Charity Garden Party Celebrates the Queen's Birthday While Raising Money for HIV/AIDS

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With an afternoon tea party, an English hat contest, and a British car show, "The Queen's Birthday: A Charity Garden Party" is a lighthearted event benefiting a serious cause.

"All funds raised at the event here today will go to benefit the Nebraska Aids Project, which allows us to continue to help those living with HIV and AIDS. It also helps us provide much-needed educational services here in central Nebraska and continue to support HIV testing and raise awareness about the cause," said Andrew Brackett, the education and event coordinator for the Nebraska Aids Project.

The 4th annual fundraiser, held in honor of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, has grown to more than 200 people, including a number of British attendees. Barbara deGroot came all the way from Leigh-on-Sea, England.

"She told me about it all last year, and I said, oh it sounded great, wonderful. And that's what we did. I arranged my flight and everything so I landed last Tuesday, here for this weekend to join in the Queen's birthday celebration," deGroot said.

This year, members of the British Royal Air Force also joined in the fun.

"My first thought was, it's very random, it's a long way away from the UK, a long way away from home for us. But it was a great opportunity to come and celebrate in the support of a good project," said Drew Buxton, an RAF pilot.

There was also dinner, live music, and a silent auction of Nebraskan art, with all proceeds helping to break down the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

"For many of us, HIV/AIDS isn't something we deal with everyday, and certainly it's not something that's spoken about everyday, which is perhaps the point of fundraisers such as this. Raising awareness and helping people talk about it, accept HIV/AIDS, and really get the debate going, it's a great opportunity," Buxton said.

"It's always nice to have a fun environment and a great event that encourages people to come out and learn more about the cause in the process of enjoying a fun afternoon and evening," added Brackett.