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Hamptons Life

Apr 19, 2019 2:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East End Garden Festival Returns To Riverhead, Adds Water Mill Location

Plants for sale at the 2018 East End Garden Festival. COURTESY OPERATION INTERNATIONAL
Apr 23, 2019 9:47 AM

The East End Garden Festival is returning in May to the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, and this 24th annual fundraiser will introduce a satellite location in Water Mill to further support the mission of Operation International.

Operation International—formerly called International Surgical Mission Support—is a nonprofit founded in Southampton that sends teams of volunteers on medical missions to impoverished areas around the globe.

The annual festival, which was started to support the organization, offers an array of annuals and perennials for sale, from flowers to shrubs and trees, all donated by nurseries and greenhouses from Long Island and farther afield.

A crew of doctors, clinicians, nurses and aides from New York made its first international trip in 1997 to Haiti to give medical care to adults and children afflicted with disease and congenital disorders and lacking access to quality health care. Surgeons also train local doctors in advanced surgical techniques.

Operation International has now grown to include eight chapters in addition to the founding New York chapter. The New York team visited the Ivory Coast in March. This May, the specialized dental team will visit Uganda.

The nonprofit’s scope also has grown to include building and upgrading local orphanages, installing solar panels, drilling fresh water wells, and providing mosquito nets.

The East End Garden Festival at Tanger is coordinated by the Rotary Club of Riverhead and also benefits Riverhead’s Peconic Bay Medical Center and other charities that the club supports.

The satellite in Water Mill will be stationed at the Milk Pail and staffed by Operation International volunteers, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Operation International’s future missions.

The East End Garden Festival will run from May 10 to 19 at Tanger. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. For more information, visit riverheadrotary.org.

The satellite at the Milk Pail, staffed by the doctors and nurses of Operation International, will be open from May 10 to 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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