workforce, provide stigma-fee testing and compassionate care, and make it easier and more affordable for people to get HIV prevention and testing products.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation is at the cutting edge of overcoming barriers to care and saving lives,” McKenney said. “We are proud to support their innovative and compassionate work that will impact people and communities across the world and right here in the United States.”

Anne Aslett, chief executive officer of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is pleased to be chosen by the GPL.

“The Elton John AIDS Foundation proudly stands as the charitable beneficiary of the Gay Polo League in 2024,” she said. “Our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community extends beyond the polo fields, throughout the U.S. south and around the world. From working tirelessly to challenge discriminatory laws, to championing equitable standards of HIV care, we are guided by our fundamental belief that everyone deserves a life free from judgment, no matter who they are or whom they love.”

Learn more about GPL’s partner the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www.eltonjohnaidsfoundation.org.

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Patagones Polo Club To Host 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament

Patagones Polo Club To Host 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament

Known for its lush gardens and acres upon acres of polo grounds, it was a simple decision for the Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, to make when deciding to move the annual event to the gorgeous Patagones Polo Club in Wellington on Saturday, April 6.

The event is one that brings together thousands of revelers to celebrate inclusiveness and pride and serves as a safe space for LGBTQ+ athletes who love the sport. In that spirit, organizers felt that a more intimate space to bring attendees even closer together was the best way to celebrate the annual event.

“Patagones is an incredible venue for GPL. The club is private, beautifully manicured and beyond stunning. The polo field is world-class, too. We are beyond grateful to the owners for opening the doors to us,” said Chip McKenney, who founded both the Gay Polo League and its tournaments, which take place aside from Wellington around the world in spectacular locations such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Saint-Tropez, France; and London, England. “This year, we are planning for a record number of attendees who will, without a doubt, bring their ‘A Game’ to the party. We are counting the days to see the tailgates field side, hearing the supporters cheering the teams, and the unbridled feeling of togetherness and acceptance that will resonate throughout the grounds.”

Founded in 2004 by Gonzalo Avendaño, the Patagones Polo Club has become the home to many significant, high-level matches during the winter and spring polo seasons.

With on-site stabling, the Patagones Polo Club is a must-visit for equestrian athletes from around the world, and one that aligns perfectly with the Gay Polo League’s needs.

Once again, this year’s tournament will feature 16 LGBTQ+ and ally athletes competing for the Senator’s Cup and Founder’s Cup. In between the friendly competition matches, there will be everyone’s favorite champagne toast and divot stomp. Tickets, tailgates and sponsorships for the 2024 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, are still available.

The Patagones Polo Club is located at 4656 125th Avenue South in Wellington.

To get your tickets for the tournament on Saturday, April 6, visit www.gaypolo.com.

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Inaugural Event A Success

Inaugural Event A Success Hunt Ball Raises $285K For The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County hosted the inaugural Baran Hunt Ball in Wellington on Friday, Feb. 9. This debut event was a resounding success with more than 400 attendees helping raise more than $285,000 to support local children.

The proceeds from the event held at Wellington International’s equestrian ring will benefit the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club and fund its career readiness and summer camps in Wellington.

“For a first-time event, the Hunt Ball was a smashing success that was so well supported by the equestrian community. It was a magnificent night watching these athletes, as both horse and riders performed under the lights for the title and $100,000 in prize money. It was an honor to be title sponsor and a special thank you goes out to our chairs Georgina Bloomberg and Jenny Oz LeRoy. We can’t wait to do this again next year,” Kristen Baran said.

The winning team was comprised of three riders: professional Brianne Goutal, amateur Grace Debney and junior rider Clara Propp.

Sponsorships included Title Sponsor Kristen Baran, Presenting Sponsor Sebilion, Platinum Benefactors Georgina Bloomberg and Pamela Walkenbach, Gold Benefactors Jenny Oz LeRoy and GLDN Events, and Silver Sponsors the Jacobs Family Foundation and Ovando Palm Beach.

The Baran Hunt Ball featured an exciting equestrian team format with innovative competitions for significant prize money. The teams consisted of a professional, an amateur and a junior rider. The prize money of $100,000 was split according to the finish of the top 12 teams.

“It is rare that an inaugural event goes so well and smoothly, but because of the hard work of Georgina, Jenny and Kristen, the Baran Hunt Ball was nothing but a triumph. Not only was it a fun and exciting night, but the funds raised will have life changing impact for so many of our families,” said Jaene Miranda, CEO and president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.

Founded in 1971, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is a not-for-profit youth development organization dedicated to promoting the educational, vocational, health, leadership and character of boys and girls in a safe, nurturing environment. The clubs, including the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club in Wellington, provide more than a safe, fun and constructive alternative to being home alone — they offer a variety of award-winning developmental programs to help youth build skills, self-esteem and values during critical periods of growth.

The 20 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Palm Beach County serve more than 13,000 children ages 6-18. For more information, visit www.bgcpbc.org or call (561) 683-3287.

