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How Desert Botanical Garden Created a Unique Hybrid Event Experience
Desert Botanical Garden hosted their annual Dinner on the Desert event on Saturday, April 24th, 2021 and for the first time integrated a virtual auction and drive-thru dining package, creating a unique hybrid event experience for their guests. 

Dinner on the Desert is always a magical event and we were thrilled to capture this year’s first-ever hybrid experience. Here are three key elements Desert Botanical Garden incorporated to create a safe and successful hybrid event.

Virtual Auction 

Prior to the live event, Dinner on the Desert supporters had the opportunity to register and participate in a week-long virtual auction, where guests were able to bid on distinctive plants, pots and garden art, plus one-of-a-kind experiences. Online auctions are not only a great way to promote your event but also to get your guests involved and raise money to support your cause!

Dine-In or Drive-Thru Dinner Package

On April 24, guests safely gathered at the Garden to celebrate Dinner on the Desert with Event Chair Sara Morgan & Executive Director Ken Schutz, friends, family and colleagues. Guests began the evening with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and socializing with friends while exploring Exhibit Earth, a floral and plant installation by world-renowned floral designers, Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio, followed by an exquisite dinner in the Garden.

This year, Desert Botanical Garden offered guests two ways to share in this spectacular dinner event. Guests had the option to enjoy dinner in the Garden and those who preferred to dine at home had the opportunity to enjoy the cocktail party and exhibit, and then drive-thru the Schilling Events Plaza to receive a packaged four-course dinner to take home that included two bottles of wine and a parting gift.

Here’s a look at Earth, created by Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio.

Live Event Interaction 

Guest Portraits – As guests arrived, they had the opportunity to have their portrait taken at the Desert Terrace Garden with a beautiful backdrop of the Butte mountain. Portraits are a perfect keepsake your guests will love and have to remember your special event for years to come! 

Live Entertainment – After having their portraits taken, guests walked along Desert Discovery Trail while  enjoying cocktails, hors de oeuvres, and live music by He Said, She Said.  While viewing Exhibit Earth inside Dorrance Hall, guests enjoyed a live performance by Louis Landon and during dinner and dessert, performances by The Phoenix Symphony.

Desert Botanical Garden’s Dinner on the Desert hybrid event was a huge success and we can’t wait to see what the Garden has in store for next year! View all of the 2021 event photos at and visit to learn more about how you can support Desert Botanical Garden.

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