HAGERSTOWN — Dressing up for a dinner auction typically might make a woman feel like breaking into a song like “I Feel Pretty.”
But Habitat for Humanity of Washington County’s 18th annual dinner auction Saturday at Hagerstown Community College’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center evoked another mood.
Sporting a paisley maxi-dress and a headband with a peace sign painted on her chest, Habitat Executive Director Sherry Brown Cooper told the crowd of roughly 500 people, “Ever since I put this dress on this evening, all I wanna do is sing ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.’”
Her reference to the 1968 Iron Butterfly track illustrated the vibe of the Saturday evening affair, “Habitat Celebrates the Age of Aquarius.”
Vintage Volkwagens decorated the gymnasium. Love beads draped the doorways and oversized tissue paper flowers graced the tables as centerpieces in a playful nod to the late 1960s and early ’70s.
“I think this is such a fun theme,” Cooper said. “Most of the people in this crowd have memories of this time period and can reminisce.”
Each placed setting had a flier titled, “Do you remember?” The handbills outlined fads, music, sports and events of the time.
“I read on there that gas in 1965 cost 21 cents per gallon. Even if the people at the table don’t know each other, what a great conversation starter,” Cooper said.
Dr. Albert Strauss, of Keedysville, and his wife, Dr. Kelli Strauss, donning tie-dyed shirts and headbands, perused silent-auction items. They joked with their friend Dr. Ed Drawbaugh, who wore a long, brown vest over striped hip-hugger, bell-bottom jeans.
“I love this,” Albert Strauss said. “I lived through the ’70s. I enjoy fooling around and getting dressed up.”
Kelli Strauss said she planned to bid on a wine tour. Drawbaugh was eyeing a trip to Costa Rica.
Habitat Director of Development Kathy Powderly, who wore white go-go boots and a flower-power halter dress, said area business were generous in providing desirable auction items despite the flagging economy. Big-ticket items included NFL tickets, a U.S. Open package and vacation opportunities.
Tickets to the dinner auction cost $45 each. In addition to silent and live auctions, attendees charged games, raffles and 50-50s to their bid numbers. Powderly said Habitat hoped to raise $60,000 through the event. Proceeds will be used toward the group’s efforts to help provide safe, decent and affordable homes for low-income families in need, she said.
Lisa Norgard, 45, of Hagerstown, and her husband, Eric Norgard, 49, said they have attended the fundraiser in the past and decided to return this year. Lisa Norgard said she was excited about the event’s colorful theme and about the community’s support for the organization.
“I really believe in Habitat. I think it benefits everyone involved with it,” she said. “It benefits the people who volunteer and it benefits the families that move into the homes.”