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Where Luxury Meets Philanthropy

Where Luxury Meets Philanthropy Locally Owned Online Retailer Casa Cristalle Provides Elegant Tableware While Serving The Community

By Shannon Anastasio

In the realm of luxury home goods, where elegance and sophistication take center stage, locally owned Casa Cristalle is a beacon of both refined taste and heartfelt generosity.

Nestled within its offerings of fine china, exquisite linens and fragrant candles lies a deeper purpose — an unwavering commitment to giving back to the community. The story of Casa Cristalle is one imbued with resilience, inspiration and an enduring dedication to making a positive impact.

Casa Cristalle began as a reflection of its founder’s personal values and aspirations. Local resident Lissette Abreu Cabrera drew inspiration from the qualities and characteristics she cherishes in her daughters — transparency, delicacy, radiance and resilience. With a desire to infuse these characteristics into her home, Cabrera christened her residence Casa Cristalle. What started as a passion for creating captivating tablescapes soon blossomed into a thriving online venture, fueled by her love for fine china and antique treasures.

Specializing in luxury home gifts and antiques, Casa Cristalle curates a unique selection of esteemed brands, ranging from Antica Farmacista to Spode, from Vietri to Rosenthal. With an eye for both timeless elegance and contemporary flair, Cabrera meticulously sources each product, attending antique shows, estate sales and boutique shops to unearth hidden gems that elevate the art of table setting to new heights.

However, the Casa Cristalle story is not just one of commerce, but of triumph over adversity. Cabrera’s journey took an unexpected turn when she faced a formidable foe — non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In the face of this life-threatening illness, she discovered an inner strength and resilience that would shape her perspective on life and business. Embracing her battle with unwavering faith and courage, Cabrera emerged victorious, her spirit unbroken, and her resolve strengthened.

The experience of overcoming illness infused her entrepreneurial endeavors with a profound sense of purpose. She realized that life’s most precious gifts are often found in the act of giving back. Thus, Casa Cristalle became more than just a purveyor of luxury goods; it became a vessel for philanthropy.

“My family supported the idea of combining my tablescaping entrepreneurial passion with my life mission,” Cabrera said. “We have donated to the Lord’s Place and Place of Hope, and we have helped individuals and families that reach out. Internationally, we have helped Fabrica de Milagros and a hotel and hospitality technical school in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.”

From donating profits to nonprofit organizations to spearheading initiatives for the less fortunate, Cabrera and her team are committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s providing essential medical assistance, supporting orphanages or empowering aspiring artisans, the charitable efforts at Casa Cristalle are guided by a spirit of compassion and empathy.

The impact of these outreach initiatives extends far beyond material donations. It is measured in the smiles of children receiving toys, in the gratitude of individuals receiving much-needed support, and in the hope restored to communities facing adversity. Each success story serves as a testament to the transformative power of kindness and generosity.

Looking to the future, Cabrera aims to expand Casa Cristalle’s footprint in both the luxury home goods market and community outreach efforts. With aspirations of opening physical retail locations and broadening its charitable endeavors, she envisions a world where compassion and commerce intersect seamlessly. Through continued innovation, collaboration and dedication, Casa Cristalle seeks to leave a lasting legacy of hope, strength and love.

For aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to follow in Cabrera’s footsteps, her advice is simple yet profound: follow your passion, embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth and never underestimate the impact of giving back. By aligning business goals with a greater purpose, entrepreneurs can create meaningful change and inspire others to do the same.

To Casa Cristalle’s loyal customers and supporters, Cabrera extends her heartfelt gratitude. It is through their patronage and generosity that the company’s mission thrives, enriching the lives of countless individuals in need. With every purchase, they become partners in a journey of compassion and empowerment, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Casa Cristalle stands as a testament to the transformative power of combining luxury with philanthropy. With its unwavering commitment to excellence and compassion, it serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in an ever-changing world.

“Together, let us continue to spread love, kindness and generosity, one elegant table setting at a time,” Cabrera said, thanking her family for their support, including her husband Carlos Orlando Cabrera and daughters Cristalee Amber Garcia and Christine Angelee Garcia.

For those interested in reaching out to Casa Cristalle or joining its mission of giving back, the company can be found on the web and at numerous social media channels.

To learn more, contact Lissette Cabrera at (347) 512-6211, lissette@casacristalle.com or info@casacristalle.com. Find them online at www.casacristalle.com and on Instagram and Facebook @casa_cristalle.

 

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Understanding Autism & More

Understanding Autism & More
The Village Of Wellington Shines Light And Offers Support During Autism Awareness Month

With April being Autism Awareness Month, let’s explore how Wellington’s Certified Autism Center designation sets the Village of Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding of the neuro-diverse community.

April is not just a month of blooming flowers and gentle showers; it’s also a time to embrace diversity and promote understanding. As we step into Autism Awareness Month, it’s imperative to recognize and appreciate the unique perspectives and talents of our neuro-diverse community members and individuals on the autism spectrum. This month serves as a beacon of awareness, fostering empathy, acceptance and support for those navigating life with autism.

