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Mornings unPHILtered - Spring events at the Botanical Gardens
SHS performance of Alice in Wonderland on stage tonight, Saturday
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    With upcoming festivals, celebrations and fund raising events, Wednesday's first “Mornings unPHILtered” guest was Georgia Southern University Botanical Gardens Director Carolyn Altman.
    Altman told host Phil Boyum that supporters of the Garden have asked for more musical events and she acted on their requests. She has scheduled musician Ben Tucker to come for the annual Botanical Gardens' Circle of Friends Cocktail Party Thursday, March 25.
    An international star, Tucker will be playing for the Garden's Circle of Friends Society. Only members of the Circle of Friends group are able to attend this event and some of the other events the Garden's host. Membership in the Circle has several levels, the lowest of which is an annual donation of $100, which Altman said is cheaper than driving to Savannah to see a Tucker show.    
    Just two days later, the Garden will host its second annual Whirligig Spring Festival and Plant Sale Saturday, March 27. From 10 am. to 2 p.m. there will be a plant sale, arts and craft vendors and some of the produce vendors Statesboro residents have come to recognize at the Downtown Farmer's Market will be there as well. In addition, nationally-recognized performer Appleseedz will bring his “wild and crazy,” interactive magic and music performance to the festival.
    Next month, the ever-popular annual Wine, Moonlight, and Magnolias event comes to the Botanical Garden Thursday, April 22. Candlelight displays and spring flowers will transform the Garden's new Heritage Pavilion into a beautiful setting for ticket holders to sample fine wines, listen to live music and sample hors d'ourves provided by 119 Chops. Admission to the event is $45 per person in advance or $55 at the door.
    Reservations for any of the events can be made by call the Garden at (912) 871-1149. For more information, check out the Garden's Web site at www.georgiasouthern.edu/garden.
    Currently, the university sponsors three and one-half positions at the Gardens, with remaining funds coming from fund raising events. Altman said the Botanical Gardens have a long connection to Statesboro and provide a quiet solitude despite being just off of Fair Road. Also, the Garden provides learning and field trip opportunities for many Bulloch County youth as well as teaching and learning opportunities for some 700 Georgia Southern students each year.
    Following Altman was Statesboro High School Drama Teacher Eddie Frazier, who came to talk about his student's upcoming stage performance of “Alice in Wonderland.”
    Frazier is the co-director along with SHS senior Bradley Wiggins, who will also play the Mad Hatter. Frazier commented that he and his students decided to put on “Alice” months ago and only recently learned that Tim Burton's 3-D movie version of “Alice in Wonderland” just days before the curtain went up.
    Earlier in the week, Frazier and several of the cast visited Mattie Lively, Julia P. Bryant, and Sallie Zetterower Elementary Schools for Character Day. They included the Mad Hatter (Wiggins), Alice (Preslie Lewis), Red Queen (Katelyn Pope), White Rabbit (Ron Washington), and the Cheshire Cat (Carolina Classens).
    Frazier said he is absolutely thrilled with the school's brand-new 1,153 seat auditorium, which has a back-stage that rivals many professional venues. He credited Principal Dr. Marty Waters' enthusiastic support of the arts as a big reason for the new Fine Arts facility at SHS.
    “Alice in Wonderland” has just two shows — tonight and Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. Ticket are just $5 and Frazer said the show lasts about one and one-half hours, which is just the right length for the kids.