Porch Party for Save the Gazebo welcomes 52 guests
Center on left is Michelle Dell Valle, president of the Millbrook Rotary Club talking with Millbrook Trustee Vicky Contino at the home of Wayne and Joan Lempka of Millbrook during the 2023 Porch Party to save the Elm Drive Gazebo. 
Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

Porch Party for Save the Gazebo welcomes 52 guests

MILLBROOK — At this year’s Porch Party for Save the Gazebo, four homes welcomed participants with drinks, canapes and desserts, sparking conversations, cementing friendships and inviting people to get to know each other to help a cause.

Save the Gazebo founder Ashley Lempka and others, along with the Millbrook Historical Society have been working to raise funds to preserve the Gazebo on Elm Drive, owned by the Millbrook Central School District, which has fallen into disrepair over the years. It is currently marked off-limits with orange tape.

Check-in began at 42 Merrit Ave., the home of Wayne and Joan Lempka, featuring Aperol Spritzes, and with prosciutto & melon, tomato, mozzarella and basil bites. From there, the invite was at 46 Maple Ave., the home of Kari and Tim Capowski, for gazpacho, Mario’s Brick Oven Olive Breads and a choice of Gin con Limone, rose or Estrella. Maps were given out for the rest of the tour.

Christina Dimitriades and John Calahan, at 57 Maple Ave., welcomed guests with spanakopita, dolmades, tiropita, pita and tzatziki, and Greek wine. The final stop was a variety of finger desserts with coffee or tea at the home of Maureen and Earl Meyers, 56 Maple Ave. 

All of these houses have fragrant gardens, and the timing of between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. allowed for the temperature to have dropped a bit, making the air comfortable. Lempka reported that she had 52 reservations for this second year of Porch Party. The organization is still negotiating with the school system, which owns the gazebo but is hopeful that, by next spring, a solution will have been worked out. 

The Elm Drive Gazebo has both historical and sentimental significance to many from this area, and the effort to save it, by the Friends of the Gazebo under the Millbrook Historical Society, has been well-received. Initially the cost was estimated to be around $56,000, but with inflation, the cost has gone up.


This article has been updated to correct the identification of Kari and Tim Capowski.

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