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Chair Auction a 'Night To Remember'

More than 40 pieces of artwork, among other items, were sold on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Needham Director of Economic Development Devra Bailin shared this recap of last weekend's "A Chair To Remember" auction event. Several of the chairs sold brought in more than $500 each. Funds raised will go toward scholarships for local high school students and town beautification projects.

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A Night To Remember

By Devra Bailin, Needham Economic Development Director

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Needham community gathered in the festooned James Hugh Powers Hall, surrounded by the unique Adirondack chairs of “A Chair to Remember” and the music of talented Needham High School musicians, and celebrated the collaborative effort of local merchants, restaurateurs and community groups who purchased the chairs designed and painted by Needham artists. 

More than 30 volunteers and 300 residents came together to celebrate the joy of art and giving back.

The event, sponsored by the Needham Merchants Association and Needham Restaurant Association in partnership with the Needham Business Association, resulted in significant funds being raised for Needham High School scholarships for students who intend to study art or business, as well as town beautification projects throughout the coming year. The totals raised far exceeded expectations.

While waiting to buy tickets and registering for their bidding numbers and catalogues, guests were entertained by the music of Needham students’ jazz combo GROBY. The second-floor hallway to Powers Hall was laid out with tables of wine, beverages, appetizers and desserts generously donated by: Coca Cola Refreshments, Natural Spring Water, Georgia Ligris and Georgia Giannopolous, Acme Ice, Food Should Taste Good, Not Your Average Joe’s, Sweet Basil Restaurant, Hazel’s Bakery, Baker’s Best Catering, Avery Manor, Treat Cupcake Bar and Subway. 

More than 40 chairs, together with other specially donated items, ringed Powers Hall, where the music of James Fernando and Isaac Levien quietly serenaded bidders. The Hall was beautifully appointed with plants and flowers from Hillcrest Gardens.

Bidding was robust, and people repeatedly circled the Hall from 6-7:30, hoping to win favorites. The silent auction, which was closed at 7:30, resulted in numerous chairs meeting or exceeding the $500 mark.

The real fun began as bidders took their seats for the much-anticipated live auction, hosted by Needham’s own Susan Wornick, a reporter with WCVB.  With charm, wit and cajoling, Wornick was able to garner considerable contributions for the live auction specialty items. She was awarded for her efforts with an Adirondack chair of her own, sponsored by the Needham Children’s Center and painted by artist Gina McClellan. 

The event was a fun community event, which should not have been missed. Many retired from Town Hall to continue the fun by dining at one of Needham’s many wonderful restaurants.

The auction was the kickoff event of the Discover Needham Local First campaign, a campaign to raise awareness of the unique economic and social benefits of purchasing goods and services from locally owned independent businesses and of the unique characteristics and opportunities provided in our wonderful retail, service and restaurant establishments.  

The auction would not have been possible without the generous support of Platinum Sponsor Roche Bros., Gold Sponsor Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Gold Sponsor Needham Bank, Silver Sponsor Wingate at Needham, and Event Sponsor Middlesex Savings Bank and all of the volunteers from the Needham Merchants Association, Needham Restaurant Association, Needham Business Association and the town of Needham, who generously donated time, services and products to this community effort.   

I encourage you to give back to the business community, which provides so much to us—shop, dine, Discover Needham.

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