Our 2002 Benefit: Circus Soiree
A vast red and white striped tent filled with hundreds of balloons generated smiles and a sense of circus fun among the over 800 guests who attended the fifth annual benefit of the Caumsett Foundation, held September 28 in Lloyd Neck, NY. With the theme, "Circus Soiree 2002," the event was inspired by a party in 1932 hosted by Audrey and Marshall Field III at their former estate, which is now Caumsett State Historic Park. "We are privileged to have Louise and Marshall Field VI graciously serve as Honorary Chairpersons and we welcome the continuing interest of all Field family members in the Caumsett Foundation's preservation and archival efforts," stated Cold Spring Harbor resident Margie Howe, who chaired the Benefit Committee with Jane Greenleaf of Mill Neck.
A special dressage demonstration performed in the walled garden by Bettina Field Drummond, granddaughter of Marshall and Ruth Field, preceded the event. Barbara Bliss, another Field descendant, contributed photos and a memoir entitled, "A Grandchild Remembers Caumsett" In it she notes, "I am happy to know that an active group of private citizens has decided not to let this magnificent place disintegrate and has taken the initiative to restore it to its former glory.
Bernadette Castro, New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, donned a white, ruffled clown collar as she conducted an auction of works by local artists. "God Squad" member Rabbi Marc Gellman, who wore a flag-inspired top hat, assisted her. In all, over 125 pieces of artwork in a wide variety of media were available during both live and silent auctions. Over $180,000 was raised to fund on-going projects, such as the restoration of the walled garden and dairy barn complex.
In keeping with the circus theme, entertainment was provided by wandering magicians and circus performers, including stilt-walkers and jugglers. Guests could try their hand at plate spinning and balloon twisting while enjoying freshly made popcorn from an old-fashioned machine. Partygoers also had the opportunity, as did guests such as George Gershwin, Vincent Astor and Ogden Phipps at the original Field party, to pose for take-home photos behind cutout figures of brawny strongmen, agile bareback riders and daring trapeze artists.
Take a look at the 2003 benefit...Club Caumsett!