After 21 years, nearly everyone in town has a birdhouse.
For more than 2 decades, residents enjoyed a Birdhouse Auction. The idea was creative, fun — and totally Westport.
Local artists created amazing, unique and very cool birdhouses. They were showcased in Main Street store windows, kicked off by a springtime “stroll.” Then — as the highlight of a fun party — people bid to buy them.
All funds went to Project Return, the North Compo Road group home for girls and young women undergoing difficult times.
But according to Jeff Wieser — CEO of Homes With Hope, the Westport housing organization that oversees Project Return — the effective shelf life of a fundraiser for most non-profits is 7 to 10 years.
The Birdhouse Auction took a tremendous amount of time and effort, by a dedicated core of volunteers. They asked a lot of very generous and talented and local artists.
And — as noted above — you can fit only so many birdhouses in your back yard.
Last year marked the final Birdhouse Auction. But Project Return needs as much support as ever.
Fortunately, a group of volunteers has created a new fundraising event. It’s a summer party with cocktails, dinner and dancing at the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Called “Night on the River,” it’s set for Saturday, June 3.
Wieser is particularly pleased that a “great group of younger people” has taken over the planning.
“The next generation is getting involved in Westport volunteerism,” he says. “They’ve got a new canvas of creativity.”
But they’re keeping some of that old Main Street stroll flavor.
Because the dress code for “Night on the River” is “strictly summer white,” organizers are asking downtown merchants — most of whom own clothing stores — to feature white clothes in their windows.
In addition, Amis restaurant created a special “Summer Nights” cocktail. It drew raves at its recent debut.
“Hopefully this is the start of a whole new tradition,” Wieser says.
Hopefully too the birds won’t notice there are no new feeders this year.
(Click here for more information on — and tickets to — “Night on the River.”)