Hurricane Lee gave us a merciful pass on September 15th. It was a little cooler, but the sun appeared, casting a golden glow on the Farmington Land Trust field as it sank into the horizon. Not the Grand Opening that was expected due to contractor delays, but the “stars” in Farmington came out that night. Most anyone who was someone was there
224 FLT fans roamed the property with glasses of wine, beer and cocktails in hand. Naturalist, Diane Tucker guided people on a nature walk down the trail while Jon Estrellado, Evan Cowles and Steve Nelson led tours through the Wilcox-Bushley farmhouse.
Wrapped and decorated Surprise boxes for which you could buy a raffle ticket sat on tables. Heaven, one of the volunteers told me it was a secret as to what was inside.
Servers ushered us under the tent to our long, rectangular tables where salads awaited. We were served platters of grains with herbs de Provence, roasted veggies, ratatouille and chicken with cider and sage. Yum!
During dessert—apple crisp with whipped cream-- we watched a video created by FLT members Linda Schultz and Scott Mulvihill, of the progress of the house restoration.
FLT President Francie Brown Holmes, Executive Director, Cate Grady-Benson, and event co-chairs Diane Nelson, and Karen Wasley gave speeches.
Brown Holmes set the stage for the rest of the evening by making a generous donation from her Exxon stocks to the Land Trust Wilcox-Bushley Homestead Capital Campaign.
Then, the paddles came out for Preservation with board member and caller Jessica Harrison and the bidding began.
The first item—champagne for the table--the bidding began at $10,000. Other items were a $5,000 pie baked and delivered by board member Jim Calciano, who also led the renovation of the farmhouse. He was referred to as a “Jim of all Trades”. Volunteer Mary Lou Wadsworth’s cookies went for $2500 and 16 $1,000 personalized bricks were auctioned off for the pollinator patio.
The last two items were a $500 FLT cap— “Dad hats are on trend!” –confirmed auctioneer Harrison, and FLT honey for $100 a jar. All in all, the auction raised over $80,000 to support the development of the Wilcox-Bushley Homestead Environmental Learning Center.
The evening ended promptly with clusters of guests happily chatting and hugging good-by.