The Benefit Committee
On Thursday, October 27th, the Northport Historical Society, held its annual benefit and this year’s honoree was the Society itself. Celebrating its Diamond Anniversary, the Society bedecked the Northport Yacht Club in sparkling lights and gemstones to commemorate the 60th anniversary of their founding in 1962 by Marilyn Campbell.
The annual benefit is the Society’s largest fund raiser of the year and is planned by the volunteers of the Events Committee, which is chaired by Society Trustee Carla Jennings. Ms. Jennings says that the team, which includes, Carolyn Hyatt-Basche, Nora Nolan, Debra Newton, Suzanne McGuire, Doreen Earl, Adele Montecalvo, Karol Kutzma, Ceylan Swenson, Terri Finnegan, Lucy Davies, and Pete Gallo, is the best there is. ‘After working together on the past three benefits, everyone knows just what needs to be done without even asking. It’s the best committee I’ve ever worked with,’ Jennings says with pride. ‘It takes months of preparation. It couldn’t be done without them.’
The evening began with the cocktail hour, where guests could bid on the silent auctions which included framed prints of historic photos, jewelry, and original artwork, as well as take a chance to win one of the 38 amazing raffle baskets. At 7:30 the bell was rung and attention called to the staircase where the Society’s Curator, Terry Reid, presented the Northport Icon Award to the Northport Yacht Club. Reid thanked the Club for keeping Northport’s nautical heritage alive for over 120 years and Commodore, Rob Polizzo, accepted the plaque on the Club’s behalf to a round of applause.
Commodore Rob Polizzo and Curator Terry Reid
Guests were then invited into the main dining room, where they enjoyed dinner, and the musical talents of the live band, Somewhat Nautical. A slide show of pictures from Society events over the past 60 years played in the background and guests were invited to sign large anniversary cards, which will be held in the Museum’s collection. The Society’s President, Suzanne McGuire thanked the Museum’s staff which also worked tirelessly on the evening, including Educator Carol Taylor, and John Daniello who designed all the beautiful booklets and marketing material. She also thanked everyone for coming and introduced the next speaker, our Executive Director, Caitlyn Shea. Caitlyn began by reflecting back to earlier in the year, when she was first hired, and the world was just emerging from the effects of the Covid Pandemic. She felt it ‘was a pivotal time where the Society needed to find even more creative ways to re-establish its presence in the community.’
Board of Trustees President Suzanne McGuire Executive Director Caitlyn Shea
Caitlyn also shared how much she enjoys when visitors come into the gallery. ‘Each day I sit in my office, and I hear visitors excitedly discovering their favorite parts of our exhibit. We receive visitors every week who have deep roots in Northport and want to learn more or share more about their own family history. Every day I hear new fascinating stories about people that called Northport their home - it is impossible to not be inspired by these stories.’ Caitlyn then looked to the future goals for the Society which includes redesigning the entrance to the museum to be wheelchair accessible. ‘It is our intention to keep planning fun and educational exhibits and events that get people excited to learn history, and to make sure that EVERY visitor has access to the museum.’
After dinner the live auction began, with Mark Nolan as our auctioneer. Guests had fun outbidding each other for the unique items and once in a lifetime experiences such as a bi-plane ride and a meet and greet with the Impractical Jokers.
The special evening came to an end around 11pm and guests were given a book, “Six Decades of Preservation,” and cans of our special “Society” beer, brewed by Sand City, as parting gifts.
This year’s success was thanks to the support of the many volunteers, guests, sponsors, and those people and businesses that donated items for our raffle baskets and auctions. Their generosity is greatly appreciated and allows the Society to carry on its important work.
Thank you to the Northport community for 60 years of your support. We look forward to seeing what more we can accomplish in the next 60years.