Kalmar Nyckel Dresses it up for Annual Gala

A lavish spread and a beautiful dockside setting made the Kalmar Nyckel’s annual King Neptune Gala a fun time for all.

The late September evening offered the perfect weather for the outdoor fete, which included live music and a cocktail hour aboard Delaware’s great tall ship – a replica of the Dutch-built ship which carried Swedish settlers to North America in 1638.

Over 200 guests, many in black tie, kicked off their evening with a land and sea reception at sunset. Then they settled themselves under a large tent on the grounds of the Tatiana and Gerret Copeland Maritime Center for a festive dinner with food stations and smorgasbord dining accompanied by music from local musicians Next Phase Band.

WJBR host Michael Waite emceed the evening’s program and live auction. At the meal’s conclusion, organizers presented the King Neptune Award to retiring State Senator Margaret Rose Henry for her twenty years of service and support of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and their educational mission. 

“There’s a genuine electricity in the air tonight. We’re all here to support this great ship and her education mission,” said Executive Director Cathy Parsells. “The Gala is one of our pivotal moments when donors, sponsors, hosts, our Trustees, a legion of volunteers, and staff all come together for a really special night to raise funds and cap off a great sailing season.”

Guests also enjoyed “gala games” activities, a photo booth and musing over the illustrations of plein air artist Dennie Young.

This was Gala Committee Chair Nancy Schragger’s third year managing the event. She said the committee worked hard to make this year’s ode to the Roman god of the sea memorable and different.

“This was our 12th annual King Neptune Gala. So we decided to create more of a party-festive atmosphere this year — with food stations, “Gala Games” and activities,” said Schragger. “We also assigned no formal seating plan so people would have more time to mix and mingle. It’s been a great hit!”

In addition to King Neptune Award recipient State Senator Margaret Rose Henry, honored guests included: Her Excellency Karin Olofsdotter, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States, and Her Excellency Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States.

Local notables included US Sen. Tom Carper; Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester; State Sen. Greg Lavelle; State Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden; Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki; Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz; Wilmington City Council Member Zanthia Oliver; and ‘Godmother’ Tatiana Copeland and Mr. Gerret Copeland.

Karen Brooks Photography


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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of TownSquareDelaware.com, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.