The Housatonic River and its environs are in good hands regarding the environment, if the Housatonic Valley Association has its say.

The HVA, which serves the Greater New Milford area and beyond, hosted its annual benefit auction Nov. 24 at Washington Primary School.

Proceeds are dedicated to the HVA's programs.

Since 1941, the HVA works "to conserve the natural character and environmental health of our communities, by protecting and restoring the lands and waters of the Housatonic watershed for this and future generations," according to its website.

The auction not only serves as a chief fundraiser for the HVA, but offers a social outlet for the stars to shine. Many celebrities and other VIPs from this area attend each year to support the HVA's goals.

The Nov. 24 event was catered by Executive Cuisine of New Milford and live music was provided by Miles of Swing.

The live auction was conducted by Tim Luke of HGTV's "Cash in the Attic" and co-auctioneer Greg Strahm.

Among the items up for bid were a variety of vacation packages in France, Vieques, Costa Rica, Hilton Head and Cape Cod; a hand-crafted, 20-pound solo canoe made of polyester skin stretched over a frame of red osier dogwood; tickets to "Twelfth Night" on Broadway and a backstage meeting with Mark Rylance; a walk-on role for a courtroom scene on the set of "The Good Wife"; four tickets to an American Ballet Theatre performance at the Metropolitan Opera House and exclusive post-performance backstage tour; and a three-day Skip Barber racing school item.

In addition, local artists and crafters, shops and restaurants contributed items to the silent and live auction.

Christine Baranski, an HVA board member and star of CBS' "The Good Wife," served as honorary auction chairwoman.

Joining Baranski on this year's honorary auction committee were Diane von Furstenberg, HVA honorary trustee and fashion designer; Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and his wife, Anna; interior designer Robert Couturier; Diane Meier, marketing guru, author of "The Season of Second Chances" and president of MEIER; Frank Delaney, novelist, journalist and broadcaster; Denis Leary, actor, comedian, writer, director and film producer; New York Times best-selling author Ann Leary; Travel + Leisure magazine editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod; fashion marketing consultant Hamilton South; Anne Swift, owner and manager of Second Act Farm in Roxbury; Linda Allard, HVA board member and retired fashion designer; Pam and Jack Baker, owner of Exurban Design and president of Crystal Rock Water Co., respectively; and Carolyn Klemm, owner of Klemm Real Estate.

Honorary auction committee members at the gold sponsorship level and higher were invited to a special pre-auction reception hosted by Baranski at Community Table.

Guests at the sponsorship level ($150 or higher) also had the chance to dine after the auction at the G.W. Tavern in Washington.

For more information about the HVA and its programs, call 860-672-6678 or visit www.hvatoday.org.

For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

Photography

by Trish

Haldin