The Piedmont Ball raised over $300,000 to benefit The Piedmont Environmental Council.

MIDDLEBURG, VA - “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”…and its name is The Piedmont Environmental Council, a group that has for 40 years been preserving the Virginia countryside, retaining the views that Thomas Jefferson would have seen from his beloved hilltop estate, Monticello.


Hostess of the party, Mimi Abel Smith, with her architect, Norm Askins and his wife, Jean.

The Piedmont Ball, held in a stunningly beautiful tent on the grounds of Hickory House, the gracious home of Mimi Abel Smith in Middleburg, brought together a record crowd for this annual event. Over $300,000 was raised through the live auction and the “paddle raise,” an increasingly popular method of garnering large money donations, fully tax-deductible and not requiring the year of cajoling that the live and silent auction elements demand. This was an elegant evening in a wonderful setting, attended by a generous group of supporters who not only believed in the cause of conservation but put their money where their mouths were.


The National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, VA.

The next day, many of the guests reassembled at the National Sporting Library and Museum’s Benefit Polo Match and Luncheon, held at the Virginia International Polo Club, whose home field is at the historic Llangollen Farm in Upperville. On a perfect, sunny autumnal day, the champagne flowed in the hospitality tent, as the Washington Scottish Pipe Band marched by, the Piedmont Fox Hounds paraded past the grandstand under the immaculate control of the Master of Fox Hounds and his Whipper-In. The polo, starring high-goal players from Chile, Argentina and the U.S.A. was of a high standard and provided a perfect excuse for sitting in the sun and chatting with old friends form one of the horse capitals of America, all the while adding to the support of the National Sporting Library and Museum, a wonderful institution in the center of Middleburg with a superb collection of American and international sporting art and reference materials. The museum is a “must visit” for anyone addicted to horses (“dangerous at both ends and wobbly in the middle”), shooting and fishing.  “Tally Ho!”