The State Dinner Tent Reception for The Queen of England and Prince Phillip - July 7th, 1976 - Ford Administration
Frank adding flowers to a centerpiece for a State Dinner in Honor of Queen Elizabeth royal visit to The White House, July 7th, 1976. The Rose Garden Tent Reception. Ford Administration
The photo on the left is the preparation for a State Dinner Tent Reception in the White House Rose Garden for The Queen of England on the evening of July 7, 1976. In this photograph I was adding flowers to a lovely centerpiece that I assisted in the floral centerpiece designing for this historic State Dinner. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip was invited here to The White House on a State Visit and very special guest to The President and Mrs. Ford to help America celebrate our bi-centennial. I was invited to The White House to assist in the decorating team of this great historic event, under the direction of The Chief Florist and another top designer, who was selected by Mrs. Ford to be in full command of this decorating task. This was a "Great Historic Event" - I was living in this history on this day, and I was there, living proof, that this event happened before my eyes, and that I will never forget it. The elegance of this wonderful event will always be with me. The chills I received down my spine, just standing about twenty feet away from The Queen of England as she entered The White House receiving room, I was in the next room with my peers, preparing interior floral arrangements and putting the final touches on them. It's thirty-three years ago that this beautiful State Visit occured, but to me, it seems like yesterday, I remember this day so very well. The weather was about ninety-five degrees, on this day. The professional florist in charge of this mass project was indeed a fine gentleman and one with great talent in the field of floristry and elegant dinner decorating. The flowers were all of summer blooms and simply most beautiful to arranged in table centerpieces. It was a pure English garden decor type of a setting in that most beautiful white large tent, set up in the Rose Garden just outside the oval office. It was a very hot day, and I changed shirts three times during this project working in a very serious heat wave that afternoon. I remember taking a break from my workload and jumping into a cab outside on Pennsyvania Avenue heading to Garfickels Department Store to buy another two white shirts before the First Lady came down to inspect the table decorations in the tent. The tent was the size of a mini Cyde Beatty Circus Big Top. It was pure white, so elegant, so vast and perfect for a White House State Dinner for the Royal Couple. I also had the great honor of working with the very famous and elegant chef Julia Child. She was with me almost all morning directing me on setting the tables and displaying the floral centerpieces. Julia Child was an American Cook, author and television personality, who introduced French Cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream, through her many cookbooks and television programs. Her most famous works are the 1961 cookbooks and, showcasing her sui generis television persona, the series The French Chef which premiered in 1963. She was a lady of elegance in her personality and profession. I enjoyed her company so very much. During the day we engaged in different conversational topics and then she asked me if I knew any famous chefs. The only chef that came into my mind, and I tasted his cooking quite offen in my home, was Chef Boy Ar De! She responded to me with a hardy laugh after that answer. I also played a joked on my mother when I returned back to Richmond Hill, and told her that I gave Julia Childs our address, and that if she was ever in the neighborhood, to stop by our house for some of your home-made Lasagna. Knowing my out-going personality, my Mother really thought I gave the famous chef our address, she started to redecorate the house, I had to tell her the truth.
President Ford and Queen Elizabeth toast during the state dinner in honor of the Queen and Prince Philip at the White House.
Frank taking a break from the table decorating in the reception tent for the Queen's State Dinner. Sometimes you must stop work for a few minutes and smell some flowers, like Frank is doing in the Rose Garden outside the tent on The White House grounds. July 6th, 1976. This was the day before the big event.
Inside the State Dinner Reception Tent waiting for the First Lady's Inspection before the evening's gala event for The Queen of England. Tables decorated with the assistance of Frank Lazzaro. They created elegant centerpieces with assorted summer garden flowers of Daisies, Gerbers, Pink Ruben Lillies, Hydrangeas, Hyacinths, Sweetheart Roses, Sweet Williams and other lovely blooms as fill-ins with assorted greenery of light and dark foliages designed in a round garden style English country basket with roping cord around the basket. The highest flower stem was about thirty inches high. The White House Rose Garden - early morning of July 7, 1976. Ford Administratio
From Kaner's Column in The Long Island Press - July 1976 (click image to enlarge)
First Lady Betty Ford observes the table settings and staff preparations with reporters for the evening's state dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II of England and Prince Philip. July 7, 1976.
This is an Official White House Photograph that was given to Frank Lazzaro by the President and Mrs. Ford after the State Visit. President and Mrs. Ford and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the Truman Balcony following the Queen's state arrival at the White House. July 7, 1976.
Some words from Journalist & Philanthropist Walter Kaner of The Long Island Press - July 4, 1976
The Emperior of Japan State Dinner - Ford Administration - October 2, 1975
This article was written a few days before my trip to Washington for the floral decorating of The Emperior of Japan's State Dinner given by The President and Mrs. Ford. Taken from Walter Kaner's Column of The Long Island Press.
The call from White House officials came quickly and gave me only a few days notice for my assistance in this great assignment. I only have one official photograph given to me by the White House photographer of my floral designs and it shown below. It's been thirty four years but I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was under the direct supervision of another very talented man and his crew at The White House and obeyed all instructions from him. He made a sample of the style he wanted and I executed the design exactly to his specifications. I was very tired later on in the evening. We worked around the clock all day and into the night for this great event with the Emperior of Japan and the President and Mrs. Ford. The White House florist also played a very important role in this project, but sometimes outsiders were summons into the White House to display their talents to the nation. As sure as night follows day, anyone decorating the White House for such a very special event like this State Dinner was sure to be in the nation's top home decorating magazines the following month, sometimes on the front cover. When I placed the last floral arrangement on the table that evening, I was ready to sack out right on the floor in the State Dining Room. This I must say, was one of the most difficult assignments in my twelve years. Why, because, the crew was very small and the room decorating was very large.
On October 2, 1975, the Fords welcomed Japanese Emperor Hirohito to the White House. This film was made during the formal state arrival ceremony that occurred on the White House South Lawn. The State Dinner for The Emperior of Japan given by The President and Mrs. Ford - Frank Lazzaro contributed his floral design professional skills to this great historic event. The Chief White House Florist, Mr. E. Rusty Young requested Frank's presence to come to The White House and assist in this great State Dinner under the supervision of the Head Florist in charge of this large project chosen by The White House. The State Dining Room. Ford Administration
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