Homefield: A Shopping Extravaganza at Ventfort Hall
You don’t see much bling in the Berkshires, which is ironic when you consider that Lenox was the summer capital of the Gilded Age. Today, inconspicuous consumption is the law of the land (except for the competitive picnics on the lawn at Tanglewood), so shopping and decorating rarely get their due. But this weekend’s Homefield: Bringing Design Home, a shopping fundraiser at Venfort Hall for Great Barrington-based Community Health Programs (CHP), will prove that “Berkshire style” is not, as some Birkenstock-wearing cynics have quipped, an oxymoron.
Inspired by Trade Secrets, the wildly successful and elegant rare-plant and garden antiques sale in northwestern Connecticut that benefits Women’s Support Services, CHP wanted to create an event that would not only raise much-needed funds but also awareness for its programs for children with developmental delays or disabilities. Michelle Derr, who runs CHP’s WIC program and lives in Litchfield County, turned to her stylish neighbor Stephen Saint-Onge (aka “Designer Dad”) for advice. An interior designer, entrepreneur, author, and blogger, Saint-Onge (right) immediately saw the potential to create a shopping party that would be worth a road trip.
“The setting for the gala event on Friday night and the marketplace on Saturday is in the heart of one of the most stunning areas of the Berkshires,” says Saint-Onge, who’s originally from Vermont and has lived in Litchfield County with his family full-time for the past six years. “When I first drove up to Ventfort Hall I thought it was like an American version of Downton Abbey, so I was loving it from the first moment. From there, we gathered vendors and artisans from the region and beyond to come together in a casual, almost European-style open market under white tents set out on the lawn behind the historic Berkshire mansion. There will be a mix of home furnishings, antiques, art, home design, photography, garden design.”
The 28 vendors (who will donate ten percent of their sales to CHP) reflect the diversity of our region and include Hammertown, Home, Housatonic River Outfitters, Karen LeSage Fine Arts, Nest, Poesis Design, Le Trianon and Wingate Ltd.
“T. P. Saddleblanket from Great Barrington will be having a fashion show at our gala preview on Friday night,” says Derr, noting that the silent auction items include tickets to see the David Letterman Show and a Whirlpool washer and dryer. “You will be escorted by models through the mansion and out to the tents. Stephen said he wants guests to feel like they’re in a movie.” But he also wants people to appreciate the reality that organizations like CHP are vital to the rural social contract. “I love that Community Health Partners was started in this community generations ago and it is still here working with families in the region. That is what makes living in this part of New England so wonderful—a great sense of community.”
Evening Reception and Pre-Sale
Friday August 10, 7 - 11 p.m.
Saturday August 11, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$25 (free for children under 12)
Book Signing with Stephen Sant-Onge, author of No Place Like Home
10 - 11 a.m