Certified Autism Center

In a groundbreaking move toward inclusivity, the Village of Wellington was recently honored with the prestigious Certified Autism Center designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This designation marks a significant milestone in our community’s commitment to creating an environment that is welcoming, supportive and accessible to our neuro-diverse community members, individuals with autism and their families. This designation sets Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding.

Understanding The Designation

The Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to Wellington’s dedication to understanding and accommodating individuals with autism. It involves comprehensive training for staff and personnel to ensure they possess the knowledge and skills necessary to interact effectively with individuals on the autism spectrum. By achieving this designation, the Village of Wellington has demonstrated its commitment to providing inclusive experiences across various facets of community life.

For individuals and families living with autism, simple activities like attending community events can pose significant challenges. The Certified Autism Center designation empowers residents and visitors alike by ensuring that our programs and facilities are equipped to accommodate diverse needs. From sensory-friendly events to trained staff members ready to aid, we are fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Enhancing Accessibility

Education is key to fostering understanding and empathy toward individuals with autism. The village is taking proactive steps to raise awareness about autism within the community. By offering training sessions and informational resources, we are equipping staff and volunteers with the knowledge and tools needed to interact with individuals on the spectrum respectfully and compassionately.

Recreation and leisure activities are essential for overall well-being and quality of life. With the Certified Autism Center designation, we are ensuring that individuals with autism can fully participate in these opportunities without barriers. Whether it’s enjoying a day at the park, attending a cultural event or participating in sports programs, residents and visitors with autism can now engage in activities tailored to their unique needs.

KultureCity Program

Wellington’s staff is also certified through the KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification Program, developed by sensory issue experts such as physicians, board-certified speech therapists, applied behavioral analysis therapists and occupational therapists. The program helps to ensure that all guests are included, regardless of the event they are attending. A KultureCity-designated area is set up at key events, like the village’s Fourth of July Celebration and Fall Festival, and the dedicated area is for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. Sensory bags are available and filled with items to help lessen the sensory overload, with no additional cost.

Additionally, autism friendly/sensory-friendly inflatables are included as part of other regularly scheduled activities during key events. These inflatables are different than other inflatables because the team working them has undergone business-centered autism training to increase understanding and sensitivity about autism and related disabilities. Each section has only one entrance/exit and is secured by Velcro, so users aren’t interacting with each other, and a trained paraprofessional is included with every rental, positioned at the entrance/exit to the inflatable to supervise users and regulate the line. An ultra-quiet generator is also used rather than a traditional generator to accommodate those with noise sensitivities.

A Day For Autism

We have also held “A Day for Autism: Building Bridges with Law Enforcement” since 2018. This event is made possible through a collaboration between the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and has activities for everyone, including a petting zoo, face painting, a bounce house, touch-a-truck zone, a Relax Zone for parents and a DJ. The event provides an opportunity to engage with local law enforcement through interactive displays featuring therapy dogs, the mounted unit, ATV/motors, the 911 bus and fire-rescue. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, ask questions and build bridges with our community protectors.

 

Setting The Standard

By becoming a Certified Autism Center and making inclusion paramount in day-to-day operations, Wellington is setting a standard for others to follow. We’re demonstrating that inclusivity is not just a goal, but a tangible commitment that can be achieved through dedicated efforts and collaboration. As other communities take note of our success, we hope that they too will prioritize autism inclusion and work toward creating environments that celebrate diversity and accommodate all individuals.

Our achievement of the Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to our unwavering dedication to inclusivity and understanding. By prioritizing autism awareness, accessibility and support, we are leading the way toward creating a more inclusive and compassionate community for individuals with autism and their families. As other communities take inspiration from Wellington’s example, we move one step closer to a world where everyone, regardless of neurodiversity, can thrive and belong.

As we commemorate Autism Awareness Month this April, let us commit to fostering a more inclusive and accepting society. By promoting understanding, celebrating strengths and building support networks, we can create a world where individuals with autism are valued, respected and empowered to reach their full potential. Together, let’s shine a light on autism and embrace the beauty of neurodiversity.

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Wellington’s First Mayor

Wellington’s First Mayor
Former Mayor Kathy Foster Shares Her Vivid Recollections Of The Early Years Of Wellington

By Joshua Manning

Our Wellington History series continues this month with a focus on Kathy Foster, a member of the inaugural Wellington Village Council who served as the first mayor of Wellington, back when the role was a position appointed from among the council members. She shares her vivid recollections of the early years of the community.

It has been 28 years since the inaugural Wellington Village Council met for the first time on March 26, 1996. Kathy Foster, who would be named the first mayor of the fledgling village at that meeting, had already been a leader in the Wellington community for years, first as a parent activist and then as an elected supervisor of the Acme Improvement District, Wellington’s pre-incorporation government.

“I really got involved as a mother of young children, when we first realized that there were no schools in Wellington,” recalled Foster, who noted that her children were first bused to Greenacres Elementary School. “I really thought it was about time that the school district focused on the community that was growing so rapidly out here.”

So, Foster and her friend Harriet Offerman organized a group of parents to attend a Palm Beach County School Board meeting to request an elementary school in Wellington. This led to the creation of Wellington Elementary School, led by legendary Principal Buz Spooner, who had been principal at Greenacres. “After that, I realized we had a voice,” Foster said.

