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Is it a birdhouse, or is it art?
Or both, for many items up for sale at this weekends Elachee fundraiser
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Birdhouses decorated by local artists will be the main attraction at this weekend's Flights of Fancy fundraiser at Elachee Nature Science Center.

From whimsical to functional bird-inspired creations, Flights of Fancy will have bird lovers in a tizzy.

"We have just a wide array of things," said Lavon Callahan, director of development and communications at Elachee Nature Science Center. "We have a birdhouse that actually looks like a Jeep, and we have another birdhouse that is made out of Scrabble letters and has bird words; we have a window that is painted with birds"

Now in its seventh year, Flights of Fancy will benefit Elachee Nature Science Center and its environmental education programs, along with conservation efforts at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

"Grants are down for many nonprofits this year," said Jane White, chairwoman for Flights of Fancy and a veterinarian at Murrayville Veterinary Clinic. "A lot of places that traditionally do offer funding for this kind of program have had their funding cut, so this (fundraiser) is particularly timely."

The night will feature an auction of unique bird-themed items created by local artists and friends of Elachee. Birdhouses are the main attraction, but the event also features bird feeders, birdbaths and planters. There should be something for every bird lover, Callahan said.

"We have a silent auction that will have about probably 75 items, and we have a very small live auction - between five and seven items," Callahan said. "In the live auction we have a beautiful mosaic table that a member here, Robbie McCormac, did the mosaic work on the top, and it is just gorgeous."

McCormac is a local artist who has contributed pieces to the event since its beginning.

Adding to the evening's theme, drawing students from the Little Art Studio will have birdhouse-themed art on display at Elachee through May 28.

Guests at the auction will be served a light dinner provided by Gainesville caterer Slade Exley, beverages and live jazz from local saxophonist Brian Ulrich.

"It is a lovely setting," Callahan said. "Particularly in the spring with all the trees leafed out. We are anticipating 120 to 150 or more guests, so that auction number of items is just about right for the number of people that are coming."

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