Hudson Historical Society’s Celebration of Past, Present and Future
June 17, 2016
by Lynne Ober
It was an occasion to raise a glass and commemorate 50 years. Sunday, June 12 may have been cool and very breezy, but that didn’t stop the celebration held on the grounds of Hills House. The Hudson Historical Society celebrated its 50th anniversary with a champagne and strawberry reception followed by dinner on the grounds and a charity auction.
The event kicked off with a champagne and strawberry reception held inside Hills House. It was a time to chat with old friends and make new acquaintances. Attendees wandered through the house which sparkled after its recent spring cleaning.
Then it was time to move under the big banquet tent on the lawn for a lovely buffet dinner catered by T-Bone’s. Chef Nicole, a former student in the Alvirne Culinary Program, was on hand cooking in the tent. Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres were served to guests who were wandering around the tables among the many silent auction items being displayed. Would Dave Alukonis, Hudson Historical Society president, win the silent bidding war for the baseball signed by John Farrell, manager of the Boston Red Sox?
While deciding whether to bid on the beautiful glass and butterfly patio table, one could hear the details of Pauline Boisvert’s great vacation followed by a dreadful flight home or could listen into the lively conversation between Joyce Hurd and whomever was considering bidding on Joyce’s favorite silent auction item. Never heard so many hilarious reasons why placing a bid was a bad idea. Lee Lavoie and Dave Morin discussed town events – of course. Dave may be retired, but he’s still involved in everything.
Soon the delicious food drew attendees to the buffet table and people began to sit at the tables, all of which had white cloth tablecloths gently flapping in the breeze. Fortunately, the banquet closed on one side which kept most of the breezes outside. However, Eileen Lathrop said she was glad that she’d brought her sweater, and Sue Morin was wishing she had brought one.
Dave Alukonis introduced and thanked the sponsors for the event before introducing Scott Spaulding, who would be the auctioneer.
Between trips to the buffet table, people continued to bid on their favorite silent auction items. Did you want the beer basket, the scotch basket or the wine basket? How about bidding on the basket with a gift certificate for a massage at Nu Look? Yes, that one came home with this reporter.
Inside the tent was a round table with lots of bottles of wine all sitting inside a brown paper bag tied with string. Wine ranged in price, but for a small fee one could pick a bottle of wine. Once unbagged, some of them also had numbers that corresponded to other gifts. Laurie Jasper picked the bottle that also came with the biggest champagne bottle one could imagine.
There was a locked treasure chest with gifts inside. For a price, one could acquire a key. Only 25 keys were available, but only a portion of them would open the treasure chest. Every key that opened the chest provided a gift to the lucky holder. Ruthie Slaughter’s key was not one that opened the chest, but she had a wide smile on her face while she tried to get the lock to open.
Once the silent auction closed, the live auction began. Scott Spaulding is a gifted auctioneer who quickly had people bidding against each other. Atomic Tree Service gave one cord of seasoned and split fire food delivered to your Hudson, Litchfield or Nashua home. The Alvirne Marching Band would come to your Christmas party and play three to six seasonal songs. Speaker Shawn Jasper auctioned a tour of the State House with entry into some of the closed areas plus lunch for two in his office. One of the hottest sought-after auction items was a one-of-a-kind four-course catered dinner for ten at the Alvirne Hills House on a date of the winning bidder’s choosing.
The Hudson Historical Society offered a private history tour of Hudson led by the town’s most knowledgeable historians. The tour could be customized to the winning bidder’s interests. Lunch and transportation for up to eight people was included.
Debra Nash sponsored Hudson Historical Society’s first-ever Community and Cultural Heritage Excellence Award, which was given to the Hudson Highway Department for its outstanding efforts to preserve and enhance Hudson’s cultural traditions. The highway department maintains Library Park and its vintage 1910 trolley stop; the Hudson Town Common and also provides maintenance for the town’s historic cemeteries. They are responsible for the installation of the town’s Christmas lights and Benson toy soldiers on Library Park. The department has done extensive work at Benson’s Park, Robinson Pond and at other town properties. When the 1848 cannon in Library Park was damaged last September, the department restored it. The cannon spent the winter at the highway garage where staff sandblasted, repainted and created a new carriage for it before re-installing it on May 16 in Library Park.