Among all the fancy galas and high-priced fundraisers throughout the Hamptons this summer, a handful of Springs residents and workers are hoping to attract some attention for their hamlet.
For the first time ever, a fundraiser lovingly named the “Heart of Springs” will be held to benefit the upkeep of Springs’s most iconic buildings—Ashawagh Hall, the Springs Community Presbyterian Church, the Springs Library and the Parsons Blacksmith Shop. The gala will take place on Sunday, August 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ashawagh Hall.
According to Springs resident and architect Pamela Bicket, the idea is not only to raise money but to also enlighten people who may not be aware of what Springs has to offer.
“I lived in East Hampton for 10 years, and I never went past the dump,” she said this week outside of Ashawagh Hall. “The event is something elegant, and for people who don’t know Springs, they’ll be able to see how beautiful the triangle and buildings are.”
For $100, a ticketholder will be able to partake of local wine and beer, hors d’oeuvres and listen to acoustic jazz while mingling with other Springs supporters. The Accabonac Protection Committee’s exhibit, “Images of Accabonac,” will be up for viewing at Ashawagh Hall, as well. On the lawn, the Springs Historical Society will present old photos and historical pamphlets about the hamlet.
The dress code? “Fisherman formal.”
Wendy Hall, who owns One Stop Market with her family, said she came up with the idea for a Springs cocktail party, and then it “metamorphosed” to the Heart of Springs. “Our goal was to keep it affordable. Some of us wanted to do a more family-friendly event, but we decided to keep it on a grownup level—a very nice affair, not a sloppy mess as we in Springs can get into,” Ms. Hall said laughing. “It’s so much more than what I expected.”
The party will be held on the green, which is at the intersection of Springs-Fireplace Road, Old Stone Highway and Parson Place. The area has stood as a sort of “downtown” for Springs.
All the proceeds will go toward the preservation of the historic buildings in the heart of Springs, including the Springs Community Presbyterian Church, which Ms. Hall has attended for almost nine years. Built in 1882, the church supports the community because it houses the Springs Food Pantry and numerous groups.
Ms. Hall said in addition to the cost of running the building to host several groups, from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, to yoga classes, birthday parties and Latino worship services, the building needs some TLC.
The ability to pay heating and maintenance bills would help the church, Ms. Hall said, but so would fixing the church’s steeple, which is on a tilt. She also said the congregation room needs insulating.
Loring Bolger, co-coordinator and a Springs Improvement Society board member, said Ashawagh Hall is in need of some landscaping and irrigation.
Ashawagh Hall acts as the centerpiece of the triangle, sitting in between Old Stone Highway and Parson Lane. The Springs Improvement Society has owned Ashawagh Hall since 1909, when it purchased it for a dollar. It had been the site of the Springs School since 1884.
Today, it is used as a venue for art shows, exhibitions, meetings and gatherings, as well as the Springs Improvement Society’s headquarters.
Across the lawn, the Springs Library, although owned by the town, relies entirely on donations, according to Ms. Bicket. It is also in need of repairs and replacements as well as basic supplies for its operation. The Springs Historical Society, which is housed in the library, also needs money to cover expenses for ongoing research and publications it puts out, Ms. Bicket added.
This first of its kind fundraiser in Springs and put on by Springs citizens suggests that it’s becoming more of a cultural destination than simply a residential community.
“There has always been a wall between East Hampton and Springs,” Ms. Hall said about the preconceived notion of the hamlet. “I think there are a lot of motivated people in Springs who care about the community. People in Springs are warm and welcoming. When I thought up the idea, it was so well-received, there was no question asked but ‘Who can we get to help?’ So we said, let’s pull out all the stops.”
Tickets to the Heart of Springs gala can be purchased online at heartofsprings.org or call (631) 604-1163.