Then came the discussion of opening the developer-controlled Acme board to residents. Spooner encouraged Foster to run and be a voice for schools and families. She was the only woman among 22 candidates running for various seats.

“I was the only one not representing outside influences. I worked here, had children here,” said Foster, who won with 48 percent of the vote.

The seat’s incumbent resigned on the spot, leading Foster to be sworn-in the next morning.

“They handed me a one-sheet agenda, which was all consent,” Foster recalled, noting that one item was about a bond refinancing. “Purely ironically, I had worked on Wall Street in college. I asked for the return on the ratio.”

Turns out, broker Smith Barney was making more on the deal than the district, and Foster demanded a public bid, which led to a better deal for Acme taxpayers. “I became a financial expert overnight, purely by accident. That was my introduction to politics in Wellington,” Foster said.

About that time, discussions over the possible incorporation of Wellington began to heat up.

“There was a small group of people led by Ken Adams, Dick Palenschat and Mark Miles, who had done quite a bit of extensive research,” Foster said.

The group hosted meetings to talk about the pros and cons of incorporation. They brought in the League of Cities and Florida International University to study the financial impact of incorporation.

“We all realized that incorporation was really the way to go,” Foster said. “We were paying much more to the county government than we were getting back. We were paying over $7.5 million in taxes to the county government but were receiving less than $700,000 back for the community, and that’s just not right. Everything at that time was focused on redevelopment east of I-95.”

An initial vote failed in 1992, but the discussion was revived two years later. And thanks to some last-minute heroics by sponsor State Rep. Rick Minton on the floor of state legislature, and a nail-biter of a referendum that passed by just a handful of votes, the Village of Wellington was born on Dec. 31, 1995. The first council elections were held in March 1996, and Foster’s name was on the ballot.

“I felt that I had a history in Wellington. I had been here since 1979. I had a point of view as a wife, mother and a small business owner,” she said. “I felt that putting a voice like mine on the council would give some balance to the community.”

By that time, Foster was not only an experienced Acme supervisor, she was a founding member of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce (now the Central Palm Beach County Chamber), was on the board at St. Rita Catholic Church and volunteered with school PTAs. “I felt those organizations needed to be represented within the community,” she said.

Her best recollection from that campaign was partnering with Ken Foster, who was then running for the Palm Beach County Commission, on signs that said “K Foster for Office,” thereby doubling their signs. Both ended up winning their races.

Foster fondly recalls the electric atmosphere of the first council meeting.

“It was wonderful. We were all so excited and happy that Wellington would have a chance at self-determination,” she said.

She was joined on the dais by Dr. Carmine Priore, Tom Wenham, Paul Adams and Michael McDonough.

“The one decision we had to make was determining who would be the mayor,” Foster said. “I had by far the most experience, and I had received more votes than any other candidate. They felt it was a logical way to make a selection, and it was unanimous, I recall.”

While the first board had its differences, Foster was impressed by how cohesive it turned out to be.

“Everyone wanted the same thing for Wellington, which was to try to preserve the neighborhood feel that had been established in the community,” Foster said. “We wanted to ensure that our children and grandchildren would enjoy that same small-town feel that had brought us to Wellington.”

This included working to bring together a new village still healing from a divisive incorporation fight.

“We wanted to reassure the people who had been against incorporation that we would work with them to preserve their way to life, in particular the equestrian and farming interests in the south end of Wellington,” Foster said.

Meanwhile, the county was not happy about Wellington’s incorporation. A fax came in from the county road department about no longer fixing potholes in Wellington. “We had to immediately figure out a roads department,” Foster said.

However, she remains grateful to Nancy Graham, then mayor of West Palm Beach, who reached out to help.

“I was so grateful to her for opening that door for us,” Foster said. “She was the only one of the other municipalities who reached out to help us.”

That inaugural council would go on to make key decisions that shaped the village into what it is today, but the key challenge, Foster said, was more theoretical.

“I think the biggest challenge we had was to convince the community that we were one village, regardless of where you lived, how much property you owned or whether you were a renter,” she said. “We, as the council, would treat everyone fairly and create an atmosphere that invited future homeowners to come and join us.”

This required getting the community involved in deciding Wellington’s destiny.

“There were so many unanswered questions. We had to take it step by step. We created committees for public input on multiple topics,” Foster said. “We opened the door to public input and asked their help in making these decisions. And I think that went a long way in establishing a sense that the village belonged to all of us, and everyone had a voice.”

Many of the key decisions involved what not to do.

“The most important decision we made was to preserve the entire village as it was,” Foster said. “No major zoning changes. Preservation of the existing zoning in all communities. Keeping [a village average of] two units per acre, and not widening Forest Hill past four lanes. There was an effort to maintain what we had.”

It has been nearly 25 years since Foster left the council in 2000. Her assessment of Wellington today? “So far, so good.”

“I think the village has done 95 percent of it very effectively over the years,” she said. “None of us could have imagined how well Wellington would turn out. It is an amazing place to live. We have managed to maintain multiple levels of neighborhoods, incomes, variety and diversity of population. Our schools are all A-rated schools. It is really a fantastic place to live.”

