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Historical Society Fundraiser Gives Nod To Beacon Hat Past

The Beacon Historical Society auctioned off 40 “hats” that had been created by local artists. Beacon was once the hat capital of New York State.
The Beacon Historical Society auctioned off 40 “hats” that had been created by local artists. Beacon was once the hat capital of New York State. Photo Credit: Contributed

BEACON, N.Y. -- A fundraiser on Saturday paid homage to Beacon's hat past.

The city is second only to Danbury, Conn., in its relevance as a hat making capital in the region, said Mary Colbert, vice president of the Beacon Historical Society.

The society's fundraiser this past weekend featured the auctioning of 40 hats local artists created, to pay homage to the history.

"Hats Off" was an anniversary exhibit, the 40th Anniversary of the Beacon Historical Society and a fundraiser for its new home, Colbert told Daily Voice.

The auction was of wood hats, that had been painted or decorated by local artists.

In addition, the society's gift shop and history exhibit was open for the day at the Howland Cultural Center.

The exhibit, curated by volunteers, includes hats made in local factories.

"Diane Lapis is head of the fundraising committee and her crew got gift certificates from local merchants which were raffled off. A great many people helped out," she said, citing many volunteers for their contributions to the fundraiser's success.

Bob Murphy, Sandy Moneymaker, Diane Lapis, Diane Murphy, Chris Cring and Colby prepared the exhibits; while Peter Lapis and Theresa Kraft hung the hats.

"Lots of other people provided support," said Colbert.

Before the opening, the hats hung at Beacon Bath & Bubble, courtesy of owner Brenda Murnane, so that people could get a "sneak peak," she noted.

The exhibit runs to the end of November. Hours are Friday to Monday, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the center, 477 Main St., Beacon.

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