AMESBURY — The Whittier Home Museum presents its second annual "Celebrating John Greenleaf Whittier" fundraiser auction Sunday, June 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Maudslay Arts Center in Maudslay State Park in Newburyport.
Gathering with friends and family on the banks of the Merrimack River at Maudslay to celebrate the blooming of the laurels became an annual local tradition for Whittier. The event was often referred to as the Feast of Flowers and the 19th century American poet and ardent abolitionist, humanitarian and legislator captured the essence of the experience, which featured poetry, music, food and friendship, in his poem "The Laurels."
In commemoration of Whittier, award-winning Newburyport poet Rhina P. Espaillat will present a reading of her own original poem inspired by Whittier's life, "Overheard: William Lloyd Garrison and John Greenleaf Whittier."
Charles Cullen, president of Provident Bank, returns as master of ceremonies and auctioneer. There will be many auction items donated by area businesses, individuals and Whittier enthusiasts up for grabs. A list of auction items is available at www.whittierhome.org.
Special guests in period costume, including Greenleaf himself, will welcome guests. Guest artists will participate in a wet paint auction. Throughout the festivities, attendees can enjoy the music of classical guitarist John Tavano, playing a mix of original compositions and Romantic pieces. A summer buffet will be available as well.
Tickets purchased by June 10 are $25, $30 after. Proceeds will benefit the Whittier Home Association, stewards for more than 100 years of the preservation of the collections, structures and grounds of the Whittier Home Museum, 86 Friend St., Amesbury. Whittier lived at the home with his sister, mother and aunt from 1836 until his death in 1892. The group will use the funds to update educational programs, continue capital improvements and keep this National Historic Landmark viable for years to come. Donations and sponsors for the event are welcome.
For more information or ticket reservations, visit www.whittierhome.org or call 978-388-1337. Checks for tickets and donations are payable to WHA, and can be mailed to Whittier Home Association, P.O. Box 632, Amesbury 01913. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 978-388-1337.
The Whittier Home Museum has opened for weekly tours on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Oct. 29 or by special appointment year-round. Call Dawn Bennett at 978-465-5964 or visit www.whittierhome.org for a virtual tour or to check out the gift shop and calendar of upcoming events.