Tuesday, May 29

Fundraising season opens in the Hamptons

This weekend marked the beginning of the summer season in the Hamptons. Those who follow the East Hampton social scene suggest that the community is more awash in Wall Street money than ever before... and anywhere people with money go on vacation - fundraisers usually follow.

Dave Marcus wrote a piece in today's Newsday about the unwritten code of Hamptons fundraisers: "You avoid scheduling an event at the same time as other groups. You keep the noise, parking and traffic to a minimum. And you get just one shot each summer."

That rule is being broken this year as Prince, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and James Taylor will perform on five prime Saturday nights to fund scholarships at the non-profit Ross School in East Hampton. The concerts may put a dent in the money raised for other events since the only ticket available is a "social passport" to attend all five concerts for $15,000.

As the 14-week social season kicks off this weekend, hundreds of charities are scurrying to sell tickets to barbecues, beach parties, clam bakes, antiques fairs, triathlons, sandcastle contests and black-tie galas. The beneficiaries range from local Kiwanis clubs to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New York.
He also cites Linda Miller, the secretary at the East Hampton Town Hall, who maintains a list of the permits issued to events for more than 50 people.When she started the list in 2000, it ran 10 pages. By last year, it filled 21.

So, will the growing number of events crowd out other more established events?

Writer Steven Gaines, author of "Philistines at the Hedgerow," a book about Hamptons society, warns that the Hamptons scene has become over-saturated. He sees an ominous sign in the silent auctions that are cropping up. "They're everywhere," Gaines said. "Another silent auction? You want to stick your finger down your throat and throw up."
Throw up indeed.

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