“We went the first few times and had a lot of fun, but we don’t like dressing up and fancy hotels. So, we approached Haven and offered to have ViVA! at the farm because we thought it would draw more people with a casual event,” said Davis Rembert, whose family has been hosting the successful signature event for the past eight years.
The 11th-annual ViVA! is expected to draw more than 600 attendees and will again be held at the picturesque Rembert Farms in Alachua. Activities, food, art displays and musical entertainment will center on this year’s African Safari theme. Attendees will be transported to another continent by the music and dance performances presented by the University of Florida Center for African Studies, singing by the University of Florida Africa Choir and incredible cuisine from Blue Water Bay. African art and artifacts from private collections will also be on display.
Jonathan Rembert, Davis and Judi’s son, manages the property. “From day one, ViVA! has sold out,” he said. “There is always something new and exciting, and this year, there will be a special fireworks display.”
Over the past few months, there have been some changes to the property that will enhance the event experience. The hay barn has been enclosed to provide a large, inviting space for the hundreds of silent auction items. The original barn will host gaming activities so everyone can enjoy blackjack, Texas hold ‘em and bourbon tastings. In the middle of these two barns, event-goers will enjoy dinner under a big-top tent.
“Every year, we improve the property,” Davis said. “The hay barn is now a 6,000-square-foot banquet hall and protected from the elements.”
The welcome website page of Rembert Farms describes the property as authentic and warm. These words certainly ring true about the 800- acre property and also describe the family that owns and manages the farm, Davis and Judi Rembert and their two sons Jonathan and Ken.
“The whole family gets involved,” Davis said. “We have worked hard to create a first-class experience.” Rembert Farms hosts a wide range of charity galas, weddings and corporate events throughout the year.
“From day one, we wanted to share Rembert Farms with other people,” Davis said. “As a family, we are so fortunate to have this big farm. We are blessed to have it, and we want the community to enjoy it as our family does.”
As in years past, Jonathan, Davis and Judi recently walked the property with Haven Hospice Fundraising Special Events Coordinator Stephanie Brod to ensure that everything is perfect for the upcoming ViVA! 2015.
“Guests will have the opportunity to be in a drawing for elegant jewelry pieces by Sanders Jewelers, Starbucks will be on site to provide coffee and fortune tellers will describe your future,” Brod said. “Many new, local vendors are involved this year.”
Having grown up in Gainesville, Davis, Judi and their extended family have been supporting Haven Hospice through the organization’s 36-year history. And when Haven Hospice took care of Judi’s mother and father, she and Davis wanted a special way to give back and offered to host the annual signature fundraiser at their property.
“Two days before Judi’s mother died at the E.T. York Care Center, they rolled her bed outside in the courtyard in the sun and fresh air,” Davis said.
Judi also remembers that time: “She told me that this was the last place she would feel at home. Haven took such good care of her and my father. It is a very positive atmosphere.”
“We have a love for hospice and for Haven, so we have helped out through the years in fundraising and donations,” Davis said.
All proceeds from ViVA! 2015 will benefit the unreimbursed programs and services provided by Haven Hospice to patients and families in Gainesville and the surrounding communities. To become a sponsor or auction donor, or for more information, please contact Stephanie Brod at 352-271-4665 or email [email protected] For more information about Rembert Farms, you can visit www.rembertfarms. com.
Gift Card Donations
Re-Gift to Haven Hospice
Do you have a gift card that isn’t quite a fit for you or your family? Donate your unused gift cards to Haven Hospice and help provide unreimbursed programs and services for patients and families in your community. The gift cards will be used to enhance live and silent auctions at Haven event fundraisers. All charitable gifts remain in the communities that Haven Hospice serves, and all donations are tax deductible.