This includes the best recreation system in Palm Beach County and “a quality of life that is rarely found throughout this country,” Foster added. She is also glad to see that the equestrian community remains a key part of Wellington’s success.

“The equestrian industry is really the backbone financially that we based Wellington’s success on,” she said. “Without the equestrian industry, we would be a very different community.”

While no longer in elected office, Foster has stayed involved in the community, both through her business, K. Foster Designs, and her work with nonprofits. She served as executive director of the Adam Walsh Children’s Fund and Junior Achievement, and later founded Wellington Cares, which harnesses local volunteers to help seniors age in place. In 2020, her name was placed on the Wellington Founder’s Plaque to honor her contributions to the village.

“I hope that our future leaders maintain the vision that has supported us so well over the past 30 years and keep Wellington what it is today. As long as the families of Wellington are the priority, I think they will do a very good job,” Foster said.

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Perfect Pastries Paired With Fresh-Roasted Coffee

Perfect Pastries Paired With Fresh-Roasted Coffee

It’s two great tastes coming together at Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which opened in Wellington last year featuring coffee roasted on-site and made-from-scratch baked goods.

It’s a recipe for success with Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes, which pairs a perfect blend of coffee with a pastry chef who specializes in elevated desserts. The two companies have joined forces in one location, bringing a new energy and sweetness to the Pointe at Wellington Green.

“Both our brands are so bright and colorful. It was all so very symbiotic immediately,” said Anna Ross, proprietor of Anna Bakes.

This must-try coffee shop and bakery specializes in on-site roasted coffee along with sweet and savory made-from-scratch baked goods and pastries — from the sweet and textured Birthday Batter Cupcakes oozing with filling, frosting and crunchy birthday crumb, to the savory Feta Pesto Danish, made with croissant dough, whipped feta cheese, pesto and grape tomatoes drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

These treats pair with an array of expertly crafted brews from Candid Coffee that include blends from Guatemala with notes of chocolate, almond and sugar cane, as well as one from Ethiopia with hints of milk chocolate, strawberry and merlot.

Coffee and bakery flavors rotate, while also keeping staples on the everyday menu, including traditional coffees.

Beans are roasted to perfection on-site, with the state-of-the-art Bellwether Coffee roasting system, which allows for customized, unique flavors by roasting beans to taste.

“We have an all-electric roaster for utmost quality and consistency,” said Candid Coffee co-owner Bryan Jenkins, who received his roasting certification in Seattle. “The whole goal is to roast on a small scale, so you can do a lot of fresh stuff quickly. It’s always fresh.”

“It’s a science and an art,” added co-owner Megan Jenkins.

A trendsetter herself, Megan began creating cold foam varieties four years ago, which have grown into 50 flavors that rotate, from funfetti to cookies-n-cream, hazy honey and malted vanilla.

“We switch them every month, and you can try a flight that includes all three of the featured drinks, as well as one of our staples,” Megan said. “I love experimenting with flavors.”

She began experimenting with ingredients, first creating a cocoa cinnamon variety. “If something’s good on a pastry, it’s probably good with coffee,” Megan said.

“Once roasted, you want to let it sit. It tastes the best between a week and two weeks after it was roasted,” Bryan explained. “My favorite coffee flavor is fruity and surprising. I like to drink them black because you get all the nuances.”

Ross said she has known since she was 15 that she would open a bakery. She was inspired by her mother. The family baked together every night, experimenting.

“I’ve always been Anna Bakes. My friends called me that in high school and college. My slogan is ‘Anna Bakes to make you happy,’ and I really feel like baked goods do that,” she said.

The Candid Coffee husband-and-wife team, Bryan and Megan Jenkins, started in Palm Beach County’s warehouse district. The Palm Beach Central High School sweethearts fell in love with the art of coffee during their travels after graduating from college. They began by roasting at their site, then remotely selling at green markets.

Meanwhile, Ross was baking from her parents’ kitchen in Lake Worth, but when they decided to sell their home, she had to find a new location. As fate had it, they found each other.

“We realized we were missing a huge ingredient, which was Anna,” Bryan explained. “We had coffee, but we needed a partner who would give us that other side. We wanted to feel like the love that went into the coffee would also go into the pastries.”

Ross, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, crafted her love of baking at the prestigious culinary university, and then took her studies abroad to France.

The fresh and welcoming coffee house-bakery is bright and open with hues of blue and muted pink, created by muralist Devin Noel. It’s also perfect for a coffee date for parents and little ones, who get their own child-sized lounge space.

“We have a kids’ latte. We foam the milk, put a little cinnamon on it, and serve it in a coffee cup, and they love that they can have a coffee date with their parents,” said Megan, adding that it is an ode to their three-year-old daughter, Riley.

Other fan favorites are the rich quiches by the slice, with scratch-made crust. Flavors include sweet potato and spinach, as well as the traditional Quiche Lorraine with ham, bacon, onion and Swiss cheese.

