HVA Auction To Kick Off Holiday Season

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

By Daniela Forte

The Housatonic Valley Association is kicking off the holiday season with its annual gala to benefit and further the work of its organization to preserve the Housatonic River and its watershed.

This year, its 24th annual auction is planned for Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Washington Primary School in Washington Depot.

“It’s a very popular event every year, it has been since [fashion designer and honorary director] Diane von Furstenberg began it 24 years ago, “ said Brenda Singer, membership volunteer and auction coordinator. “It has really grown, it is always the Sunday before Thanksgiving and it’s a way to kick off the holiday season up here.”

Generally the event has about 225 guests who have the opportunity to enjoy music, a reception and silent auction. The live auction with HGTV’s Tim Luke and Greg Strahm begins at 2:30 p.m. The auction is catered by Executive Cuisine.

Guests of the auction can expect this to be a fun event, organizers said. Singer said Luke and Strahm are such professionals and make it an entertaining event.

“We have a live camera on the audience and Tim during the auction; Tim makes sure everyone gets in on the action,” Singer said.

Singer said what has changed about this event is the size, and each year it gets more fun.

“We have loyal donors who have been contributing for the past 23 years of the auction,” said Singer. “I have volunteers all over the Berkshires and Housatonic Valley collecting donations.”

Singer said guests who come in as gold members and above are invited to a pre-auction reception hosted by Christine Baranski, HVA board director and star on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” The reception is held at the Washington Art Association in Washington Depot, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Anne Gallagher Catering will cater the pre-auction.

There will also be an Honorary Committee Members brunch at 11:30 a.m. or Twilight dinner at 5 p.m. at the G.W. Tavern for guests at the patron level.

The auction lineup of donations from friends throughout the valley includes exotic vacations, unique opportunities, as well as home furnishings, antiques, outdoor gear, adventures and more. The HVA begins soliciting donations in the summer for this event, Singer said.

Singer said what she is trying to do for the towns within the watershed is solicit shop keepers and restaurant tours and crafters in hopes to have enough representation from each one of the towns and raise money for the HVA and help protect the health of the river throughout the watershed.

Guests come from Litchfield County, but the event also draws from Fairfield County and the Berkshires.

“This year we are going to be debuting a very short video about the watershed, about the river valley,” Singer said.

The organization exists to protect the drinking water and the health of the entire watershed and to do that, it has a water protection director who works to make it healthy for the fish, but also works with the towns to learn how to develop with low impact, Singer said.

“We get grant funding that enables us to organize with other organizations and towns and volunteers to get the work done,” said Singer. “I am so impressed with what HVA does; I have been for 30 years and I have only worked here for 10.”

Singer said the organization also attempts to get local representatives to attend. Usually the event will see U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Andrew Roraback, when he was a state representative. Other local representatives that have attended include Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and state Rep. Roberta Willis.

“We try to get all the local representatives to stop in because the health and welfare of the Housatonic Watershed is 2,000 square miles,” said Singer. “It’s just an amazing river.”

The Washington Primary School is located 11 School St. in Washington Depot. For information, call 860-672-6678 and visit www.HVAToday.org. Tickets should be reserved by Nov. 18.

HVA is a 501(c)3 organization and has protected the health of the Housatonic River for over 70 years with the help of membership and grant funding as well as special events. The Housatonic River starts north of Pittsfield, Mass., and flows through the Berkshires and Connecticut to Long Island Sound.


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