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PEO garden tour features four -- Organizers already working on bi-annual event

Bringing a bit of the ocean to lakes area this summer, the local two chapters of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) are offering Tea by the Sea as their 2008 Biennial Garden Tour and Tea fundraiser.

"This is our 7th garden tour," commented committee chair Judy Enslin. "We started in 1997 and after 1998 began to hold the teas every other year."

For each event, a different theme is chosen explained Enslin. Over the years, the local P.E.O. chapters have hosted garden parties such as "Artists in the Garden" and a "Mad Hatters Tea".

Founded in 1869 at Wesleyan College in Iowa by seven female students, the P.E.O sisterhood has grown to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters throughout the US and Canada.

There mission: to aid women in their educational endeavors with scholarships and support. Locally, there are two chapters represented: DQ and FG with a combined current membership of 89.

The Biennial Garden Tea and Tour will take place on July 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hosted at First Lutheran Church for the tea portion of the fundraising event. Garden tours will then venture out to four area gardens which include: Jonathon Danielson, Dr. Lowell Wenberg, Sheila McLaughlin and The Lodge on Lake Detroit.

"Tickets will go on sale starting June 16 and can be purchased form any P.E.O member," added P.E.O "Tea by the Sea" ticket chair Mary Nordmark.

Tickets are $25 a piece with proceeds to benefits P.E.O.'s Educational Projects. Because of space limitations for the tea, tickets are limited and go fast, remarked Enslin. This year there will be approximately 280 tickets for sale.

"There will also be tickets available, though, for the garden tour only for $2," she continued.

Drawing on its vast history and passion for providing educational opportunities for women, today's P.E.O. makes a difference in women's lives with five international philanthropies: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, Cottey College, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education, and P.E.O. Scholar Awards. P.E.O. is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

Locally, "Tea by the Sea" is slated to take place on July 24 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. For more information call Judy Enslin at 846-1432.