Annual HVA auction celebrating 25 years
Thursday, October 22, 2015
HVA board director Ecton Manning, right, and his wife, Betsy, left, with Marlene Smith, all Washington residents, enjoying the auctioneer’s remarks at last year’s charity event. Photo by Rich Pomerantz
Centerpieces designed by Kent Greenhouse adorn tables at last year’s auction held at the Washington Primary School, Washington Depot. Photo by Richard Pomerantz
By Daniela Forte
The Housatonic Valley Association is hosting its annual gala to further benefit the Housatonic River and its watershed. This year, the auction is celebrating 25 years and is honoring fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, who made great strides in founding and making this event what it is today.
“We’re so excited to be honoring Diane for her devotion to this region, her environmental activism and leadership in the involvement in the auction,” said Lynn Werner, executive director of the Housatonic Valley Association. “We are so grateful and indebted to [actress] Christine Baranski whose passion for her home and our cause has carried this auction to new heights, and together these two women are really environmental heroes in the Housatonic River Valley. We are lucky to have them.”
The event is planned for Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at Washington Primary School in Washington Depot. The tribute to von Furstenberg will take place around 2 p.m. followed by the live auction.Reservations are due by Oct. 23.
Baranski, an honorary chairman of the organization and star of CBS’s “The Good Wife,” said in a phone interview that what has changed each year about the event is the awareness. She said it is about a group of people who care passionately about where they live.
“I always call it the party of the year. It crosses town and state lines. This is our river valley. Towns have to work together,” said Baranski. “The water we drink, the air we breathe is not defined by a border, and I hope we can cast a wide net from different towns, not just Washington.”
Baranski said the organization is doing crucial work now because of the effects of global warming.
“We come here every weekend, being on the lake, park beaches, connect us deeply to our better selves,” said Baranski of Litchfield County. “This is a place that is very special and worth fighting for.”
Werner said when the auction first began, it was amazing to see people with so much talent and resources who cared about the place they lived in all coming together. The auction has brought a lot of great times and everybody, no matter what level they wanted to participate in, was able to.
Werner said von Furstenberg’s goal was to give a way for everybody to participate in protecting the beautiful place they call home.
“Christine and Diane have been such amazing women in that they are strong leaders, they care and are able to bring together all different facets of the community in protecting what we love, what we cherish and what is gone in Southern New England,” said Werner.
Prior to the auction, fashion designer Linda Allard and Baranski are hosting a pre-auction champagne toast at Allard’s Washington home. It begins at noon and all guests at the Diamond and Platinum levels are invited to raise a toast to Diane von Furstenberg.
The pre-auction event will then move on to Washington Primary School before 2 p.m. This is when the tribute to von Furstenberg at the auction is scheduled to take place. Alongside the tribute, auctioneers Tim Luke, the featured appraiser on HGTV’s show “Cash in the Attic,” and Greg Strahm will join the event once again this year.
Donations include a European trip, a visit on the set of the “Good Wife,” lunch for two at Baranski’s home next summer, donations from local merchants within the watershed, a tour of DVF headquarters in New York City, gift certificate to the DVF boutique and lunch for two.
Werner said the auction is their major fundraiser and this they are offering a shopping spree on Main Street in Kent as well.
“Christine took the reins and continued the phenomenal tradition,” said Werner. “What is terrific about the auction, it is the one time of year where everybody at whatever level can contribute to help preserve the environment they love. That was what Diane has started and what Christine has picked up and carried forward.”
The event will be catered by Executive Cuisine in New Milford and Anne Gallagher of Washington is catering the event at Allard’s home. Auction guests at the patron level and above are invited to have either brunch or dinner at the GW Tavern in Washington Depot at 11:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. following the live auction.
“We have almost a 2,000-square-mile watershed of land that drains all these streams into the Housatonic and then ultimately Long Island Sound,” said Werner. “Everything we do in the watershed effects the Long Island Sound. This auction is important from that standpoint.”
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.
The Washington Primary School is located 11 School St. in Washington Depot. For information, call 860-672-6678 and visit www.hvatoday.org.
HVA is a nonprofit that 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, according to the organization. The Housatonic River starts north of Pittsfield, Mass., and flows through the Berkshires and Connecticut to Long Island Sound.