Scones are a savory staple, including the Everything Scone, stuffed with chunks of cream cheese and topped with “everything” seasoning. The Mama Ross Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and tater tots, served with a side of homemade salsa, is a huge daily hit.

Special pastry rotations include the Baklava Twice Bake, drenched in honey orange syrup, pistachio and walnut phyllo crumble. The Lemon Raspberry Loaf is also popular with raspberry jam swirl and topped with lemon streusel.

There are always gluten-free and vegan options, as well as homemade granola.

The pastry and coffee creations are endless, made with a palpable passion, summed up by a bright yellow neon sign: “We go together like cake & coffee.”

Candid Coffee Co. and Anna Bakes is in the Pointe at Wellington Green at 10120 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 160. For more info., visit www.candidandannabakes.com or call (561) 766-1742.

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Galloping Toward Community Support

Galloping Toward Community Support 
Wellington Community Foundation To Present Inaugural Derby Party On Saturday, May 4

By Shannon Anastasio

Wellington, renowned for its equestrian elegance, is gearing up to host an event that promises to blend southern charm with philanthropic spirit. The inaugural Wellington Derby Party extravaganza, organized by the Wellington Community Foundation, will be held Saturday, May 4 starting at 5 p.m. at Diamante Farms Dressage (11223 Acme Road, Wellington).

The Wellington Derby Party invites attendees to immerse themselves in the timeless tradition of the famed Kentucky Derby, while supporting a cause close to their hearts.

Planned as an extraordinary evening of revelry, gourmet delights and thrilling races, the Wellington Derby Party aims to captivate guests with an ambiance steeped in southern hospitality — attendees donning their finest hats, mingling with fellow equestrian enthusiasts and cheering on favorite derby horses.

However, the event is not just about celebrating — it is also about giving back. With each ticket priced at $200, attendees not only gain access to a night of glamour but also contribute to the welfare of the community through the Wellington Community Foundation. Every dollar raised at the derby party goes toward supporting local initiatives and projects aimed at fostering community well-being and benefiting local seniors, children and veterans in need.

“Our inaugural Wellington Derby Party will be a fun-filled afternoon and evening where attendees will be able to enjoy the biggest annual event in horse racing, while also doing their part to make our great hometown an even better place,” said Barry Manning, chair of the Wellington Community Foundation.

This unique event also presents an opportunity for businesses and individuals alike to further support the cause through sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors not only align their brand with a wonderful cause but also gain visibility within the community as a supporter of philanthropy and community development. Organizations that have already jumped in as sponsors include: Michael Gauger for Sheriff, Wellington Regional Medical Center, Jasmine Velez/Douglas Elliman, Red Clover Farms and Katie Edwards-Walpole P.A. Each acknowledges the many benefits to partnering with the foundation on this event.

The culinary aspect of the Wellington Derby Party is not to be overlooked. Renowned chef Gardo Vincken will be curating a delectable array of gourmet delights, ensuring that guests are treated to an exquisite dining experience that complements the elegance of the evening.

From the moment attendees arrive, they will be enveloped in the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, with the tantalizing aroma of mint juleps filling the air and the palpable excitement of the races setting the tone for the evening. Whether one is a seasoned equestrian enthusiast or simply looking for a night of fun-filled entertainment, the inaugural Wellington Derby Party promises an unforgettable experience for all.

As the date approaches, anticipation mounts and organizers encourage everyone to mark their calendars and prepare to saddle up for an evening of glamour, gastronomy and giving back. The aim is clear — to make this Wellington Derby Party extravaganza a roaring success while simultaneously supporting the foundation’s many community endeavors.

So, gallop into the night with hearts filled with generosity and enthusiasm, knowing that every ticket purchased, and every sponsorship secured, contributes toward building a stronger, more vibrant community.

Purchase your tickets today for the inaugural Wellington Derby Party at www.wellingtoncommunityfoundation.org. Sponsorship opportunities are also available, with more information on the foundation’s web site.

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Experience The Beauty Of Dressage

Experience The Beauty Of Dressage
Olympic Year Adds Extra Excitement To The Adequan Global Dressage Festival

By Kayla Walker

The 13th annual Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) began its 12-week competition circuit in Wellington on Jan. 10 and runs until March 31. After two weeks off during its first four weeks, the show runs consecutively for the final eight weeks.

In the upcoming weeks, some of the top Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) dressage riders from around the world will ride to compete and qualify for numerous championships in the AGDF International Ring. These championships include the World Cup, Festival of Champions and the North American Youth Championships. Each CDI week, spectators are invited to watch their favorite riders compete Thursday through Sunday.

AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur welcomes all to experience the beautiful horses and great performances during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at Equestrian Village. The most memorable part of each week is the Friday Night Stars event presenting Grand Prix freestyle performances from some of the top riders from around the world. Each performance underlines the essence of dressage — a dance of power, precision and harmony. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m.

“The captivating Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Freestyles will be back, a must-see for spectators during weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12,” Baur said. “At AGDF, we pride ourselves on inclusivity, offering classes that cater to all — from the budding pony riders to the seasoned amateurs.”

