Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center Hosts Heritage Happening Gala

Preparations are well underway for the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center’s fourteenth annual Heritage Happening gala and auction, presented by Northwestern Mutual, Kevin Proffitt, Managing Director. The theme of this year’s fundraising event is Celebrating the Smokies, which echoes the purpose of the Heritage Center to preserve, communicate and celebrate the rich history of the Smoky Mountains and their people. The gala will be held at the Center’s home in Townsend on Saturday, May 20, 2017. It will feature both silent and live auctions as well as an elegant dinner catered by Rothchild Catering of Knoxville.

The wide array of unique and lovely items to be auctioned this year includes beautiful artwork from area artisans, destination vacation trips, wine, unique Smoky Mountain activities, and food and dining experiences. This year, the live auction will feature a special work by a renowned local artist honoring the Smokies’ recovery from the devastating fires, and it will be unveiled for the first time at the Gala. All looking for unusual gifts or for a treat for themselves will find something to please at this event, thanks to the generosity of donors all across East Tennessee and to the dedication of our Guild members who solicit these unique and diverse items. To preview items to be auctioned, please visit the Heritage Happening website www.auctria.com/auction/HeritageHappening2017.

The Heritage Center Guild was founded by a group of twenty-one women in 2003 with a goal of helping to raise funds for the yet-to-be-built Heritage Center museum. According to the Guild’s mission, it annually hosts the Heritage Happening auction and dinner to help support the continuing development of the Center and its extensive educational programs for children. This year, more than 8,000 students are expected to participate in the Center’s unique educational programs. Commenting on the Guild’s role in the Heritage Center’s story, Director Bob Patterson said, “We could not do educational programming, have existing exhibits, bring in new exhibits, maintain our grounds and fund transportation for visiting schoolchildren, among many other needs, if it were not for this Guild. In addition to their fundraising efforts, they put in thousands of volunteer hours on each year’s school tours, festivals and concerts.”

Invitations to Celebrating the Smokies have been mailed to Heritage Center members and past attendees, but all are welcome to purchase tickets by calling the Heritage Center at 865-448-0044 or by going on-line to http://www.gsmheritagecenter.org/. Tickets are $125.00 per person, $90.00 of which is tax deductible. On-line prebidding on silent auction items opened on May 1st for ticket holders, and new ticket purchasers can participate from their time of purchase to the close of pre-bidding at midnight, May 14.

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