Auction in Belfast features dozens of experiences that money can’t buy

Posted Nov. 23, 2011, at 12:41 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 23, 2011, at 4:37 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Have you ever wanted to turn on the Christmas lights that illuminate High Street in Belfast?

Dreamed of striking a pose as a lingerie model for City Drawers on Main Street?

Longed to score a four-hour sail in a cruising sloop with one of the best sailors around?

Desired to dine with a noted mystery author?

This Saturday, these fantasies and others can come true for the highest bidders at the inaugural “Money Can’t Buy It” fundraising auction for Our Town Belfast.

Dorothy Havey, executive director of the nonprofit agency that supports community and creativity in downtown Belfast, said that dozens of folks have come forward with interesting items to donate to the auction. As the name implies, the majority of them are experiences that can’t be bought in shops.

“People have really been amazing with the things they’ve come up with,” she said Tuesday. “It’s about those unique experiences you can only have in Belfast. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the lingerie model at City Drawers?”

The inspiration for the unusual premise came from the University of Maine Alumni Association, which does its own fundraising auction, as do many area nonprofit organizations. Havey, who used to work at the association, said that two of the donated items that generated the most buzz were the chance to check on black bear cubs with Maine Game Wardens and the opportunity to accompany University of Maine alum Bill Green for his show, Bill Green’s Maine.

“I’ve learned that the more unique the experience became, the more interesting it was,” Havey said. “When you make it so it’s different, it really excites people.”

Although the list of items and experiences is continuing to grow, some of the more unique ones include:

• Going for a leisurely kayak tour of the Passagassawakeag River with Registered Maine Guide (and Belfast City Manager) Joe Slocum.

• Getting three hours of expert historic research guidance with Megan Pinette at the Belfast Historical Society and Museum.

• Sharing lunch with Gerry Boyle, author of such popular page-turners as “Damaged Goods” and “Port City Shakedown.”

• Having the chance to put a message of your choosing on the marquee for the Colonial Theatre.

• Becoming “immortalized” in ice cream by creating a treat that will be named for you at The Cool Spot on Main Street.

• Sailing with Front Street Shipyard’s president, J.B. Turner, on his sloop.

All proceeds from the auction will be used to support Our Town Belfast programs, including the upcoming Old Fashioned Christmas festivities.

“I think that’s why the community’s been so excited about it. We are turning around and re-investing into the community right here,” Havey said.

The preview for the auction and the silent auction will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Belfast Boat House. Music, light refreshments and a cash bar will be provided.

The live auction, featuring auctioneer and Belfast City Councilor Eric Sanders, will begin around 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for a person and $15 for a couple.

For more information, visit www.ourtownbelfast.org.

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