In addition to the freestyles on Friday evenings, the three most distinguished events are the World Cup qualifying events, two CDI4* contests and a five-star event sponsored by Douglas Elliman hosted at the nearby Wellington International showgrounds.

Additionally, the FEI Nations Cup Series CDIO3* and the two CPEDI3* para-dressage events are exciting competitions held at AGDF. During Nations Cup week, seven countries are represented, which is significant to the teams from different countries from across Europe, South America and North America.

The Nations Cup dressage format is a refreshing take on traditional dressage competitions, emphasizing teamwork and strategy. It provides a platform for nations to showcase their depth of talent and offers audiences a thrilling team-based competition.

Over the season, the $10,000 Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series for horses ages seven to nine years old and the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge series for horses eight to 10 years of age are held as well. At AGDF, during weeks 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10, riders have five weeks of qualifying possibilities. The final, during AGDF Week 12, occurs with the best two horses from each week. The final provides riders and trainers with the opportunity to showcase their talented, young horses in the International Ring in an exciting and spontaneous environment without the pressure of international competition.

“This presents a prime opportunity to spot the emerging equine athletes in dressage,” Baur explained. “The circuit will be dotted with qualifiers, culminating in the grand finals during the 12th week.”

During AGDF Week 10, when dressage takes over Wellington International, is the most admired night of the season. The International Ring will host the National 5* composing the riders for a summer spent in Europe in profoundly competitive environments.

With Olympic riders such as Adrienne Lyle, it provides an extra special atmosphere for spectators. Lyle, a highly awarded rider, won the Olympic team silver medal with her teammates Sabine Schut-Kery and Steffen Peters. Throughout the season, Lyle will compete and show in many Friday Night Stars events.

During two weeks of the season, AGDF will host para-dressage, the only equestrian sport in the Paralympic Games. Riders compete in one of five separate grades formed on the rider’s ability and the individual movements for each test. The walk-only test is Grade I, whereas Grades II and Grades III are walk and trot. Grades IV and V consist of the walk, trot and canter. In these three-day events, riders will compete, and the final day will be a freestyle. Roxanne Trunnell, one of the most decorated para-dressage riders, who won an individual gold medal in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, will be part of the para-dressage events at AGDF.

While watching dressage events at Equestrian Village, attendees can enjoy more than just world-class competition. They are also treated to an array of diverse culinary experiences and retail therapy featuring prominent equestrian brands.

For the latest updates on the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, visit https://gdf.coth.com.

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Faces of Dressage 2024

Faces of Dressage 2024
Once again, the regal sport of dressage is on display at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival here in Wellington. Often compared to “horse ballet” or “dancing with horses,” this Olympic sport showcases the grace, beauty and elegance of a horse and rider pair working together as one. But what comes across as effortless in the show ring is the end result of years of hard work and dedication. Dressage is one of those rare sports where riders often get better with age, and the best in the world are here in Wellington to compete, with many of the top riders keeping a keen eye on the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. That goes for American riders, but also for elite international riders in town for the season, as well as the talented and brave souls who ride in the awe-inspiring sport of para-dressage. As is our March tradition, we celebrate the hard work and determination of dressage riders in Faces of Dressage 2024, highlighting just a few of the amazing riders you will see in the AGDF ring.

FREDERIC WANDRES
German dressage rider Frederic Wandres has an impressive résumé. He competed at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning, where he received a bronze medal with the German team. He was on the long list for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and won a gold medal in 2019 at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses. At the 2023 European Championships in Riesenbeck, Wandres earned the silver medal in team dressage. Last season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, he won the AGDF 5 World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle with Bluetooth OLD and helped the German team capture the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup. This season, he has been having great success with new mount Floricella, owned by Alessa Marie Maass.

ANNA MAREK
USDF Gold Medalist Anna Marek began showing and training dressage horses in 2001. With more than 150 scores at USDF-recognized shows on 50 different horses, Marek has won multiple championships every year since 2013. Her first regional championship win was in 2008 as a Junior/Young Rider. In 2010, Marek won National Reserve Champion Intermediate Junior/Young Rider. With her horse Unico, she rose to No. 12 nationwide during 2016. Marek represented the U.S. at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, where she won team gold and individual bronze medals. Marek stays very busy, riding up to 12 horses a day while teaching lessons and showing. She has had great success at the AGDF this year, winning the Friday Night Stars FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle during Week 5.

CHRISTIAN SIMONSON
Inspired by his mother’s interest in riding, Christian Simonson discovered dressage at age six. He quickly became the protégé of USDF Gold Medalist Gail Hoff Carmona and began showing at a national level at age 13, training under Olympian Jan Ebeling. He won both the gold team medal and silver individual medal at the 2016 Adequan/FEI NAYC, and the silver individual medal at the 2017 Adequan/FEI NAYC. He was awarded the USDF bronze and silver medals that year. In 2018, Simonson was invited to join the training program of dressage Olympian Adrienne Lyle, and he now spends his summers in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and his winters in Wellington. In 2022, Simonson and his mount Son of a Lady were invited to represent the U.S. at CHIO Aachen, where they ended up on the pod

FIONA HOWARD
Born and raised in England with her American mother and British father, para-equestrian Fiona Howard began riding when she was three. After a friend’s reining horses piqued her interest, she shifted her focus when she had the opportunity to qualify for the FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders. As part of the British Junior Reining Team, Howard was 14 and the youngest rider in the competition when she earned the bronze medal. Howard, who battles the neuromuscular disease dystonia, rode in her first para-dressage tests in 2021 at schooling shows. Coached by Paralympian Kate Shoemaker, Howard returned to the FEI arena as a Grade II para-dressage athlete in 2022. In 2023, Howard and Jagger earned second-place finishes in the Grade II test at the AGDF Week 3 CPEDI3*.

