Naples Botanical Gardens holds annual ‘Hats in the Garden’ fundraiser

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

On Wednesday, hats sprinkled the Naples Botanical Garden for its annual fundraiser. This is the one day of the year visitors’ attire is just as beautiful as the plants and flowers.

No one understands the importance of the hat more than Heather Dockweiler. “In 2013, it was the 10-year anniversary of Hats in the Garden, and a friend of mine called me, who worked at Marissa’s, and said you have to come down.”

Black swan hat. (Credit: Kelly Jones)

This headpiece called the black swan, kicked off what’s now been a decade of show-stopping hats. some were more difficult to wear than others.

2 swinging ladies hat. (Credit: Kelly Jones)

“The 2 swinging ladies, It was extremely heavy,” said Dockweiler. “The people were constructed out of porcelain clay, and it was windy at the garden that year, so I kept finding myself going like this.”

She’s worn a teacup, cheesecake, and even an outfit with the perfect cherry on top.

(Credit: Kelly Jones)

One of them was even inspired by her now 11-year-old daughter.

“Ceile was the inspiration for the hair hat,” said Dockweiler. “She said what would be really cool for you to have a hat made out of hair.”

Hair hat. (credit: Shared with WINK News)

Not only did mom do it, but disassembly was a memorable mother-daughter affair.

“She’s been begging to go for a couple of years,” said Dockweiler.

While her daughter’s not quite old enough, she’s following in mom’s hat fashion footsteps.

Dockweiler’s daughter’s hats. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

WINK News’ partners at Gulfshore Life sponsored the hats in the garden event. Nearly 700 guests attended and the event raised a record-breaking $2.65 million to help with the garden’s mission to protect paradise. Experts guide beach dune restoration and show how plants reduce land-based contaminants.

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