Community fundraising was combined with local history at the Wadsworth Homestead, which hosted the second annual Gala in the Valley on Saturday Sept. 28. Guests in black tie attire roamed the house exploring its hundreds of antiques and artifacts, as men dressed in authentic War of 1812 uniforms narrated accounts of battles and explained the contents of their packs.
A man outside demonstrated shooting an antique rifle while a woman in traditional 19th-century dress sat by a fire pit and explained her household duties.
“What's cool about the homestead is it embodies a lot of American history,” Louise Wadsworth said. The Wadsworth family attained the secluded piece of real estate located at the end of Main Street in 1808 and it has been in the family since.
The Gala in the Valley is just one of many instances in which the Wadsworth Homestead gives back to the community. The house has much to offer, with expansive grounds, rooms full of history and a true connection to Geneseo and Livingston County that Louise and Will Wadsworth said they hope to strengthen and preserve.
The Wadsworths recently opened the home up to community events and weddings and are planning to work with professor of communication Mary Mohan of Geneseo and her class. They hope the events at the Wadsworth Homestead can be planned with student assistance, becoming an accessible way for students to receive hands-on practice in public relations, event planning and other practical skills essential to a communication major.
“We're glad to share it with the community,” Wadsworth said.
The purpose of the Gala was to raise money for United Way of Livingston County, a local organization that assists 19 other charities in the county. It provides help for a variety of causes, such as tutoring children, donating clothes and food, and teaching literacy and English as a Second Language to community members. United Way teamed up with Will and Louise Wadsworth as well as Wegmans to fund and organize this event.
Wegmans donated $5,000 as a sponsor of the event and challenged United Way to raise $20,000.
Matt Cole, chairman of the Gala committee, said this event is “great for Livingston and for the United Way to be able to put a dress or tux on and go to a formal event.” He hopes this event will draw people in because it is very unique to the county. This Gala is the United Way's largest fundraising event of the year, and it has increased its attendance since its debut.
“We're all proud of what we've accomplished,” regional director of United Way Karen Rumfola said.