PABLO GÓMEZ MOLINA
Spanish rider Pablo Gómez Molina was first introduced to horses at summer camp in Valencia. With his parents’ support, he continued to ride until he landed a working student post at age 19 with sponsors Cristina Danguillecourt and Javier Bacariza, owners of Yeguada De Ymas, a dressage breeding facility with bases in Spain and Wellington. They brought him to Wellington, which has been his winter home ever since. Gómez Molina claimed his first Grand Prix win during Week 7 of last year’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival riding the P.R.E. gelding Ulises De Ymas in the Iron Spring Farm CDI3* FEI Grand Prix. They followed up with another win during Week 10 in the Wellington Equestrian Realty CDI5* Grand Prix Special. Gómez Molina and Ulises De Ymas are back in action this year, taking second in the Grand Prix Special CDI4* during Week 3.

KEVIN KOHMANN
Kevin Kohmann grew up around horses in Germany. His success started with ponies, where in 2002, he won the pony regional championships. After this early success, Kohmann was regarded as a talented young professional and recruited to the United States to work under top trainers. This gave him the opportunity to ride more difficult horses. In doing so, he discovered that he could take even the most difficult horses and turn them into successful partners. Now an American citizen, Kohmann joined the Diamante Farms training team in 2014, and he remains based in Wellington. He often rides at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, where he recently took second in the Friday Night Stars FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle with Diamante Farms’ Dünensee.

KERRIGAN GLUCH
American rider Kerrigan Gluch tried many disciplines as a youngster and fell in love with the beauty and challenge of dressage. At age 14, Gluch had the opportunity to attend a clinic with Robert Dover in Wellington. It would prove to be a turning point when she met Kimberly Van Kampen of Hampton Green Farm. She became a full-time working student at the farm and has been based there ever since. Gluch has achieved both Young Rider and U25 Reserve National Championship distinctions, several U25 Nations Cup team medals and has represented the U.S. in Europe twice. Gluch is also a Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program participant. As a newcomer at the Grand Prix level with her mount Mejorano HGF, her results have been promising. Gluch and Mejorano HGF won the Fair Sky Farm CDI3* Grand Prix Special during Week 10 of last year’s AGDF

SUSAN PAPE
British dressage rider Susan Pape was born and raised in the Netherlands to parents from Britain. She moved to Germany in 1982 to do an apprenticeship at Eugen Wahler’s Klosterhof Medingen and went on to train with German dressage rider Herbert Rehbein and his wife Karin. Today, she is based at the Hengststation Pape stables, which she operates with her husband Ingo in Hemmoor, Germany. She also spends time in Wellington, working with John and Leslie Malone at Harmony Sporthorses and competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Earlier this season, Pape and Harmony’s Oldenburg stallion V-Plus took the top spot during AGDF Week 3, claiming the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, sponsored by Donato Farms. Pape was the unanimous choice from all five judges.

FELICITAS HENDRICKS
Rising German dressage star Felicitas Hendricks has taken this year’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival by storm, racking up a string of impressive victories with Drombusch OLD, her 13-year-old championship mount. Coached by her uncle, Christoph Koschel, Hendricks first came to Florida as a junior rider. Before arriving for the season, Hendricks won the 2023 European Under 25 Championships in Pilisjaszfalu, Hungary. Hendricks made her international debut at AGDF in 2015 and returned this year to land big wins right off the bat, starting with the FEI World Cup Grand Prix on opening day. She followed that up with a victory in the season’s first FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. The wins kept coming when she returned to the ring during AGDF Week 3, leaving her unbeaten in her first four starts in Wellington this season.

TINNE VILHELMSON-SILFVÉN
The ever-impressive Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén represents her native Sweden and has competed at seven Olympic Games. She placed fourth in team dressage in 1992 in Barcelona and 2008 in Beijing. She also placed eighth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Vilhelmson-Silfvén has also competed at seven editions of the Dressage World Cup finals. In 2011, she helped create the Lövsta Future Challenge with Louise Nathhorst and support from Antonia Ax:son Johnson through Lövsta Stuteri. Vilhelmson-Silfvén has been spending her winters in Wellington for years and is a regular at the AGDF. Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Lövsta Stuteri’s Hyatt were the winners of the BluCreeq Spirits CDI3* Grand Prix Special during Week 5 of this year’s festival. She took third in the Grand Prix Special CDI3* during Week 1, also with Hyatt.

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