WASHINGTON — Although it was created to raise money for environmental protection, the Housatonic Valley Association’s 26th annual auction Nov. 6 has become just as synonymous with celebrity.

“Celebrities help get people in the room, for sure,” said Tim Abbott, the HVA’s regional land protection director.

But while the event will be hosted by auction Chairwoman Christine Baranski, a star of CBS’s “The Good Wife,” and has featured NBC “Late Night” host Seth Meyers and others in the past, celebs aren’t the reason most folks come out, Abbott said.

They buy $75-and-up tickets for the auction held at Washington Primary School because they care about the environmental well-being of the Housatonic River watershed, he said.

The event usually sells out weeks ahead of time, Abbott said. And with sell-out crowds and two auctions including bourbon tasting events, kayaks and canoes and even vacation trips, the HVA should raise about $150,000 in just a few hours.

Cash raised at the event has become even more important over the last decade, as the organization has grown to employ 15 people and operate on an annual budget of more than $1 million, Abbott said.

Although the HVA was founded in 1941 to protect the local environment, it has expanded its mission to truly impact the whole watershed — which runs along the Housatonic River from Massachusetts to New York.

Among them, the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, a group that gets several towns together to work on environmental projects, Abbott said. Another big effort is the HVA’s mission to identify and fix problematic culverts across the watershed’s 85 towns, he added.

“We only get to keep what's special in this region if we put our collective effort into a shared goal,” Abbott said. “We’re here to protect the entire watershed.”

blytton@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3411; @bglytton