by Lucy De Souza
During the summer months, it is almost impossible to walk down Main Street and not see event posters plastered all over store windows. But among a sea of fliers, one may catch your eye. The event is a fundraiser for the Sag Harbor Tree Fund and it will auction off funky, one-of-a-kind hats created by local shop owners and business people.
The Sag Harbor Tree Fund is a not-for-profit organization established in 1994 that sells commemorative trees and plants them around the village. Since its founding it has planted 317 trees, paid for by people who want to commemorate people and sometimes even animals. While the organization takes full responsibility for the planted trees for the three first years, some still require extra TLC afterwards. The fund hopes to raise money for the extra work it does through a silent auction of unique hats this Sunday at a party at Cormaria Retreat House on Bay Street in Sag Habor.
Why hats? According to Alexandra Eames, one of eight Tree Fund committee members, hats are common accessories worn by those involved in the Tree Fund.
“When we go out, to look at trees or go to the nurseries, we usually wear hats because of the sun. We’ve taken to sticking leaves in the brims in our hats [for decoration] and so that’s where the idea sort of came from,” she said.
She also said that some inspiration came from the crazy hats worn by guests of the royal wedding this year.
Unlike last year’s fundraiser — which auctioned off watering cans painted by local and celebrity artists — the hats up for bid were designed not by artists but by local retailers and business owners. As the chapeaux range from a child-inspired hat covered in removable toys to a sultry one covered in fishnet and lingerie materials, a wide variety of fun, eclectic styles is guaranteed.
Some of the hats featured are not actually hats at all. Phil Bucking of the Garden Center put together a “living” hat made of green and rose colored succulent plants that can be hung on a wall and will grow throughout the year. Its apparent that contributors followed Eames’ one guideline: “to use their imagination and have a good time.”
This hat auction will be in memory of former Tree Fund committee member, David Neal Hartman, who passed away suddenly last October. But the commemorative event is not meant to be sad.
“He certainly loved a good time,” Eames explained, “so this definitely is going to be a very cheerful affair.”
Eames stressed that the event will be very casual.
“We find, that since we charge $20 admission, it’s affordable and it’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon,” she said.
The hat auction will take place this Sunday, July 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Cormaria, 77 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served, including Mango Lemonade and wine.
Eames said she hopes that the hat auction “will spread the word about the Tree Fund and also raise some money so that it can continue and that everyone will have a good time.”